Montepulciano and a Carbuncle
After Viareggio, we headed south east to Montepulciano. This was Ed’s choice, all because he likes the wine. We were educated though, the wine we drink at home has nothing to do with the Medieval town up on the hill. The stuff we drink at home is the grape variety!
The first part of the run was very built up, as we didn’t want to go on the motorways. Once we got out of the towns, it was lovely. Some cracking scenery. As usual, Ed had plumbed in the small routes into Fanny the Satnav.
When we got to Montepulciano, we had to find accommodation. We rode the bikes around, which we weren’t actually meant to do. We ignored the ‘no motor vehicles’ sign, that’s what everyone else did! To say the town centre was challenging was an understatement. If you have any issues with slo-mo, then by gum you would have even more of an issue by the time you left. A lot of brakes needed! We found an amazing place which rented us an apartment for the night. Osteria Del Borgo also provided us with dinner, accompanied by wine. Ed and I drank our way through their wine by the glass list.
After there, we headed across country, by the back roads to Aquila. We hadn’t organised accommodation and we were very nearly caught out. It was nightfall when we were trying to navigate our way round the town. It was odd. Everything was held together with scaffolding and acroprops. We stopped to have a debate, I just happened to mention that it was as if the town was being rebuilt, as if an earthquake had hit it. I was bang on the money. 2009, saw an earthquake rip the town to bits, with a magnitude of 6.3. Into the bargain, there wasn’t anything to find in the centre. We found a hotel, after navigating round the town. By this time, I was pretty tired, it had been a long day on the bike. I was grumpy. Apparently.
Some of the roads that we rode over were interesting to say the least. It makes sense now though. Coming round one left had corner, leaning over, there was a bit of the road that looked like it was an earthquake split in the road. It probably was. I reckon that the road men had all gone out armed with a bucket of tar and a trowel each to fix the roads. There was only one thing for it, ride over it. Job done. Well done Smoggy. There were tons of patches like that. It’s not worth getting uptight about it though; do the opposite, relax and try not to target fixate!
We walked out for pizza, me clutching my bag of gluten free pasta. We had our dinner, and whilst we were there it started to rain….. Our outlook was, och, it’s only rain. We were soaked to the knickers by the time we got back. It transpires my Gerbing heated jacket is not too bad in a downpour! The heated towel rail in our room resembled a laundry. Which included our socks and pants from washing them earlier.
On that note, I could have left half my stuff at home. So far, I have only worn 3 t-shirts. I don’t know if I will need the other 6 that I packed. It’s actually really hard packing both winter and summer stuff. I did however pack my vented bike gloves. Ed forgot his. Note to self, add to spreadsheet/ checklist when we get home.
Our next destination was decided by the weather. Had we stayed in the west, we would have run into a shed load of rain. We chose to go to the east and the Adriatic Sea. Remember, it’s off-season. On the good side, the roads were quiet; the bad side, all the accommodation was closed! Parts of it were really spooky.
Just above the ‘heel’ of Italy, there’s a wee carbuncle that sticks out into the Adriatic Sea. I imagine in the season it’s heaving with Italians going camping. At this time of year, there’s nothing open. We tried to get a coffee and ended up in a town which was dead. No one around. Actually, I have to say that I didn’t feel safe in it and we were both glad to hot foot it out of there! Petrol stations are the easiest way to guarantee a good coffee!
We found a hotel at last. For once it wasn’t dark o’clock and we just took the team decision. It was a bit in a time warp, however they had beer and wine, food and a hot shower. Actually, it cost us €95 for room, two dinners, wine and beers (plenty) and breakfast. Bargain.
All the way through the trip so far, Ed has found some amazing roads. He’s so good at reading maps and planning. Tonight, the destination was my choice. Ha. Amazing! The roads to get here were just ace, especially around the carbuncle, Promontorio del Gargano. Breathtaking and empty.
On the way, we stopped off to have a wee roadside singsong, Smoggy turned 50,000 miles on his clock. What a fab bike. Here’s to the next 50k of smiles with my wee pal.
That’s enough for now. Our next stop off was something else. That’s the next blog!