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E-mail from Sunday, September 4th, 2016
Mestre, Saturday September 3rd
Singing cicadas, lizards shooting off, simmering heat and exuberant Italians. And all this on a background of elegant cypress trees, neoclassical architecture, vineyards, terraces and patio's, narrow streets and balconies, baroque statues and splashing fountains. This is about the description of the last week.
We started in Italy with 'hopping lago's' where 'lago' is the word for 'lake':
Lago di Isola
Lago di Mezzola
Lago di Como
Lago di Lecco
Lago di Garlate
Lago di Garda
The first day after our arrival in Italy, we cycled along the west coast of lake Como and at the end of the day I thought: those Italians seem agitated. I rather have another climb over the Splügenpass, much more relaxing!
The first point is that it was very touristic. You could hardly get through the towns. The second point is that we had to get used to the Italian traffic, where the right of the boldest seem to apply.
Remy has for the latter part always one good advice which is, don't let it aggravate you, take it as it is and act like the locals. And here, that works very good. By this time we are just as bold and completely accepted here. By the way, we were warned for the fact that people are not used to cyclists. This may be true, but the Italians are pretty much used to unexpected circumstances in traffic, like cycling Dutch people. So, all in all it isn't that bad.
After a week in Italy, we very much like it here.
Every day it gets better. And apart from the touristic lakes (most of which we merely grazed), the cycling route is wonderful. The daily distance is mostly determined by the presence - or lack off - campings. The distance isn't always that big, bit the next camping after that is just a little too far. And frankly this isn't all that bad because we get have the time to admire wonderful Italian towns like Bergamo, Verona, Vicenza, Padova...
Besides, 30°C and higher is a wonderful time to take it easy. Friday was an exception where we had to cycle 107 km with 35°C and a steep climb around noon while the wise Italians keep their siesta, was a hard time.
Italy is not a cycling country. From Lago 'd Iseo till Verona is the oldest bicycle route in Italy. That is fifteen years old... To give you an idea. Up to the province of Veneto the cycling paths look to discourage people from cycling, but Veneto was to our surprise cycling paradise. Well relative speaking that is, we are after all in Italy: cycling paths with gates and/or poles, parked cars, Italian cyclists...
Comomeer / Vew to Bergamo
Mestre, Sunday, September 4th
Venice is only a small distance by bicycle from the camping in Mestre where we are. There's a bicycle path alongside the motorway to Venice. You can park your bicycle once you get there and explore Venice on foot.
But... The bicycle path starts a couple of hundred meters. Before you reach the bicycle path, you have to go over a busy four lane motorway and is very dangerous.
We very much wanted to go to Venice by bicycle, but since we like to live a bit longer, we took the bus to Venice. Trip lasts only ten minutes.
Well, and there you are, in Venice. Should we be frank with you? The thing is that above the hight of three meters is most interesting with small balconies and lovely facades. On the bridges looking below you see the canals with the gondolas. Like you know it from the pictures. But below the three meter line it is horrible. All you see are tourists and shops. And there you are in the middle of it with the heat pounding on you for good measure.
Our neighbours at the camping gave us the advice to go to the islands Murano and Burano north of Venice. A much smaller version of Venice but without the souvenir shops, more colorful and less tourists. A golden tip indeed!
Tomorrow we move on. The coming days we cycle through the Po Valley towards the Apennines. On the other side is Tuscany.
Rome is still a long way....
Remy & Gea
Venice and Burano