Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Bang Crash Whallop

Miramare  -  Falconara    79.7 kms      250’ ascent
Today got off to a relaxed start for a short while. As we left our costalot hotel, I realised that in all the to-ing and fro-ing I had lost my gloves; not that I need them for warmth, but they do/did stop the sweat from making the handlebars slippery. However, I soon forgot that small discomfort as I was knocked off my bike by a passing motorist on a roundabout. Unhurt, but a bit shaken I rapidly got to my feet before any other driver thought to join the fray. The offending car had stopped and the lady driver was mightily relieved to discover that I was okay. I remounted my, thankfully undamaged bike, and set off in pursuit of Alan. “I thought I had lost you already,” was his welcome. All frivolity disappeared when he became aware of my misadventure. I really was alright, so off we set again.
Away from the immediate coast, the main road was wider and surprisingly quiet. I guess everyone was roasting themselves on the beach. For several days we had enjoyed a flat riding experience but today saw the first hill of any real significance. It did go on rather in a temperature of around 30 and unremitting sunshine. The top revealed a bar with cold drinks and a chance to cool off. The downhill on the other side completed the cooling off and we found ourselves once more on the sea front. That is to say, we knew it was the seafront because of the crowds but of the sea there was no sign, hidden as it was behind hotels or umbrellas! Finally, the crowds thinned as the area became less attractive and the hunt was on for some shade to eat lunch. Shade is not a priority it seems, so we found a large tree next to a roundabout. We know how to do things in style!
Just when you think you might have a handle on the Italians, they come up with something new. Happily pedalling away and minding my own business, I was aware of a motor bike on my left. There then ensued a conversation between the two of us (still cycling) while the traffic waited (mostly patiently) to overtake the obstruction we were causing. Having established our origins, the purpose of our journey, he wished us well and headed off waving to Alan as he passed.
In view of the experiences of the last evening in trying to find a place to stay, we thought it prudent to start searching at an earlier hour than previously. The plan was flawless, except for one tiny element  -  we suddenly ran out of hotels!  All that filled the roadside were thousands of cars and the 2011 versions of the Vespa. I exaggerate not. The occupants of said vehicles were laying claim to their 2 square metres of beach. After many kilometres, the hotels reappeared but with the usual response of ‘NO’ often softened with a ‘sorry’. Doggedly determined not to sleep on the beach, we kept trying. Our reward was a campsite with a smidgeon of space for a small tent. Contending with tree roots and ground like concrete, the tent was finally erected. (Did I mention the bity things which found Alan’s legs within seconds of our arrival?!) A restless night followed accompanied, as it was, by the karaoke, the TV next door and the motorway and railway on either side; just grateful Alan doesn’t snore! 

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