Thursday, 11 August 2011

On to Juliette's Balcony

Rivalta  -  Verona     48kms        656’ascent
We left Rivalta following very clear bicycle route signs. In a very short time, there appeared ahead of us, a very large rock face. At its base was an illustration showing the cross section of the route which (yup) went right up to the top, up slopes of 10%. And we thought we were finished with hills! However, this one proved to be worth the effort of push and ride as the views on the way up were spectacular. At the point where you are out of breath and boiling hot, staring down at an almost flat road going in your direction, can be just a tad frustrating. In a calmer and cooler moment, the magnificence can be appreciated. The descent required a good deal of concentration with bikes coming in the opposite direction and the speedy guys trying to overtake these old folk with their flippin’ trailers.
The signs continued and we followed then diligently, as we still had no maps. We rode alongside a canal and over bridges until, on reaching a road, we ran out of any directional help. We stood for some time hoping the GPS would come up with an answer or another angel would appear. Neither event happened, so we vaguely followed the sun in the hope that we would find clear direction to Verona. On our wanderings we passed a bike shop. I needed new glasses and we thought they might, just might have a map. The glasses purchase was easy and although they had no maps, the very nice lady did give us directions which did take us right into the heart of Verona. Not quite what we had planned!
It had been quite a stressful few hours and Verona presented itself in all its glory. A quick visit to the information centre to find a place to stay, a short ride to the hotel, a shower and we were out revelling with the rest of the tourists. Our major aim was to find MAPS and did we find maps? Oh, yes. That done, we strolled around with our heads up, as at ground level everything was either a designer shop or a restaurant and all the wonderful architecture was above. Having neither the room nor the financial resources for designer wear, we enjoyed a meal in a small, but perfectly formed café, while Alan admired the elegance of the Veronese women.
The grand finale was a marvellous display of nature in the form of a massive thunderstorm which only added to the splendour of this city. (As long as you weren’t wearing your latest designer shoes!)

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