Thursday, 6 August 2015
Helped by a great salad and a bottle of beer plus the kind help of two very decent Norwegian hosts, I almost recovered from yesterday's excitement overnight.
I had a very hearty breakfast before spending 40 minutes on the phone to someone in a call Centre sorting out a hotel booking in Rome. I need to make sure that there's safe storage for my bike!
Today proves to be even hotter and my hosts warn me to carry plenty of water as there is quite a climb to the first stage of my journey - the papal fortress at Montefiascone.
When the road reaches the top of the pass I realise that the papal fortress and basilica are even higher up but on a different road.
The view from the Peregrino's Tower at the very peak is spectacular. I can back to where I began today and I can also see the SS2 shimmering on its way towards Rome. The shimmer is not gold it's a heat haze. The sight plus the altitude and something else make me feel a bit nauseous. The something else is a tummy bug which has plagued me for a couple of weeks now.
After an attempt at this thingy for lunch I have up and headed off hitting 35 mph going down the hill to the shimmering SR2 and there you could feel the heat rising in waves off the tarmac. Not great but at least I was flying now.
Eventually I start my second climb of the day and the old tummy trouble gives me gyp and I'm running into a cafe. At least I can get a coke and some fresh, cold water.
Part of the way through I fly down another spectacular castle with houses literally hanging onto a cliff but I'm going too fast to stop. The next town at the bottom of the valley, Sutri, though is worth stopping for because it has an amphitheatre as well as tombs cut into the tufa alongside the road!
The final climb takes me away from the SR2 and towards Lake Bracciano. At the top of the climb I get excited because I can finally see Rome in the far distance.
When I finally reach my overnight stop I can see that I've picked a real winner. Right on the lake's shore, with a balcony and window overlooking the lake it is idyllic. What's more it has a very decent restaurant so no salad tonight!
Another 60 miles today but that means that tomorrow I will finally reach Rome.
Tuesday, 4 August 2015
Somewhere cool to eat
Monday, 3 August 2015
Ah fabulous Siena, beautiful, bustling and full of bloody tourists shouting in the streets and getting in the way of the photographs that I'm taking in order to bore the pants off of the few friends I have left (and you of course if you haven't already found a better story on Facebook).
I left my comfy bed in San Gimignano with great reluctance this morning and after a decent breakfast I got on the bike and wandered into town to see what all the fuss is about.
Fortunately the plumbing is modern and so are the prices so of course, being a cheap skate, I hopped it.
A short trip to Siena a mere 29 miles across scenic country, grapes, olives, churches, castles you get the picture. Unfortunately the road went up to the gates of the castles instead of giving them a wide berth. It meant that a normally lazy person had no choice but to go up every hill in the way to Siena.
Nice going down of course but then another castle loomed and the pedalling became more frantic as I muttered, "I've seen enough bloody castles today!".
Of course Siena is on top of a hill, in fact I mean several hills. But what an amazing city! Walls, towers, arches, narrow alleyways, basilicas, ancient university, stunning dome and cathedral in fact everything you could imagine for a fascinating historical city, plus of course billions of tourists!
The city is big enough for the tourists to be part of the scenery and boy is there something to admire and photograph around every corner.
I wished that I had brought the Nikon with me today - then remembering all the hills maybe not!