Ancona to Mosciano 131km
To Ponte della Lama 62km
It seems that every town in Italy has a hill, or a moated part of a harbour, and on that hill, or behind the moat, is a Castle, a Monastery, or some sort of church. I met an Italian guide the other day, and he told me how much he enjoys guiding in Italy, as every town has a story, and all sorts of history. I'm really enjoying cycling through it all as well. Sixth Form history lessons coming to life..... Unification of Italy, Garibaldi and his Red Shirts...... I'm just sad that I know so little about so much of the history of SE Asia, India and Central Asia, because it certainly adds spice to your cycling.
Ancona has a nasty hill to navigate around to get out of town. Italians Engineers are fantastic, engineering amazing tunnels, flyovers and underpasses, but if you're not allowed to cycle on them, it makes for some tricky navigation, avoiding "no go" tunnels and motorways. Probably the most frustrating city I've ever had to cycle out of...... and a very steep hill seemed to be the only option. Bother it.
But eventually I was again cycling along beach front cycle trails. They're magic. No traffic worries, just the odd Zimmer frame to dodge. There are not as many cyclists out today, being Monday, but those that are out, all seem to be grey bearded and wearing brightly coloured, tight fitting clothes. I fit right in, and get lots of waves.
I saw some other interesting stuff as well. There are a lot of these big rat like creatures, about as big as a cat. Saw some as roadkill, but also others grazing on the roadside. Can anyone tell me what they are? How about storks or cranes, the bird type, sitting on power lines. They look as if they're going to over balance, but also look very regal. And above ground graves. Buildings that look as if they have draws in the side, but they are actually Graves. ....
The weather is so much warmer, so I've been camping. I was looking for a good place as I cycled along the beach. Yep, this looks like a possibility. Just have to wait for people to disappear, and for it to get dark. An old fellah on an ancient clanger, single speed, is taking an interest in me. After cycling past three times, I greet him in Italian. He stops and starts rattling on in Italian. I try to explain that I don't understand, which does not dissuade him...... but we do communicate. Basically he tells me that if I'm cycling to Roma I should have taken a turning 50km ago. I should not keep going to Pescara, but head inland now, "come on....now.... I will show you...." I reluctantly follow. He leads me three kms along back lanes and points.... "Roma that way." So much for a campsite by the beach. The third Gas Station I stop at lets me camp in a field behind them, away from the car park.
There's lots of snow on all the very high peaks in the west. Locals have been questioning my sanity, heading for Roma this time of the year. They tell me "mountains, winter, cold, hilly road, snow..." I'm unsure about my own sanity, and weary of not taking local advice. I could take a train, or hitch a ride along the motorway, and through the massive tunnel..... No stuff it. I've done mountains, winter, cold, snow and hills..... and I can do it again.....
It's up, and up, and up. But it's 15°C and sunny, and I'm climbing through a stunning gorge, with amazing scenery. There's very little traffic. Perhaps four vehicles an hour. At one stage I'm cycling uphill, through a tunnel, with head wind. What? It's an old Roman road, glorious scenery and fabulous cycling. But by 3pm, Ive done 60km, all of it uphill, and my legs are shot. It's time to stop.
I'm above the National Park boundary, and there are signs to beware of Deer, Roe and Boar. There's snow in shady areas, and lots of choice for campsites. I get the camping gear out and stretch it all out to dry in the last of the sun and breeze. Can this really be a main road. In the two hours before dark, two cars pass by my campsite. As it goes dark, i errect the tent, and climb inside my sleeping bag. It has suddenly become very cold. I hope there's not too much more uphill. I'm short on food and water. Still, twelve hours sleep is going to do heaps for my recovery.