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Cappuccino in Spina, Lunch in Trevi

We go for a bike ride every couple of days – the most recent was over 31 km and we leave nice and early before it starts getting too hot.  We’ve stopped a couple of times now for cappuccino at a nice little cafe/bar in Spina partway through the ride.

The back road between Mercatello and Compagnano is one of my current favourites – the surface isn’t great but there’s hardly any traffic, and it’s far less developed than some of the other areas.

The view from the terrace is beautiful as always, and I spend a lot of time sitting under the umbrella with a cup of tea watching village life go on.

The fellow that had been doing stonework for ages last year has finally finished – we see him occasionally on his front terrace on a swing-chair.  The small house on the right has been sold and new folks are now in – they got a furniture delivery a few days ago.  The ducks are back, although there’s only three of them this year, rather than the twelve there were last year.

We both got haircuts a few days ago – it’s the shortest I’ve had mine since a cut I got in Spain four years ago.  So easy to take care of now, especially as we’re going to be on the road again very soon.

On Thursday we went to Trevi for lunch and our favourite place, La Vecchia Posta, was open – outdoor tables only, which was great.

For antipasto we shared a selection of mixed bruschetta, and I had wild boar stew for my main dish.  It was just delicious, and with a little help from Mo I actually managed to finish it.

They’ve been working diligently on both the Bell Tower and the condo building just below us.  I can’t believe how much stuff they’ve hauled out of the condo building – I think when the earthquake happened the folks were given 15 minutes to grab what they could and maybe haven’t been allowed back since.

I’ve been really trying to soak in the atmosphere here prior to our departure – having spent so much time here last year I feel like two weeks isn’t nearly enough time.

On the Road Again!

Bye bye to my home – I’m On the Road Again!!

Finally allowed to travel – within 5 hours of restrictions being lifted to Italy I had my flights booked.  Before the first flight I had a covid test at the airport – waited in the car in the parking lot for the results.  I passed!  Or was it failed?  In any case I got both emailed and printed pages to show I was safe to travel.

The first check-in was actually the longest – the lady at the counter looked so long at my passport I started to worry – but no problem.  I had my covid test proof, my Personal Flight Locator forms, my declaration for getting into Italy – I had it all.

After a goodbye to my patient, kind and loving partner I boarded the first of three flights.  The plane to Vancouver was packed, followed by a 3 hour wait for the next flight to Frankfurt.  Once again I showed all of my papers, and again no problem.

The flight was quite long, and right after serving us dinner they made us close the windows and shut off the lights.  I don’t think it ever actually got dark outside the whole way, but it was a long ‘night’ and I didn’t get any sleep.

Arriving at Frankfurt airport I again showed all of my papers, and again no problem.  I found my scheduled flight to Rome on the boards and limped a long way to the listed gate.  I had a few hours to wait so read for a bit, then decided to take a little nap – there was plenty of space on the lounge chairs to stretch out, and I was at the right gate so knew I’d hear the folks arriving for the flight and all of the boarding calls.

Wrong….I woke with a start at 3:01 – the flight was supposed to start boarding at 2:50 so I knew immediately something wasn’t right.  Still fuzzy-headed from my nap I grabbed my backpack and camera and shuffled to the closest check-in gate.  A lady in front of me had just missed her flight to Mallorca and I felt bad for her, while just hoping I hadn’t missed my flight to Rome.

I quickly showed the check-in lady my boarding pass and she said to ‘go that way and turn left’ – well, I was at gate A16 and my flight was now leaving from A56 – a very, very long way – in fact very close to the gate I’d arrived at three hours earlier.  I ran as fast as I could, given my injured foot, and arrived huffing and puffing and almost crying to find that I wasn’t quite the last one – about 15 folks were still lined up to board.

The last flight wasn’t too long and I arrived safely at Fiumicino a little bit ahead of schedule.  I collected my bag and headed to passport control/security – but there wasn’t any.  There were several armed guards standing around, but no one that wanted to see my passport or anything.  I simply walked out!

Colin and the little ones arrived only a few minutes later to pick me up and we were on our way ‘home’.  It’s not that far to Papiano so we arrived at a decent time, although to me I’d been up and on the move for about 30 hours.

I had a very nice welcome from several of the locals, especially Antonio at the bar. I took it easy for a couple of days getting used to the time change and everything.

On Sunday we went for a nice bike ride of 22 km., and another one this morning of just under 20 km.  

There are two major renovation projects going on near us.  First of all the bell tower is finally being fixed – they’ve had the funds for it for some time but apparently there was prolonged discussion about exactly what to do.  It’s now covered in scaffolding and work is progressing.

The other major project is right below us – a mutli-unit building that was damaged in the earthquake five years ago.  They started this morning by blocking off the lane way and have started removing debris from the inside. 

Bye Bye Papiano (sob!) – on to the Giro

The morning of my last day in Papiano was beautiful with a lovely sunrise.  Chairman Meow came to say goodbye – well, he came for food and a pat on the head…ok really he just came for food but I managed to pat him on the head without getting bitten or slashed.

I took a few final photos of the terrace and the view, and we were on our way around 11:30.  

As we passed the bar we waved again to Antonio – we’d said our goodbyes the previous afternoon.

We headed south to Terni, then southeast, passing many sections of roadworks.  It slowed the journey down some but lord knows most of the roads need it.

We stopped just short of our destination, right below the town of Rivisondoli. 

It was a lovely evening although it’s starting to get chilly as soon as the sun goes down.

The next morning was another beautiful one – we took the dogs for a nice walk along a paved path right next to the camper park, then I checked out some sculptures in a nearby park.

They’re made of metal and seem to be used for lighting fires in.  We figure there must be some kind if festival, maybe in the winter – this area a big for skiing, etc.

We continued on past the town of Roccaraso and followed the road to the top that will be the finale of stage 9 of the Giro d’Italia.  We’ve been watching the race every day on tv and this one stage will be the only one we’ll be able to get to in person this year.

The 7 km climb to the top isn’t that steep but it will be right at the end of a long hard day for the riders.

There’s no parking allowed at the very top, but lots of wide areas a km or two down.  Several campervans were already there but there was lots of space so we did get an excellent spot.

We put up the flags and had a quiet afternoon.  The folks that pulled in next to us came over with a cup of espresso for each of us – very sweet but packing quite a caffeine jolt.

Borgo Tossignano, Women’s ITT

After breakfast we walked to the nearest cafe and had a cappuccino, then took a long walk around the town.

It’s a lovely place right on the Santerno river and has very distinctive geography – the area used to be a provider of gypsum.

As we were walking on a path next to the river a lady on a bike stopped and chatted with us for a bit – she was very friendly and told us about her dog – a staffie named Cesare that she said was very gentle and friendly.

Just a short while later we passed her house and sure enough Cesare ran up to his gate – no barking or fuss, just looked like he wanted a pat on the head or something.

Back at the campervan we put the flags up and waited for the first racer – today was the women’s individual time trial.

Last year’s winner – Chloe Dygert from the US – was setting a blistering pace when not far from the finish she braked on a corner and went into/over the barrier.  She was taken to hospital in Imola for surgery for a bad laceration on her leg, and a dutch rider – Anna van der Breggen – won the day.

Good news is that the American should be ok, and hopefully will recover and be back to form and racing again next year.