This can’t be legal….
Last night, we stayed in a town called Formica. Really, we did. It was a major pain in the ass finding accommodation. It’s off-season everywhere and it seemed there was only one hotel open, called The Bristol. Ed said he’d noticed it on the way in. It was next to a strip club. Nice. Typical man spotting that.
It was clean, functional and cheap. We got showered and then headed out for another shower. It was raining again. The reason Ed was so determined to stay in the town was a local pizza restaurant he’d spotted. They also did a gluten free pizza, which by all accounts wasn’t a patch on TGWS’s! Still, it was something different. Ed could happily be fuelled on pizza. Oh, whilst we’re in Italy, he will be!
We were wakened in the middle of the night with the ‘oomph…..oomph…..oomph’ of the strip club reverberating through the walls. The good news was, the club closed at 4am. The bad news, our neighbours had been there. The 3 of them staggered back in, talking at full, ‘Italian volume’. Deep joy. As usual, I got back to sleep. Ed had to wait a while.
The next morning, well, the same morning, we woke to rain. Again. Oh well; packed the bikes (clipped on the panniers) and off we went. It was pretty dreich. When has that ever put us off?
Now, this is where it gets really good. I mean, really good. Today’s riding has been the highlight of the holiday. Note, I said riding. Yesterday’s trip to Ducati deserves a separate blog entirely. We headed off into the mountains between Bologna and Viareggio. It’s Ed’s speciality after all. Well, if there had been flies, they would have been stuck between my teeth. Even in the pissing rain I had a ball.
There was no view, the road had ‘soft verge’ signs all over the place. You and I know what that means at home; in Italy, what it ACTUALLY means is there are craters, not much of a soft verge because our side of the road is subsiding. Really. Plus it was foggy. I still had a blast.
The fog, rain and crappy stuff soon disappeared and it was replaced with the beautiful scenery, different coloured leaves and spectacular views. It got to 18° – WOW!
Whoever thought it would be a good idea to build villages right at the top of mountains must have deserved a jolly good slapping. There was one village, right up on the mountain top, goodness knows how they got there or why they chose to build, but bloody hell. Sadly, there wasn’t a good / safe place to stop to take a photo.
In the meantime, we were on serious twisties. I know, I have ridden thousands of miles on Alpine passes and similar terrain, however, today was different. I put it down to a couple of things; Ruby entering my life – I’m definitely riding Smoggy differently now, and going to the Croft Skills Day. I felt much more comfortable and confident in the bends. In fairness, I wasn’t remotely worried about the road surface. I was able to look ahead, relax my eyes and have belief in my wee bike. It’s only taken me 49k miles, but it’s been worth the wait.
We had a couple of fuel stops. Coffee fuel. We didn’t need petrol. How much fun can you have? How big a grin on your face? Spend 5.5, yes, five and a half hours riding your bike in variable conditions on dodgy surfaces, twisty roads have an AMAZINGLY brilliant day and only use half a tank of petrol. Yep. Half a tank. That’s a cheap day! Cheers Ed, your route planning is the best.
Surely that much fun can’t be legal?
We found a sea front hotel that was open and checked in, these are the views from the window.