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    • Day 266

      Roadtrip Day 9: Firenze > La Noce

      July 21, 2023 in Italy ⋅ ☀️ 31 °C

      Dann gings rauf in die Berge, dort die kurvigen Bergstraßerl kreuz und quer durch die Appenninen nehmen und dann in die Nähe von Bologna, da wir am nächsten Tag vormittags das Auto zurück geben mussten.

      Was wir nicht wussten und daher nicht bedacht haben: In der Gegend wurden während schwerer Unwetter im Mai viele Straßen beschädigt und bisher nur notdürftig repariert. Nicht, dass das Marcus den Fahrspaß dämpfen könnte, aber ich war bei manchen Stellen und Schotterstraßen etwas gestresst 😅

      Die Gegend ist jedenfalls trotz der offensichtlich abgerutschten Hänge wunderschön. Teilweise fährt man direkt am Kamm entlang, links und rechts Weitsicht, herrlich.

      Abends haben wir uns in einem kleinen Ort einquartiert, die Besitzerin des B&B hat uns wunderbar bekocht. Die selbstgemachten Tortellini waren köstlich und so winzig (muss ewig gedauert haben sie herzustellen).

      ###### english ######

      Then we went up into the mountains, there we took the winding mountain roads back and forth through the Appennines and then near Bologna, because we had to return the car the next morning in the morning.

      What we didn't know and therefore didn't consider: In the area, many roads were damaged during severe storms in May and so far only provisionally repaired. Not that this could dampen the fun of driving for Marcus, but I was a bit stressed in some places and gravel roads 😅

      The area is beautiful despite the obviously slipped slopes. Sometimes you drive directly along the ridge, clear views left and right, wonderful.

      In the evening we stayed in a small village, where the owner of the B&B cooked wonderfully. The homemade tortellini were delicious and so tiny (must have taken forever to make them).

      ☆☆☆ Empfehlungen / recommendations:

      Bed & Breakfast Homestory

      Caffè della Loggia
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    • Day 13

      Our First Casualty

      September 6, 2015 in Italy ⋅ ☀️ 22 °C

      One thing that soon becomes apparent on this type of ride is that it can be difficult to front up day after day for another long stretch in the saddle. I have found on all the previous such rides that, while the fitness of the group increases rapidly, it is also likely that some will develop miscellaneous aches and pains. Soon after we completed the long day into Camacchio, Irena explained that she was not feeling very well and would need the following day off the bike. Fortunately it was possible to arrange transport for both Irena and her bike so this did not constitute a huge problem. We are all hopeful that she will be able to resume her ride after a day to rest and recuperate. This also meant that our peloton would be reduced to only 5 riders for the longest day of the trip which would take us from Comacchio to the famous city of Ravenna. Along the way we would be riding through a wide variety of surroundings, from isolated wilderness areas to crowded beachside tourist meccas.It would also introduce our first off road sections.

      The early part of the ride followed the lagoon for many kilometres. This consisted of wide open spaces with absolutely no shade. Although we had been hoping for a considerably cooler day, the long awaited cool change seems to be perpetually delayed. Although there were some early wispy clouds, these soon burned off and most of the day was again ridden in full sunshine. Looking around at the stark and desolate surrounds and the ruins of old buildings, it certainly did not look like most people would imagine Italy to be. To me it seemed more like some place in Eastern Europe, such as Romania or Bulgaria.

      It was while we were riding on one particularly long flat section that Lionel (Alwyn, Mervin, Angus, Oscar ?) and I were riding side by side when we realised that we had not heard any chatter from the following riders for some time. We stopped to look around and found there was no sign of them. We pulled over and waited for 10 minutes and, when they still did not appear, we tried to call them on the phone. This was the first time we had no service so we had no alternative other to ride back to see what had happened to them. It turned out that Mary had suffered a puncture, no doubt due to the extended section of off road riding we had just completed. Fortunately John had repaired the puncture by the time we arrived, so our timing was absolutely perfect.

      In the meantime I had problems of my own. A couple of days earlier I had suffered an irritating case of ticking coming from my bike. Every rotation of the pedals resulted in a loud click noise. Fortunately Josef had arranged for a replacement bike and, for the next 24 hours, I was able to ride in silence. Unfortunately misfortune chose to pay me a return visit by gifting me with another clicking noise to replace the one that had been taken from me. For the rest of the day my riding was once again accompanied by the bottom bracket counterpoint. I had no choice other than to just accept it. In life there will always be some things you can change and others that you have to learn to accept. Rather than let it ruin my ride, I chose to regard it as something humerous instead. My faithful tick will now presumably travel with me all the way to Florence.

      After riding about 47 km we arrived at the seaside resort of Casalborsetti and settled into a wonderful restaurant situated right on the beach. After a couple of cappucinos (only 1.4 Euros each) and a lunch stop we were on our way again. In the next section we left the road and followed a forest path for several kilometres. It was a relief to be out of the sun and to enjoy the relative coolness of the forest.

      We then caught a ferry across to Marina di Ravenna which soon answered the question as to where all the people had been. Here was a place similar to Torquay or Lorne, with dozens of fancy restaurants, resorts and expensive cars everywhere. Obviously a lot of Italians are still enjoying their vacations on the beach.

      Finally our path turned inland and for the final 12 km we followed a wonderful bike path, all the way to the centre of Ravenna. This large city has a rich past, having served as the capital of the western Roman Empire and much later as the home to the famous Lord Byron. In fact our hotel is called the Hotel Centrale Byron, presumably because it is situated right in the very centre of the city. We certainly do not have to walk far to explore the place.

      After dark I left the hotel to wander around the Centrale. It was a warm Saturday evening in Ravenna and the streets and outdoor restaurants were bursting with happy people. A jazz trio was playing in the nearby Piazza and a crowd had gathered to listen. It would have been even better if they could have played well. Since I was feeling hungry after the long day I decided to try out an exotic local delicacy. It was absolutely delicious and I enjoyed every mouthful. Apparently it was called a “Doner Kebab” and it cost me 5 Euros.
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    • Day 13

      Lazarus Makes a Comeback

      September 6, 2015 in Italy ⋅ ☀️ 22 °C

      Day 13 – In Which Lazarus Makes a Comeback

      Again it is amazing what a difference 24 hours (and a hack saw) makes. By day 11 Irena had started to struggle with the long days in the saddle, riding a bike that was a little too big for her. We had already lowered the seat to the lowest position that was possible with that seat post, but she still had to stretch from side to side to turn the pedals. We decided to take matters into our own hands and go looking for an hack saw to cut off a few centimetres. Not off Irena, but off her seat post.

      This modification seemed to make all the difference. After 24 hours off the bike and the lower seat she was ready for action once more and our peloton was restored to its full size again.

      Since this was a very quiet Sunday morning, we were able to ride out of Ravenna on deserted roads. The weather was also a few degrees cooler which gave a most welcome relief from the sustained heat of the last week. As we left the town we could not help but notice the contrast with the regions we had cycled through over the past couple of days. Gone were the wide open spaces and deserted houses. We were now in a much more developed region and the farms were generally much better maintained.

      It was interesting to see the huge size of some of these farmhouses, although many only seemed to have a few habitable rooms with the rest left to go to ruin. It was common to see sections of roof that had just collapsed into the inside of the house. Apparently the area must have been significantly more prosperous than it is now. When looking for the suitable word to describe these houses, the one that came to mind was “distressed”.Obviously anyone feeling the need to take on a project could certainly buy a suitable place here.

      At the 40 km mark we stopped for lunch at Faenza. This is a sprawling town with a large cobblestoned central piazza. There were only a few people out and about and we settled in a suitable eatery in the shade while we enjoyed a cup or two of cheap coffee and a sandwich.

      After lunch the road began to climb steadily and, for the first time, we started to encounter groups of serious cyclists. Some were riding singly and others were in groups of up to 8 riders. As we passed we gave them a wave and an “Aussie Aussie Aussie”. Obviously these cyclists are attracted to this region to strengthen their legs on the hills.

      After a final steep descent and corresponding climb we arrived at the delightful small town of Brisighella. The town is surrounded by mountains and we could see several imposing castles perched on the clifftops. The road into town is bordered by beautiful towering trees which gave the place a very welcoming feel. We were also interested to see the numerous signs warning of ice on the roads. Obviously this place must get cold in the winter months.

      Our home for the evening is the La Meridiana Hotel, a large but thankfully not too distressed building on the outskirts of town. It was also the first rooms we had that did not have either air conditioning or TVs. However the water was hot and the cool mountain air blowing in my open window gave the best night’s sleep I have had so far.

      Tomorrow we complete our Italy ride by riding into the famous city of Florence (Firenze).
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