Saturday, 27 August 2011

"But This Is Italy"

Crotone  - Badolato                 95.7kms                 863’ascent
Badolato  -  Brancaleone         91.8kms                487’ ascent
These two days definitely belong together. They have just been f……… hard work on a road whose characterisitcs vary from wide and smooth to narrow and bumpy; through towns which are bustling with the usual amount of casual interaction with bikes, cars, lorries and pedestrians.
It had been my intention to say little more, but I feel bound to comment on our search for accommodation last night. I received a less than cordial welcome from the first hotel I visited; all white sofas and swanky mats. The thought of accommodating two smelly cyclists was obviously more than the owner could bear. However, he did make a ‘phone call to a camp site and found us a cabin. The welcome we received there was, in every way, the opposite. The signora was effusive (in Italian) and the site and cabin spotlessly clean. We headed for the bar and two large beers. There then ensued a conversation in four languages between ourselves, the barman and two locals. Having downed I know not how many grappas the two young men wished us well and went to do whatever young men do in the evening. Having nearly finished our drinks, I was curious as to the nature of some foodstuffs in a hot cabinet. Peering in, I looked up to find the barman offering me what looked like a large doughnut. Alan received one as well and I can vouch for the fact that they were delicious, full of ham and cheese. The same barman then produced a brochure for the area which looks to be rich in history. We shall return to this part of Italy with a small car and explore the mountains and the villages.
The second event worthy of mention occurred today in one of the towns. At the narrow entrance to a bridge, a cycle track with a big blue cycle sign appeared (the first we have seen in this part of Italy). Very excited, we followed it over the bridge and then…………… went through a right angle and stopped. There was no access to any road and the only way to regain the tarmac was to lift the bikes and trailers over, not just a two foot concrete wall, but a crash barrier as well! With the help of a young man on a Vespa, who spotting our dilemma drove down to assist with the lifting, the bikes and trailers were returned to the road.  Another nice young man. A less useful motorist drove by, waved, and shouted, ‘But this is Italy!!’ 

1 comment:

  1. Thank goodness for young men on Vespas! Pat