“I think we’re in England again,” said Steve as we rode into another grey, chilly and windy day. Yes, there were certainly some features of today’s ride that were quite similar to those we were doing a couple of months ago. It was a little bit warmer though, it was 14C!
We got off to a late start this morning and didn’t hit the road until 10:00am. After spending hours yesterday researching somewhere to stay at the end of our next leg and sitting up until the late hours, trying various websites for campsites, hotels or airbnb, we were still no further on with finding somewhere that was budget friendly and bike friendly. We knew we couldn’t stay in Venice with the bikes, so we searched Mestre and the surrounding areas, but hadn’t had any luck. This morning, the search continued for a few more hours, holding us up. In the end, because we would be passing through it anyway and it looked like it could be a place worth some exploring in its own right, we decided to base ourselves in Padova (Padua) and take the short train ride into Venice each day. Finally, we had a destination, we gathered up our pack horse load and we hit the road.
Away we went, through the busy morning streets of Vicenza, but we had a bike lane beside the traffic most of the way, which was great. Then, we actually got a cycle path, a really, really good cycle path! It was away from the traffic…and sealed…and with signs…that told us the right way to go! Luxury! It was a terrific route, it was great to be right away from the traffic, riding along a flat path made just for us…just for bikes! Fun! We haven’t had that for a whole ride for such a long time…it was splendid!
On we pedalled, doing about 21km/ph, so we made up some time from our late start. We saw a bench beside a quiet little square that looked like a good spot for elevenses, so we wheeled on over.
Our arrival was announced to the surrounding residential neighbourhood by the loud, but hilarious dog across the street. It saw us and began its perfect, rhythmical, repetitive, three woof pattern…”Boo woo woo. Boo woo woo. Boo woo woo.” It didn’t stop, it didn’t forget its lines, it didn’t deviate from the pattern, it just kept going, the whole time we sat there, on that bench, across the street. The funny thing was, the whole time it was shouting at us, its tail was wagging non-stop too!
”Boo woo woo. [wag, wag, wag] Boo woo woo. [wag, wag, wag] Boo woo woo. [wag, wag, wag]”
I laughed because it was one of those dogs, with a big boof head, that looked like a cross between a Boxer and a Bulldog, on a big, gangly white body, with its jowls flopping with each repeat of the Boo woo woo.
“Good work,” we said to it, as it shouted at us. “Nicely done. You’ve done your job, you can stop now.” (Either it didn’t hear us or, being an Italian dog, it didn’t understand what we said).
Boo woo woo came the reply.
“We like your style, good job, you can be quiet now!”
Boo woo woo
This went on for about twenty minutes! I’d love to know what dogs are saying when they shout and wag their tail at the same time. What was this funny, boof headed, shouting canine saying, with that rhythmic barking?
Boo woo woo (Who are you?)
Boo woo woo (Where you from?)
Boo woo woo (What you doin’)
Boo woo woo (Off my patch!)
Boo woo woo (On your way!)
It was a loud, but entertaining elevenses!
We left our shouting neighbour behind and continued on along that terrific bike path. We weren’t in England, “This is French wind!” I called to Steve. Boy, was it blowing! It was a doozy of a headwind and when we had to ride along the top of a levee, it was pushing and shoving the little bike, having a fun ol’ time at our expense. It brought back memories of those bully winds in France. The path gave us the occasional small, short, but steep incline, just to break up the flat path and give us some variety, so our legs got a little extra workout every now and again.
We rolled into the outskirts of Padova, our luck held and we again had a cycle lane for most of the ride through the city. We stopped at a piazza to have some lunch before riding on to the hotel and found ourselves in the thick of play time. There were kids everywhere, kicking balls and riding their bikes around the square, playing two wheeled chasings, with lots of whoops and hollering. Then one of the little boys stacked his bike in a mighty crash and fell to the ground. I watched to see what would happen and if the adults nearby would rush over. Nope. The little fella hopped up, rubbed his elbow, pulled a face that said he was thinking about letting some tears go but was determined not to. Then all the other boys stopped their bikes, got off and raced over to him. One gave him a hug, another one rubbed his head and just like that, everything was fixed! A lady had begun walking over to see if things were OK, but when she saw the boys had sorted things out themselves, she stopped and walked back to her friends. It was lovely to watch how that group of boys all rushed to the aid of their little friend and it was great to see that there was no immediate adult intervention. Those kids got along just fine, sorting out the crash and the comforting all on their own. I wondered if that would happen at home. Would an adult have raced over straight away and taken charge of the situation? Would the little boy have gone looking for an adult straight away? Would there have been more fuss and concern? I don’t know, but I loved how those little boys were allowed to sort things out themselves and the little fella who crashed, was happy to have been comforted by his friends. He hopped up, another boy picked up his bike and they walked off to sit down and have a quiet moment to get over that unexpected fall, then they set off to play again. It was a lovely moment (not the crash of course, but the post-crash actions of that terrific little group of boys).
We decided to leave the boisterous play time and ride a bit further up the street. We pedalled around the cobbled streets (getting some fabulous cellulite treatment in the process from quite a severe rear-end massage from those cobbles!) and found a wall to sit on beside a building. We found ourselves sitting across from a building that was dated 1591. We are still amazed at the age of buildings that are just all around us, as part of a city.
We had some lunch watching the people coming and going and I had a chuckle at the local policeman.
Peeeeeep went his whistle as he blew on it fiercely, pointing at a passing cyclist, with an accompanying stern look. The cyclist stopped, dismounted and began to walk his bike. Obviously, this was a pedestrian area and riding was not allowed!
Peeeeeeep!!! He caught another one and gave them the signal to get off those wheels and walk! He was on his game today!
With another 8km to go, to reach our hotel on the other side of the city, we pedalled on. We had cycle lanes again, so this ride continued to come up trumps! We had stop after stop at traffic lights, but apart from that, we just pedalled on through the city, keeping to our lane. We found our hotel and the man at reception had the nicest, friendliest smile and he checked us in, before showing us a special storage room for the bikes. Perfect! We lugged the bags up a couple of floors, settled in and then headed out to walk dow the street to a nearby supermarket. On the walk we had another doggy encounter. We were walking beside houses, whose fences were a stone wall, topped with iron railings. All of a sudden, out of nowhere…Boo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo, a very angry Golden Retriever launched itself at the iron railings, as we walked past. It had its front paws up over the railings, right on Steve’s height and I reckon it all but took Steve’s ear off! I jumped in surprise and we side stepped very quickly! The local canines sure weren’t happy to have us in town today!
The ride today had some tough bits, with that darn wind again, but apart from that it was great. It was only 50km and the path was flat and just for bikes, far away from cars and trucks. Grand! We now have a base for a few days, from where we can explore Venice, go back into the centre of Padova, explore there too if we like and power up our feet to roam and discover. I wonder if Venetian dogs like foreigners? I’m afraid my linguistic skills are sorely limited when it comes to trying out Boo woo woo in Italian, to reassure them we’re harmless! Oh well, if we’re shouted at, all we can do is smile back and hope for a tail wag!
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