Italy’s south – holiday feeling

It’s been a week almost and you might wonder what I’ve been up to – not much really. Riding along a coast line doesn’t offer a lot of variety even tough I have to say it has been a very beautiful week. Have a look yourself:

So here are the different stages I did: for the German speakers, you might still remeber that I took the ferry from Messina (in Sicily) to Villa San Giovanni in Calabria on Monday. From there I rode another 50 km or so to arrive in San Ferdinando. The next day I pedaled to St Eufemia Lamezia where I stayed at a nice, laid back kitesurf camping site. I was the only guest and this continued to be the case for several other nights as well. The next stage took me to Belvedere where I got to enjoy the couch of another warmshower host. Carmine was awesome. He has the same amount of bikes as I do (5) and additionally an enduro motorbike and has basically just returned from travelling Patagonia on bike. He picked me up on his enduro bike (leather jacket, Italian sunglasses of course) and slowly rode down the hill to his house (so I could follow). Suddenly whisteling (yes the whisteling again) and this small cute dog barks once and starts running down the hill, right inbetween Carmine and me. “My dog” was the short and straight forward introduction a little later. Go figure. The house was on the hill, overlooking the ocean, I got to sleep in the “basement” (which was a huge open room to the terrace) in between four of the five bikes. I slept well. hehe. Carmine made dinner for me, fed me 100g of pasta and ate about 10g himself (“Italians don’t eat pasta”). He swimms in the ocean every morning (well only twice a week in the cold season) and told me that the Calabrian mountains are much nicer to ride, than the route along the coast. He was not very talkative, but it was a very nice evening. The next stop was Policastro Bussentino and from there I continued to Ogliastro Marina. And today I managed to ride to the Amalfi Coast – ending up in Maiori: completely soaked, having ridden through a thunderstorm for an hour and confronted with the fact that the nice camping site I had planned to stay at was a construction site, so checked into the first B&B I could find in desperate need of a hot shower.

Some of the highlights were the many very cute villages on the way (like Scilla, S. Giovanni a Piro, Pisciotta, etc) and magnificent roads leading to these. On the downside there were also long stretches of riding on the main road (like all the way to Belvedere) that were tiring and stressful with lots of traffic.

One of the funniest things that happened was a journalist that saw me standing somewhere, who then pulled over his car, jumped out and asked if it was ok to take a couple of shots of me. hahah. So if ever you stumble of an edition of Ciclo Tourismo and find a picture of a women in purple shorts and a grey/turquoise tee – well – that would be me:-) Last night I also managed to put my tent up, take a shower and set my bed while it took the same amount of time for four Italian families to discuss and figure out how to park their camping cars (it seems like life is definitely easier with a bike and a tent).

Another highlight – I have to thank my parents for (who might get worried that all this cycling results in a lack of cultural and historical eductiaon on my side) – was a stop at Paestum. The temples are really very impressive. The best thing though was that I got a free guided tour by some family dad (and maybe teacher??) from Salzburg (so my guess) who was explaining everything about the temples in detail to his rather uninteressed teenage kids. Taking a few shots I made sure to stand close to them, because his knowledge was really impressive and very interesting to me.

Italy’s south seems to be mainly on sale. So if you are looking for a holiday home, here is the place you might start your search. Many of the seaside tourist places look like ghost-towns in April and it is not always easy to find a place to stay. To me it actually appeared like some of the holiday stays existed for “Ferragosta” only. People were just “waking up” and had started a little repaint here, adding some nails there, etc… It is also a region of agriculture. Fields of orange and lemon trees are found alongside the road, as well as red onion fields (including the smell). Also very tasty strawberries are grown here, besides many other fruits and vegetables. Finally I also don’t manage to ignore all the “Pasticicerias” on my rides anymore and have tasted sinful sweets (including the Cannoli siciliano – because I felt bad having missed out on those on Sicily) – so in terms of all the weight I carry (meaning my bike and all my stuff), this certainly doesn’t help.

By now I have pedaled almost 900km and about 10600m in altitude so I had planned to spend a few realxing days on the Amalfi coast. I will see what the weather is up to and if I do find an open camping site that allows me to do so, or if I have to rethink this plan once again…

Hope you all found your easter bunnies and colorful eggs! Happy Easter everyone!
Buona Pasqua!

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