Italy Part II: My New Strategy Came with A Bonus Meeting

After my crap cycling day, I devised some new strategies to attempt to make my cycling more enjoyable. First things first, eat a big, hearty breakfast – no excuses (for me that involves bread, butter (peanut butter if I have it), jam and yogurt (if available). This I did. Given the heat, I wanted to try getting on the road early and taking a break for a few hours in the middle of the day to write, and then cycling again later in the day. I did this too. I made it to the mid-sized old Italian town of Belzano by 11:30 am and stopped until 3:30 p.m. I wrote in a cafe and had a luscious lemon ice, a cappuccino, and a fresh squeezed orange juice for $6 euro. Then hit a grocery store for sandwich stuff, and made a nice lunch in a park area along the river. Did I mention that I eat a lot these days? A friendly young Italian fellow chatted me up and I enjoyed talking this local, who ended up turning me on to a place in Italy I later visited and loved. I continued on and cycling on dedicated cycle paths (with easy signs to follow) through areas that look like what I was hoping Italy would look like -apple orchards and grape vines with mountains as a backdrop on both sides of me.

 

I hoped to get to Trento that day (the birth place of my friend Anna-Lisa, who unfortunately does not live there now), but had no expectations for getting there…that is until two awesome fellows, George and Jiri, both originally from the ¬†Czech Republic, cycled upon me! Both spoke very good English, and made inquires as to my journey. I learned that they had been friends since university, and have been vacationing together one time a year for the last 30 years -they leave their families behind for their annual adventure, and the past five had featured a week long bicycle tour. Steel and I looked at them with envy carrying just backpacks!

 

They passed us, and we later caught up at a water break. After, George encouraged me to draft him, remarking kindly later, that it was helpful to meet me so as to slow down the pace of their ride. Ha! After an hour or so, we stopped for Coke Colas and lemon ice. We carried on into the strongest headwind of my journey…fortunately, now they both were helping block the wind. So nice! I’m sure I cycled faster than I have ever on this trip, and still it was all I could do to hold on to their “slow” pace. It was much longer to Trento than I anticipated (sounds so cool to say I cycled over 100K), and it turned out that my two camping options appeared to be wound up hills. I had already decided earlier that today that I would aim to eat out, and wild camping. However, as we neared the last 10 miles to Trento, we were along a very industrial area and it was a much bigger city than I was anticipating. I still planned to try and find a place to duck into after having dinner with my most helpful and kind cycling companions. They took the first hotel they could find…and then insisted that I have a room too. I attempted to dissuade them explaining that it was not a problem, I would camp or look around for a hostel, but they insisted…and so it went. They said they liked was I was up to and they were “sponsoring”! Ha! We checked in with the quirky clerk, showered and headed to dinner.

 

Okay…so I mentioned that the hotel was the first we cycled upon in the city…and well, I’m quite sure I have never been in one quite like it. Thank goodness for the long day of cycling to drown out the sounds from through the paper thin walls. Then came the most unusual wake up call…at about 7 am bells began to rind, and then came the loudspeakers. It sounded like a dance party meets soccer game announcer screaming something in Italian. Turns out it was the start of some big bicycle race…I staggered downstairs to catch the tail end of over a 1000 cyclists rolling out of town –the starting line was directly in front of our hotel. I enjoyed breakfast with the Czechs, and we bid our farewells. I opted to stay and attempt to get some writing and emails done with my bonus hotel internet connection before heading out…that is until it started to rain…

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