The rain started right on time at 8:00, and many more campervans and cars had arrived during the night and over the morning. We had tea and breakfast and stayed inside most of the morning but just after noon the clouds parted and the sun came out.
The team buses and cars went past in a convoy up to the finish at the top 1.5 km from us. We went for a walk down to the bar that’s at the bend below us, following a walking track part of the way.
We had a cappuccino and shared a prosciutto and cheese panini while keeping an eye on the very black clouds that were moving in.
We quickly left but still had a ways to go when the rain hit. I tucked my camera inside my coat – I had the merino wool long-sleeve on as well as the winter coat and was glad of it – and carried Mo part of the way up back to the campervan. We got back ok, just very wet and a bit chilled.
The first two racers arrived at 4:13 in pouring rain – an Ineos rider and an EF rider who was wearing their special jersey designed just for the Giro – I find them a bit hard to look at without going cross-eyed. The EF fellow ended up winning the stage so good for him.
I had a large umbrella with the handle tucked into the pocket of my coat to keep my camera dry while the riders straggled past in small and large groups. The last few – including Alex Dowsett and Tony Martin – came by at 4:52 looking quite bedraggled and a bit miserable. PS – huge kudos to Dowsett for winning a stage a couple of days earlier – congrats!
We’d already decided to stay another night rather than fight traffic down the mountain in the dark so settled in and watched as most of the other folks made their way down.
It was a much quieter night than the previous one with hardly any traffic going by. The next morning we left nice and early – it was a longer drive than we expected to reach the coast near Anzio. We found a lovely campground that turned out to not be open but they were kind enough to ‘make a deal’ with Colin – we had our pick of spots and got nice hot showers to boot.
Feeling very refreshed we had an early night then headed out again after breakfast the next morning.
Right near the campground we passed a couple of ‘ladies on chairs’ – we’d seen some before and Colin had noticed a group of them on the way here.
One of them was dressed up with a short skirt and high red boots, but the other looked bored and didn’t seem to have put much effort into attracting ‘clients’.
Since we were so near Anzio I wanted to see something from the war – we weren’t that interested in going to the museum so I chose the Beach Head War Cemetery.
It’s a beautiful and immaculately kept place, and is for Commonwealth soldiers, sailors and airmen that fell during and after the Allied landing in Anzio to free Italy from the nazis.
Most of the headstones show dates of early 1944 and I only noticed one Canadian marked with the maple leaf, although there were many showing only ‘a fallen soldier’.
Colin waited just outside the entrance with the little ones – it looked to me as if he was sitting in Henry – haha!
We left the cemetery and drove north along the coast to Lido di Ostia where we planned to spend the night as it’s so close to Fiumicino. Along the way we passed many beach access places but most of them were closed. Across the road from one were a couple of young ladies and Colin said ‘oh look – they’re in their bathing costumes – they must have been swimming’ but as we got closer to them I noticed their fishnet stockings and heavy makeup and replied ‘they weren’t swimming – they’re fishing’! We laughed so hard!
Arriving at Ostia we parked across from a restaurant on the sea and went in for lunch. We shared an antipasto of mussels, which were excellent, then for my main course I ordered the calamari, although that’s not what I got.
Instead I was given a large platter of assorted seafood, and was it ever good – there were four or five different things that were all very tasty and I needed help from not only Mo but Colin as well to finish it.
After lunch we walked around a bit, stopping at a farmacia so I could get some wet-wipes to wipe down everything on the airplanes the next day.
I think Mo must have sensed that I was about to leave as she cuddled close to me in my bed all night. Up at 5:00 we had a nice cup of tea and a quick bite to eat then it was off to the airport. We got there in plenty of time and said a quick but heartfelt goodbye until next year – fingers crossed.
I was not looking forward to wearing a mask for over twenty hours but it wasn’t quite as bad as I’d feared. Air Canada had changed my flights several times and I was now flying Lufthansa to Frankfurt, then again with them to Vancouver. The security check in Frankfurt was easy – he just looked at my passport for a minute, stamped it on the last page and waved me thru.
The flight to Vancouver was long – over 10 hours, but I had a window seat and no one had anyone sitting next to them. We went north over England and Scotland, then across Greenland and northern Canada. I watched three movies and a series of documentaries about villages in the Alps but didn’t really get any sleep.
Most of the time it was cloudy, but a couple of times it cleared and the views below were awesome.
I had to go thru security again in Vancouver- the fellow was very nice and we chatted about how long I’d been in Italy and why. He reminded me that I need to quarantine for two weeks once I get home and I was passed thru.
I had to collect my checked luggage as my final flight was Air Canada and Lufthansa doesn’t pass along the bags so after ‘checking in’ again I was finally on my way home. A very long day of travel by the end, but so good to see my dear sweetheart D waiting for me.
It was a truly awesome trip, and being ‘forced’ to spend so much time in Italy turned out to be a bit of a gift. Arrivaderci – until next year!