France - Italy (October 2nd - October 10th)
(Sanremo - Imperia - Spotorno - Genova - Sestri Levante - Pisa - Florence)
Distance biked so far: (3,471 km)
Bion giorno Italy
As mentioned earlier I spent a few days cycling with Simon and we arrived in the Italian city of Sanremo on Friday October 1st. Simon likes to camp in places that I would never have thought to stay and on Saturday October 2nd, we stopped on the edge of a fancy marina in a palm tree grove complete with floodlights and within a few feet of the sea.
We arrived late after a day of trying to work out how to get internet access and hanging around the plaza. I of course had to indulge in some gelato which should be a daily occurrence during my stay here. The coast of Italy follows the familiar scenery of the coast of France with small villages in the valleys and mountains separating one town from the next. On Sunday the 3rd, Simon found a place to camp that appeared to be outside of public viewing but within the town of Sportorno. We set up our tents and were cooking dinner when a couple of police paid us a visit and advised that the municipality does not allow camping outside of designated campgrounds. We completed our dinner as dark was settling in and moved about a kilometer to a campground. I think it makes more sense to use public campgrounds when available as you get a hot shower and security.
Monday October 4th started out with torrential rain and very high winds. We stayed around the campsite until 2:00 pm when things started settling down and headed out. We only managed a tough 35 km's due to the gusty winds. At one point we descended a very deep valley when I noticed a series of camping trailers turned on their side on the far side of a river. It turns out that there were tornadoes with severe flooding in the area. The waves in the sea were extremely high with the water and crashing waves hitting the highways that were normally a few hundred feet above the water level. As darkness was falling, it became difficult to continue cycling with the wind once again blowing us to a dead halt. We arrived at a hotel and agreed to stay for the night as we were both feeling unsafe on the road. As soon as we checked in I went downstairs and ordered a pizza made in a wood burning brick stove. Food always tastes better when you struggle to get somewhere.
I had heard that there are a lot of tunnels through the mountains in Italy and it didn't take long to confirm that it is true. As much as I appreciate not having to go up and over some of these steep climbs, they can be a little unnerving on a bicycle but in one case, there was a tunnel for a wide path strictly for bikes.