Day 10 Week 3 Day 12
Sun, 12. Mar 2023

Day 11 - from Altopascio to Capezzano Monte

Quite a glorious day! With a lot of highlights and a strenuous end. Altopascio, I don't know, the name sounded so great. Alto, I believe meaning high up, I somehow expected more, or actually a lot. But the town was not really spectacular. Lucca, my first stop on this day, quite different. Absolutely stunning, with hardly any cars in the city and a big wall around it. Bikes everywhere, everybody out for a nice spring day.

My accomodation was sort of a wild card. I couldn't find anything that wasn't too expensive and this place looked amazing. I had the feeling that it might be quite a bit up a hill, but the owner assured me, that her kids were doing this every day, so it wouldn't be too hard. I ignored my doubts and booked. Oh well.

And, today is the day that I finished my first 500 kilometers!

Where did I stay?
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The road to Lucca, I can hardly remember. It wasn't long and there was no significant up or down. But I remember on how I entered, just passed the town wall and sat down and had a bit of a look around. I always love to do that, an unassuming place and observing the locals. It was a Sunday, so everybody was out on their bikes or going for a run. After some time I went into the town, lots of coffee shops and small streets. I decided to sit down and get some baked goods. Stopped at Taddeucci and got a Buccellato Lucchese. I'm not keen usually on these sweet breads, but this one was extraordinarily good! And they packed it like a little present, so I almost fell like not eating it. But absolutely delicious.

Once I decided to leave Lucca, I was again sitting a bit on the city wall. And observed an old guy cruising around on his little bike. Lucca is definitely a city I would be happy to visit again. And it kept me thinking, that maybe a smaller city would be a great place to live.

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EuroVelo 5 - a nice cloud over Camaiore, Italy

Lucca to Pietrasanta, that part I remember well. I biked along a river and then got into a more mountainous area. I was standing on a crossing, where I was supposed to go right. According to the Eurovelo route. But I was not trusting it after my experiences in the last few days. Too many muddy roads that were hardly bikeable. So I made a pause, to think what route to take. An english road biker came by, we had a chat and he said that I should definitely not take the planned route. Nobody who's local would take it, because it's simply to unridable. He showed me an alternative way then which I took. It was not not steep, but a nice serpentine through a forest, nicely shaded and great surface. Glad that I made a pause.

Eventually I came to a point where I had an absolutely stunning view over Camaiore, including a water fountain. After that, downhill. And what a fun one. Lots of steep serpentines with absolutely pristine views. Camaiore itself, meh, or not too interesting, but that ride downhill. Continued to Pietrasanta which was actually a nice surprise. It dawned on me, that the hardest part was still ahead of me and I hadn't had a lot of food yet. And very likely I wouldn't get any food in the little village up the hill. So I treated myself to a glass of white wine and a Spaghetti Vongole and was sitting down a bit on the town square. Very busy, but in a good way. Once I felt well rested, I decided to tackle the way up hill.

And man, that was hard. One and a half hours, just up. To be honest, I did push the bike. That was so steep and everybody looked at me with great pity. I only realised later, that my Garmin did not track when I pushed the bike, because it put itself on pause. Meaning I'm not sure about the elevation and time it took. But it felt like ages. Luckily it was as well gorgeous. I pushed up through serpentines and got my first glimpses of the Mediterranean Sea. Beautiful light.

Pushing up, I somehow had imagined that the whole village would be waiting for me. Greeting me and cheering me on for my heroic ascend. Quite the opposite was true. I couldn't find the place and when I tried to get there, people were yelling me off because I was at a private road. Eventually I found it, and to my dismay I even had to climb some stairs. The owner greeted me friendly and offered me a freshly squeezed orange juice, which I gladly agreed to. I brought all my stuff up the stairs just to see a stunning view and smell a terrible smell. Cat pee. So bad. Lots of cats around and the place was so stuffed. Under other circumstances I might have left immediately, but now I couldn't. I won't get into all the details of the AirBnB, but it was certainly very special. Sometimes I'm really surprised about the great comments people get. But the owner was friendly, but for the live of me I could not accept more food and was happy when I left the next morning. But the view, the view was great!

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A cat looking over Pietrasanta
Mood: happy :)