Monday, September 03, 2007

Italia- Parte Una

Just makes you think of Italy, eh?

I walk around the town for a couple of hours but there's nothing to keep me interested so leave town. At the last minute, I decide to ride to Italy instead of Croatia. I'm now thinking I'll just see some bits of Italy I haven't seen before and miss out Croatia unfortunately as I'm rapidly running out of time and money, let alone patience. I also feel I'm getting quite jaded with it all again. I need to get some sort of plan together as to where I'm going. After Longarone, the scenery is really nice. The mountains just rise up all around me though the traffic is heavy and at times very going. I want to make it to somewhere on Lake Garda but as I don't have a guidebook for Italy, I have nowhere in mind yet and don't know about any campsites. I nearly loose it a few times on some of the sharp, hairpin bends that catch me out suddenly. I find my quite worn TKC80 tires really aren't the best on tarmac when its been raining. It's getting near dark and I'm still quite a few miles from Lake Garda and get a bit concerned as to where I'm going to be sleeping as I really can't afford a hotel room here. I'm also running out of petrol and try a few garages which all have some type of pre-pay system I haven't seen before that my tired brain can't cope with so give up and hope I make it somewhere. Right on sundown, I get to the top of the hill looking down on to Lake Garda and even though I still don't know where I'm going to stay, I stop to take a picture. I can't quite believe it when I notice a sign for a campsite on the way into town. When I find it, its pretty dark but ok to get the tent up. The site is very busy and costs 18euro a night. Expensive but I think I'll stay a couple of nights as I just feel so tired now. I get talking to a German couple on XT600s and have a beer with them by the lake. They're here for a couple of weeks and are spending it checking out the dirt roads around the lake on their bikes.

I'm in Italy so that can mean only one thing-

Bloody pasta for dinner again!

The following morning, it seems like it's going to rain all day. I opt for lying in my tent listening to the thunder and lightening while reading as there's not much else I can do and realise that I hardly ever do this so enjoy it while I can. Around 2 or 3pm the rain finally gives out and I get out from my sleeping bag and take as stroll around town. Windsurfing, it would appear is the main watersport round here as there are dozens of schools by the waterfront. The campsite manager tells me some places I should see while in Italy so my plan the following day was to head down the east side of the lake. Thats my first mistake. The traffic on that road is solid and barely gets above 30mph all the way. I have to go via Verona, a normally lovely city but not the parts I see today which are basically the ring roads. The ride through the country is not made any more pleasant by the fact that it was chucking it down with rain.

I pull over at one of the many roadside cafe/restaurants and although I'm frankly horrified at the prices, I end up sharing a table with an Italian trucker who's level of english perfectly matches my italian so its a fairly quiet lunch. I really had no idea of the amount of freight traffic that uses this road otherwise I would have opted for somewhere else to ride to. After getting well and truly fecked off with it, I decide that the 'nice bit' I was told about must be right by the coast and come off the main road. 'Nope, it certainly isn't here', I think to myself as I start skirting the edge of a trul ugly and equally massive industrial plant. At one point, the road has become totally flooded thanks to the ceasless rain and it looks like its around a foot deep in the middle. I decide I'll wait till the car in front of me has more or less cleared the huge puddle before I start to ride through it but as I'm waiting, the impatient knob-end in the car behind me overtakes me.

I've spent a very long and tedious day riding though heavy rain and even heavier traffic but eventually make it to Rimini. I had no particular plans to stay here so I thought I'd check it out first and decide if I would. After roughly two minutes, I decided I wasn't staying here but had seen a sign for the BMW place somewhere so figured I'd best grab a couple of spares like an oil filter and some crush washers while I had the chance. Again, this was easier said than done and after litteraly going round the houses and getting stuck on yet another ring road utterly solid with traffic, I found it. The man behind the counter was wearing quite fancy designer glasses with very clean overalls and wasn't particularly excited to see a dirty and soggy overlander or how little I spent in his establishment.

For reasons still unknown to me, I ventured on to Riccione, a little further down the coast thinking it might be a nice place to camp despite the truly shitty weather. The rain had miraculously cleared up by the time I got there and found a truly dull looking campsite. There were some loud swiss beer-boys across the grass and a few german bikers who as it turned out, were here for the Moto GP happening up the road. I'd fancied a fw days on a beach but this place was a total turn off. What little sand there was between the 50-odd million or so deckchairs that covered the beach as far as the eye could see really wasn't what I had in mind for myself. Unfortunately I had to stick it out for a couple of nights as I really needed to do some clothes washing before I encountered a fairly severe underpant crisis which really wouldn't be good for anybody.

1 comment:

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