Sunday, October 4
What was that I was saying about being drenched!? Why did I use those words! We had planned to ride on today, but with the morning greeting us with pouring rain and storms forecast throughout the day, we decided to dodge the rain and lightning completely and sit it out for another day. The day was subsequently spent doing not very much at all. There was a short break in the weather, so I raced out to fit in a 10km run and just made it back as the drops began to fall in my last kilometre.
We then spent many hours of the day in research and planning. Our 90 day Schengen visa will expire in November and we will have to leave mainland Europe, since most of the countries in Europe are in the Schengen zone. It’s been doing our head in trying to figure out what to do and where to go. We sat and pored over maps, websites, flight schedules, weather forecasts and budgets. Do we go to another country? Do we head to another continent? Where should we go? Asia? U.K.?, U.S.A.? Canada? Croatia? We went back and forth looking at option after option. In the end, we finally reached a decision, which isn’t ideal and will pose some challenges, but at least we have a solution and it’s beginning to sit fairly comfortably with us. The day felt like we did nothing and didn’t achieve anything, since we didn’t ride on, but in the end we did actually achieve something.
So that was the day, four walls and no photos! Hopefully the weather will be kind to us tomorrow.
Monday, October 5
Clear skies! Ripper! On we go! We left our friendly hotel and we hadn’t gone a kilometre before we heard a loud HONK! HONK! A lady was driving towards us, honking her horn, smiling at us from ear to ear and waving. How lovely! We have had many friendly, tooting drivers give us a wave and a smile and this lovely lady got our day off to a wonderful, sparkling start! We pedalled on out of Padova, with busy roads but a welcome cycle path alongside.
We soon found ourselves on a Ciclovia route, the numbered Italian cycle network. The road was shared between bikes and cars, but it was a very out-of-the-way road, more like a service or access road really, so very quiet. We pedalled along the top of a levee, with flat farmland either side, before coming to some nice scenery with trees and a river.
We cruised off the path and into a small town, where another market was bustling and we stopped on a bench in the small town square, for elevenses. We’d knocked off 30km already, so we were humming along pretty well. As we sat there, the sun decided it’d had enough of hiding behind its grey skirts, put on its sequins and bling and strutted its stuff for us! Beautiful! With the sun shining with radiance in its sparkling new costume, we soaked up the warmth and the rays, before hitting the pedals again and returning to our riverside levee. On we rolled, passing some cyclists and walkers and greeting them with a “Buongiorno”. The path was flat and we cruised along at an easy 20km/ph, enjoying the ever warming day.
Our destination appeared in the distance and we left to levee, to join the cycle path heading into the town of Chioggia.
As we rode up the street, we hit peak hour as school came out at 1o’clock. No, we weren’t caught in the traffic of car pick-ups, we were caught in a torrent of bikes! I’ve never seen anything like it! It was like something you might see in New York, with rows and rows of cars driving towards you in a thick, wave of traffic. What we had though, was a never-ending wall of bikes, heading towards us. The primary school aged kids came first, followed by lots of older kids and teenagers. Of course, we were riding against the flow, so we had to do some dodging and squeezing though, but this wave of bikes kept coming along the path, then in a stream, like a line of ants, wheeling over a footbridge. On and on it went, a river of children on their bikes, all leaving school behind them and heading out into the rest of their day. It looked amazing!
Chioggia is a coastal fishing town and it was lovely to ride into town, seeing the water, with the sun sparkling and the boats resting in the harbour. As we rode along a fantastic path, beside the harbour, it became clear, unfortunately, that Chioggia was yet another place that had fallen victim to the spray can. The great path we rode along by the water, had been sprayed from one end to the other. We looked for a bench to sit on and every bench beside the path had also been liberally sprayed.
We chose a bench, with the sun beating down on us, looking out at the shimmering water and the boats and it was a delightful place for our lunch stop, despite the surrounding paint.
Chioggia had two campsites, so we were hoping to be able to pitch the tent again, but our research told us that both sites were closed, with their season ending in September. Darn! This may prove to be a common occurrence now as we ride through autumn and the summer camping season has ended. We found our Plan B hotel down a side street and checked in. It was a very early finish to the day, we’d ridden 59km but it was only lunch time. We still decided to stop because we’d been told Chioggia was a nice place to visit and explore. When we walked into our tiny little hotel room, we saw the best display of towels we have ever seen! How fabulous is this…!
Someone on the housekeeping team has a super talent! Imagine what that person could do with a napkin on the dinner table! I bet dinner guests at the home of the towel artist, see napkins in their place resting as the Leaning Tower of Pisa, a 3D replica of the Mona Lisa or a napkin model of the Sistine Chapel!
After settling in, we hopped back on the bikes for the ride back into the centre of Chioggia to do some exploring. We had just walked the bikes out onto the road when I looked at Steve’s wheel.
“That tyre is looking pretty flat,” I said.
Steve looked down at his front wheel. “That’s because it is flat!” he replied.
Honestly! Those fancy schmancy tyres! This was puncture number six! Six!! All on a supposedly near puncture-proof tyre. We postponed our explorations by wheel, while Steve changed the tube, then we were finally off into town.
Chioggia was a nice little town, with a very picturesque harbour and pretty bridges. We pedalled around the streets and happily bumped over cobbles, joining the many, many bikes and riders that were cycling around the town.
After some exploring, we pedalling out of town to find a grocery store and gather supplies, then back to the hotel we pedalled. We’d clocked up another 10km riding around the town, so we finished the day with 69km on the wheels.
It was a nice day, with a nice path to ride along, sunshine and hardly any wind, with Chioggia being a nice little pitstop for the day. As we rode around, I just kept thinking about all that graffiti though. We are truly intrigued by how extensive it has been in every city and town we’ve been in Italy. As I looked at it, I wondered why people wanted to do that, and for some reason, a rap song started formulating in my head. I don’t even listen to rap! It must have been the influence of the graffiti! I will sign off, with the rap that penned itself in my head as I pedalled along and is my interpretation of what the mindset of a graffiti sprayer might be.
Taggin’ The Towns
Pass me the can
I’m gonna show you
What a big man I am
I don’t need talent
I don’t need style
I just need your spaces
To cover and defile
This town don’t need to be pretty
This town don’t need to be grand
This town just needs to be a canvas
For the spray can in my hand
I don’t care if it’s special
I don’t care if it’s old
I’m just gonna spray it
I don’t care what rules I’m told.
If you don’t like my spraying
Then go some other place
But I betcha when you get there
I’ve been and tagged that space!