Hounded Out of Italy
OK, we're really starting to feel our legs - the day to day tiredness passes when you get a rest, but the slight niggles in knees and hips are becoming ever so slightly more noticeable. Thank goodness for over the counter anti-inflammatories. It is one every half-hour with a shot of Red Bull, isn't it?
Still, they do say that pain is directly correlated with gain. Our gain was catching and passing a motorised vehicle on the open road - and, no, it hadn't broken down wiseguy. Of course, it's still 4 legs good, 2 legs bad, at least over a short distance - as packs of dogs are always keen to prove to us.
Unfortunately, we didn't have much time on arrival in Bari to see the town before we caught the ferry to Greece. Our brief scurry around the centre foraging for suppliers of English language literature showed that it does not meet the expectations we've come to have of port towns. No urban forest rangers to be seen at all - very poor effort.
Some Reflections on Italy:
People - Generally, despite some individuals we may have highlighted, we've found all the Italians we met to be very friendly and helpful, not to mention tolerant of our stuttering and shabby Italian. Of course, once they're behind the wheels of their cars the consideration extends roughly to the point where they would have to slow down.
Language - Neither of us speaks Italian. We do speak a little Spanish. That's not the same thing! This may appear obvious but, all too often, we found that, while trying to speak Italian, a Spanish word would slip out to fill in the gaps. This leads to some paralysis where you wonder if:
- Have I said an Italian word - in which case, Go Me!
- Have I said a Spanish word which fortuitously is the same word in Italian - in which case, Go Me!
- Have I just said a Spanish word - in which case, does the Italian to whom I'm speaking think "not only is this Johnny English unable to speak my language but he's so arrogant that he thinks all us Europeans speak the same language"?
Roads - Given the relative wealth of the 2 countries, we were surprised that the quality of the roads in Italy was much worse than in Spain, with more bumps and potholes and less tarmaced verges. After a while, you can easily start to believe the rumours about where a lot of the money earmarked for road reconstruction ends up. As we cycled along, we shared the side of the roadside with a curious mixture of commemorations to deceased loved ones and the discarded detritus of everyday life. The former shrines are not the simple floral tributes increasingly seen marking British roadside fatalities but engraved marble headstones with names, dates and a photo usually embedded.
Food - Thank Jove for Italian pasta, pizza and pastries.
91.8km (Total 2345.3km)