Along the Adige River Toward Old Austria (Days 20 & 21 – 13 & 14 June 2015)

Saturday 13 June – Firenze to Verona I could take the train from Firenze to Verona with changes in Prato and Bologna, but manoeuvring the bicycle and the bags on and off trains and through stations is a pain best avoided when possible. I haven’t ridden in days. I’m keen to get back on the bicycle and just ride. So I set out to cover the 20 or so kilometres to Prato and skip one transfer. I won’t say it’s a mistake – because I am glad to be back in the saddle – but it’s a pretty shitty ride. …

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The Warm Embrace of Friendship Renewed – Firenze (Days 17 – 19; 10 – 12 June)

10 June 2015 – Wednesday It rains while I am on the train to Florence. A pelting rain slanting into the Tuscan landscape of green hills, fields of crops and towns whose names escape me. The station in Florence, Santa Maria Novella, is a huge building from the fascist era – modern and art deco-ish. The main hall is utterly jammed with people through whom I walk my bicycle. Jerry Lee lives a few kilometres away and I make my way to his piazza and there we meet for the first time in 25 years. He’s the same; I’m the same; we’re …

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Into the Mass Tourism Beast I Go – Cinque Terre and Pisa (Days 15 & 16 – 8 & 9 June)

Travelling solo, and not being inclined to wear obviously branded clothing, I think people are a little confused by me. It’s a thing I notice on the train to Cinque Terre. The few words I speak to the conductor are in Italian. The many English-speaking travellers around me don’t know if I can understand them so I sit there quietly, watching and listening. Cinque Terre will be my first full-blown tourist experience of the trip. I’ve been places with other tourists already, of course, but these have usually included a lot of Italian tourists and been places full of locals too. …

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The Ligurian Coast – Hot, Hilly, Beautiful (Day 14 – 7 June)

Wednesday 10 June: I catch up, then I fall behind, I catch up, then I fall behind. I’m struggling to find the right balance of riding, seeing the places I’m visiting, writing about them/organising my photographs of them and sharing stuff. I’m here to ride and to see but the writing consolidates the experience and if I don’t stay on top of the photos then at the end I’ll have thousands of images of stuff that I don’t really remember,  where it was, or what was interesting about it. So doing the work is important to me it’s just a matter …

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Genoa: No expectations, thoroughly delighted (5th – 6th June, Days 11 – 12)

“The Most Serene Republic of Genoa ruled the Mediterranean waves during the 12th to the 13th centuries, before deferring to the superior power of Piedmont. Its crusading noblemen once established colonies in the Middle East and North Africa, and its emblematic flag, the red cross of St George, was greedily hijacked by the English.” Lonely Planet I still had some 15 km to go to reach my hostel after I left the first gelataria I had found once I’d hit Genoa. The route followed narrow, heavily trafficked, streets with far fewer bicycles than, say, Milan. But still the motorists gave …

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Working Days and Holidays in Pavia (2/3 June – Days 9 & 10)

Later in the trip it will probably seem strange I spent so much time in Pavia. During my week in Milan I recovered from my journey, dealt with my delayed baggage, saw the sites and enjoyed saying ‘yes’ to invitations from my hosts. So my blog hasn’t been updated and I have a backlog of photos unprocessed. There had also been some stuff I’d meant to get done before I left Sydney. These things were piling up on my conscience and so I’m taking a few quite days here to get caught up. What I’ve noticed in these first 10 days …

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Following My Front Wheel At Last: Milan to Pavia (1 June, Day 8)

I’m glad I spent the week in Milan but it was more than time to begin the bicycling part of this bicycling trip. I pedalled away from Daniella’s place in Bovisa around 11:00 am and pointed my front wheel toward the Duomo. My route to Pavia would begin with my crossing through the heart of the city. Because there is national holiday on Tuesday many people make it a longweekend so the streets were quieter than usual. The ride was some 40 kilometres mostly along a canal, the Naviglio Pavese. Milan used to be full of canals – like Venice or Amsterdam …

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A Bicycle Tourist without a Bicycle but in Milano (26 May – Day 2)

I woke for a time around 4am then slept through until 8 am. Very happy with that. After my endless day of travel I think my body would have accepted whatever time I was told it was. There’s no word of my bags as yet. Laura in Hong Kong says the storms were quite bad and the airport a mess for some time. Presumably thousands of travellers were effected and, perhaps, disassociated from their luggage. It makes sense it would take a few days to sort itself out. I’m told 99% of luggage turns up … I simply have to …

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Knowing When Enough is Enough – Waiting out the Rain and Realising the Test Ride is Over (Days 12 – 14, 1 to 3 May)

I realised that whatever weather came on Sunday I was done with the test ride. I had learned what I needed to learn – about how to pack and what to carry, and I had tested my gear. More importantly I had tested my strengths: physical, mental and emotional and had found myself strong, resilient and ready.

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