Week 3 Week 4 Week 5
A tough week. Not in terms of route, but rather mentally. I had my first flat tire, I got absolutely lost and fears of dogs creeped up again, and well, look at the bruised and pale legs. But on the good side: it's getting warmer so I can wear short pants, I've done my first 100km ride on this trip and I got a lot of support from great people.
Where the 446 kilometers took me
Thu, 16. Mar 2023
EuroVelo 5 - view from Berceto

Cold fresh mountain air. And a long way down. Not the worst start into a day. Great views as well, with still some glimpses of the Alps. I decided to not bike into Parma. I've been there on a different visit and generally bigger cities are not too enticing. A short break in Fornovo di Taro, small town but all the things I needed for a quick break. And an impressive riverbed of the Taro.

Continued further to Fidenza where I got some lunch, actually a big portion of pizza for quite little money. I place myself at some squares and observed again quite some people. Definitely a city which is bike friendly and very little car traffic. Which is always great to see.

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Fri, 17. Mar 2023
Eurovelo 5 - my Garmin and a desastrous bridge

My worst day yet. It started out all fine and dandy, but turned pretty quick. First stop, as almost always, a little village, Alseno. With a cafe and an abbey. Continued to Piacenza where I found a great farmers market and went on a little stroll around the city to then get going direction Spessa.

And wow, a very busy street. Cars basically being far less polite than I have experienced them earlier on my trip. Might have been as well simply the nature of the road. I'm usually not too worried about cars, I would go even so far, that I prefer some roads with cars over bike roads. Actually quite often. But that was simply too much.

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Sat, 18. Mar 2023
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A day of firsts! The weather is slowly getting a bit warmer, so I decided to finally wear some short biking pants. One can truly say, not a beautiful sight. Handling the bike, specially when taking a train, left its marks. A lot of bruises. But well, getting a tan will help.

And another first, my first flat tire. That was constantly on my mind during the first few weeks. Everytime somebody talked about it, I didn't want to hear about it. No jinxing. I have never successfully fixed a flat tire before, the thought of it was a bit daunting!

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Sun, 19. Mar 2023
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No hills today. At all. Therefore a lot of kilometres. A tad more than 101km. The landscape is definitely less spectacular than Tuscany, but has it's own charms. Many small backroads, hardly any traffic. And an unexpected nice roll into Turin.

Only little time left in Italy, then France! Can't wait. The impact of not speaking a language is not to underestimate. While I love being on my own, I do love a bit of chit chat every now and then. Did not happen often in Italy.

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Tue, 21. Mar 2023
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Day 19, in terms of cycling, was a surprise. First, a pleasantish ride out of Turin. And all of sudden the Parco Naturale di Stupinigi. A great park, a straight street, no cars. The following streets were super enjoyable as well. Small, hardly cars, no deep gravel. And then I stood before my first cycleway that was formerly a railway. Super nice as well. And then, in the Po haze, I saw the first mountains. Huge, but hardly visible. I was glad to see some mountains again, specially the Alps. And I biked through so many apple orchards which started to bloom.

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Wed, 22. Mar 2023
EuroVelo 8 - train station in Cuneo

Today was a meh day. Mostly because of me. I had a great breakfast and my host showed me a very old wagon that was used to put down fires. Beautiful tiny roads with apple orchards. A quick chase from a small dog. And then a train ride, or actually three. The advise was to bridge the alps on this part, because the streets are not fully worked out. That's what I did. And I think that's when the meh started. Maybe it was not me. I had to switch trains two times. And all elevators were too small to fit my bike. I had to do the stairs, which is super annoying. My blue spots slowly disappeared, but now they're back with some smaller scratches. Really bad entrances to the trains as well. Was a lot better on my initial travels. I survived, but was so exhausted, that I forgot my pack of cigarettes in the shop. Which left me more annoyed. I could not fully enjoy the amazing cycleway along the coast. I did my best, but sometimes it doesn't work. Tomorrow is another day. Last night in Italy for that part.

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Mood: happy :)