Category: Uncategorized

Slow days over Easter and another step forward

We received the contract for the house by email from the lawyer late one evening.  We had a couple of simple questions that we emailed back to them but by then everything was shut down for the five-day Easter weekend.

Not able to do any business we had a couple of very slow days, taking only one day-trip back north to Chirivel.  Once again we commented on the beauty of the area, and doing the loop in a different direction we came back via Oria.

Sitting outside one afternoon at the campground we got a bit of a shock – we had the canopy out as it was nice and sunny and were surprised by a large thump above us and seeing some spray.

I jumped up and stepped away to get a view of the canopy and could see what looked like bird poo spread out all over.  Colin got the hose out and sprayed it off – it was gross.  I was very glad for the canopy as I’d been sitting right below where the worst of the poo was and might have gotten it right in the face!

A short while later when inside the campervan Colin noticed that some of the brown shit had come thru the open vent above his bed and was sprinkled on his duvet – since we had just done a bunch of laundry the duvet cover was hanging on the line drying so the poo/goo was right on the duvet itself.

It actually didn’t smell bad so we’re not really sure what it was – maybe mud and bits of grass or leaves/needles.  We couldn’t figure out where it came from – we hadn’t noticed any large birds, although it was very windy and could perhaps have come from one of the large trees nearby.  It’s a mystery.

Another day we drove up near the new house and while Colin sat with the dogs outside the restaurant and had a coffee I finally – for the first time this year! – got on my bike.  I rode up the nearest rambla and pedaled leisurely along below the house and north almost to the sanctuary.

It was a very nice ride, although I did have to pay good attention to the ‘road’ surface, which is a combination of dirt, gravel and sand, and having many washout grooves from all of the recent rain.

I think being able to explore the ramblas will almost make up for not being able to ride the canal paths in and around Worcester anymore.

The ride north was all gently uphill, and hardly noticeable – you could only really tell there was a gradient at all because going back south to the restaurant I hardly had to peddle – I might even have been able to coast the whole way if I’d wanted to.

After the long-long Easter weekend we got to do some more business.  A quick visit to George at the estate agent office answered most of our questions regarding the contract.  He printed it for us and we signed it.  We then popped into the bank, which we were lucky to get into as it was market day and the street was packed with stalls.

Our representative was with other customers so we made an appointment for an hour later.  When we saw him at noon he did a transfer for us of 10% of the house purchase – our bank cards hadn’t arrived yet and we also don’t have an NIF number so we couldn’t do it ourselves.  We gave him the papers showing where the large transfer of cash from the UK came from to back-up the anti-money laundering file on the account.

After the bank we returned to where we’d parked the camper van – about a km back along the road out of town because of all the extra parked cars for the market.  Next stop was to drop off the papers at the lawyers – a one-pager from the bank showing the 10% had been done, as well as the signed contract.  Another step forward!

Lido de Camaiore for Tirreno-Adriatico ITT

Leaving the aire before 8:00 we headed north towards Lido de Camaiore, stopping along the way for a fabulous cappuccino at a highway rest stop.

We got to Camaiore in good time and drove along the Lido, passing several of the team buses in the best parking areas.

Most of the parking areas were taped off for the teams and other race officials but we came to a perfect place near the Hotel Joseph.

There were some other campervans there already so we figured it was a good place to stop.

After a bite to eat we went for a walk back towards the start of tomorrow’s ITT – it was a bit of a ways and there were no cafes open or anything.  We did enjoy the excercise and fresh air, however.

There are several teams staying at the Hotel Joseph, and the mechanics, etc. are all in process of washing the time trial bikes and everything.

There are all sorts of sculptures and art pieces along the Lido – some of them are quite nice and some of them a bit puzzling.

Also, because we’re so close to Carrara there’s lots of marble – some of the sidewalks are actually made of it!

After a very early night and a good quiet sleep we were up early again.  Wanting a cappuccino we walked north this time along the Lido, eventually asking a policeman where a cafe might be found.  

Following his directions we shortly were seated outside a very nice, and increasingly busy cafe at one end of a large plaza.

Across from the plaza were more sculptures, and a lovely long pier that was very well made with stainless steel handrails – quite impressive.

There was a fellow playing the harp partway down – I think I even recognized the song he was playing which was something Italian and classical that I don’t know the name of.  

The beach here looks excellent – very wide and flat with fine white sand.

For a few hours in the late morning most of the riders were doing re-con of the course, then the police motos and photo motos took their turns.

The first racer left around 2:00 – it’s a straight north ride for almost 7 km, then a hairpin turn and back south to the finish, so each rider passes us twice, once in each direction.  I got the Cav…

…a heli – what??  They’re alway sneaking into my shots…

…someone coming from the beach who didn’t care at all about the race…

…Alaphilippe…

As some of the riders finished they slowly rode back to their hotels – sometimes on the race road and sometime on the sidewalk.  At one point I looked up and coming towards me was Richie Porte!  I waved and smiled (not having time to take a photo) and he smiled back and said ‘Hi’! – almost the highlight of my day.  I also got Ganna…

…Evenepoel…

…and Pogacar…

A very fine day of race watching, followed by another very early night.

Back to the Pap

Since returning to Papiano we’ve had a pretty quiet time.  We went on a bike ride a few days after getting here, but it’s the last one we’ll do together as Colin’s road bike – with the skinny tires – doesn’t do well at all on the terrible roads.

I’ve gone on several solo rides to some of my favourite places – Olmeto, Spina, Compignano, Mercatello, etc.  The weather’s been generally nice and sunny, but at times the wind has been rather fierce.

I’ve also gone a little further up the road to the east and into the hills that way – as far as the small town of Castelleone that I haven’t been to before.

There was a festa at the bar a few days after we arrived and it was very well attended.  We couldn’t believe how much food there was – 4 or 5 courses, including pasta al ragu, and more than one meat dish.  It was so nice to see everyone again, and we had some good conversation with John and Janet, as well as Afka (the Dutch lady).

Last Friday we finally took a short drive to Spello where we had lunch.

It’s a lovely little town with very scenic lanes, lots of artisanal shops, and many restaurants to choose from.

It looks like it might be a bit touristy at another time of year but wasn’t too bad at the end of October.

There is still work being done on both the bell tower and the ‘apartment’ building below us.  They’ve begun removing the scaffolding from the bell tower but it isn’t likely to be in use again until near Christmas.  The apartment will take a lot longer – the government is spending almost 1 million euros to fix the damage from the 2016 earthquake, and they’ve completely gutted it.

I’ve been practising making pies – not dessert ones, but meat ones.  Colin had seen a recipe in a magazine when we were still in France and the first one I tried was steak and mushroom.  It turned out pretty well, so I moved on to chicken pie – I roasted a whole chicken first, then peeled the meat off and made the pie – another success.  The last experiment was salmon and leek – I’m rather pleased with the results!

There was another festa at the bar this past Sunday – Monday was a holiday here so no problem to have a slightly late evening.  This one was more low-key, with pork buns rather than a sit-down dinner, but again nice to mingle with the locals.

I’ve spent hours in the last few days trying to sort out paperwork, etc for my journey home.  Air Canada sent some info on Friday and since then I’ve been very busy.  First I had to schedule a ‘molecular covid test’, which I had this morning.  It was the one involving a very long swab poked way up the nose, although I must say it wasn’t quite as bad as the one I had in France in the summer.

Then I had to fill out a very long thing online for entry to Canada and it failed time after time.  I finally gave up today and downloaded an app that actually worked.  Hopefully they’ll let me pass with no problem – I would hate to be stuck in Toronto for 14 days!

We had our neighbour Angelo over for lunch today – he’s a very nice person and we had a lovely visit.  Chairman Meow is his cat…

Fantastic Finale to La Vuelta – ITT into Santiago

As usual on a race day cars and campervans went up and down looking for spots to park.  Also as usual many amateur riders took their crack at the course.  And fans walked and rode up and down as well.

Since it was the ITT many of the racers did a re-con ride, either alone or with others of their team.

Around noon a few vehicles pulled into the parking area of a building just up the road from us and proceeded to setup a large canopy.  They then put up some very large speakers – uh oh.  Not long after that the music started – just blasting away the peace and quiet we had enjoyed until then.

After a couple of hours I couldn’t stand it anymore so took a stroll up to have a word with them.  I asked when they were going to stop and and was told it would go on all day!  I cried out ‘no!’ and they just looked at me like I was crazy.  I finally begged them to at least turn the speaker around so it was facing them and not us, and to please turn it down a bit.  They did turn the speaker around, but the lowered volume only lasted a minute or two.

The start today is much later than usual, so that the last rider would arrive in Santiago di Compostella near sunset.

I did take a walk to the corner just below us – it’s a very sharp corner with quite a steep gradient.

There are, of course, quite a few people gathered, including not one, but two bagpipe players, a bongo drummer and a guy with a horn – literally a horn.  In addition there’s the lady in the jester’s costume that had walked past us earlier with the cute baby.

The caravan – small as it is in the Vuelta – arrived at 3:48.  We did score a couple of hats – I gave one to the little fellow next to us – as well as several key rings and a bag of olives.

The first rider came by us at almost 5:20, followed by points winner Fabio Jakobsen (I’ve been spelling his name incorrectly previously).  Even though he will win the green jersey he’s in second to last place overall, thus the second to start the ITT which goes in reverse order.

The folks up the road with the blaring music do look like they’re enjoying themselves, but we just couldn’t take any more so relocated down to the corner where the atmosphere was so much more fun for us.

One of the bagpipers was now dressed – we think – as a wolf, although wookie also came to mind.

The other bagpiper and the guy with the horn were in skeleton outfits.

There was also a superman.

As we were taking photos of the riders and the cars, folks in some of the cars and on the motos were also taking pics of us.

Even though it’s the final stage and as long as they all stay on their bikes the overall results are not likely to change much, no-one seems to be slacking in their efforts.

In the end Jack Haig hung in for third overall…

…Mas for second, and getting a very well deserved win – both the stage and the overall, Primos Roglic.

We waited for a short while before deciding what to do about leaving – we asked our neighbours in the other campervan if they were leaving or staying the night and their opinion was the very same as ours…if the folks with the horrible loud music were staying, then we were leaving – if they left, then we were going to stay.

Luckily for all of us the party people started to take down their equipment and in very quick time were out of there – blessed peace!!

From Viegu back to Santa Eulalia de Oscos, and on to Quintans – More Vuelta!

Shortly after the race passed our nice little spot in Viegu we got going north towards the coast, stopping at an aire not far from the town of Ribadesella.  That’s the town that’s made headlines recently for it’s tongue-in-cheek response to criticism from tourists that had complained about the noise from roosters and church bells, etc.

We stopped in Gijon to re-stock on food, then continued straight west on the motorway until just before Ribadeo where we turned south along the route for the next day’s stage.

We followed the route to the town of A Fonsagrada, where we stopped so Colin could get some salve for his insect bites.  I haven’t been bitten at all, but they seem to really go for him!

Backtracking to the village of Santa Eulalia de Oscos we once again took advantage of the aire.  The race goes by on the road below, although it doesn’t actually go thru the village.

After a lovely glass of rioja we had a nice early night – there are only two other vans this time, as opposed to being almost full two weeks ago.

Early the next morning we followed the route several miles on and picked a nice wide spot to park and watch from.

There was a very large breakaway that arrived at 1:49…

…with the peloton, led by Jumbo Visma – with current overall leader Primoz Roglic – only two minutes behind (love his blue shoes!)…

…and team Ineos and Bernal not far back.

We once again saw our ‘friend’ the photographer who stopped right at our spot to take some photos.

We’ve met him several times now, including the Tour of Burgos three years ago and the world’s in Harrogate two years ago.  He liked the book I was reading that I’d set near my chair and commented on it.

Several minutes later, as usual, were the sprinters and others, including Jacobsen and several of his protective Quickstep team members.

After taking down the flags we had a somewhat leisurely drive back past Santiago and a bit south to the town of Padron – it’s the starting point for Sunday’s final stage that is an Individual Time Trial.  We know we’re not going to watch from Padron, but it has an aire that was pretty easy to find.

We actually didn’t really care for the site – it’s right across from a canal, and also right on one of the many Camino routes.  In fact there’s a marker showing that it’s at km 26,770 of the trail – not sure where they started counting from – China, maybe? Or, perhaps, as Colin reminded me, they use the comma and the decimal backwards here, and it more likely means 26.77 km to go to Santiago – maybe?? Hahaha.

The problem with the site is that it’s surrounded on two sides by large apartment blocks, and since it was Friday night there was a lot of activity, including drunken shouting and verbal altercations from some of the suites.

Leaving as early as possible the next morning we headed out on the route, looking for a spot somewhere on the one large climb of the finale on Sunday.  We passed a spot that Colin liked but I wanted to press on and see what was ahead – we ended up going another 15 km or so before turning around and parking in the first spot.

We were eventually joined by another campervan, and many more cruised up and down the road looking for places.

Exploring Galicia – Foz to Razo, and Places in Between

We had a couple of fairly quiet days, with nice walks along the shore trails.

The weather was a bit crappish so we didn’t go far, and never even bothered to get out the bikes.

One morning there was a man that was teaching his son to surf – and the little fellow seemed to like it.

After a couple of days of rest we decided to head a bit inland again, and ended up in an aire at the edge of the lovely village of Castro de Rei.  It even had free electric.

We got parked, then took a walk into the village, where we encountered an elderly couple that were just leaving their garden and crossing the road to their house.  They took a great interest in the dogs, especially Henry.  We managed to converse a bit, even with my very poor spanish, and they were so sweet – wanting to know the doggies names, and also where we were staying.

We then walked back a bit and stopped at the bar to have a drink, and then a couple of very small tapas.  The bill for a really nice glass of rioja, a beer and two tapas was a grand total of three euros!

On the way back to the campervan I tried to take some photos of the almost-full moon – I was fairly disappointed with the results…it was much more colourful than I seemed able to capture.

We left Castro de Rei mid-morning the next day and continued on the short distance to A Feira Do Monte, which was also very nice, although quite a bit larger town.  The aire, however, was in a really beautiful area right next to a bird sanctuary.

It was a fairly busy parking area actually, with lots of cars coming and going – there are several nice trails going around the ‘lake’ and to various places in the town.

We took a lovely long walk around the ‘lake’ – it has many informative kiosks as well as a few strategically placed bird watching towers.

(No – this is not a real bird!)

The next morning we took a short walk along one of the many paved trails – it eventually led to a museum in the town but we didn’t follow it to the end, opting to get going to our next stop instead. I must say they’ve done a really good job with the trails and info in this area – very nice to see.

We went a couple hours almost straight west to what we thought was going to be an isolated beach aire on the coast near the small village of Razo.

It was a beautiful place, but not what we’d expected.  It was just bustling – mostly with surfers, but at least it had a couple of nice bars and restaurants.  We parked for the afternoon right across from the beach – directed by some fellows that looked fairly official, but we weren’t asked for any money.  We squeaked into a space, slightly scraping the canopy holder on the side of the campervan on a sign on the way in.

After a nice walk above the beach – no dogs allowed on the actual beach – we tried to order a drink at a bar, but no luck.  They were incredibly busy but didn’t seem to have nearly enough staff to service half of the folks.  Two people at the table next to us were able to order some of what they wanted but then the waitress pretty much ran away without taking our order.  When I said ‘well…maybe tomorrow!’ the two laughed and said ‘she’s very stressed’ but we’d waited long enough and left for another place.

At the second place we ended up not only having drinks – a very nice bottle of Rioja – but also lunch.

We relocated where we parked a couple of times to find the right place to spend the night, ending up on a large paved area at the edge of town, again right across from the ocean.

The sunset was beautiful.

From Rio Luna to Foz, with Lots of Aires in Between

On Saturday we took another ride into San Emiliano and Colin watched the barking/howling dogs – he thinks they’re enjoying the ride and are actually making happy noises.  I like that idea a lot better – they’re sitting up and looking forward, their ears flapping in the wind – who wouldn’t enjoy that?

There’s a large rock outcropping at the edge of the village and on top are some storks roosting – very large nests and all, but I couldn’t actually glimpse any babies.

On the way back one of the wheels on the chariot came a bit loose and began to rub against the side so I had to stop – it took Colin a bit to return for us as I pushed the bike along the edge of the road.

I envisioned him starting his second beer by the time we got to the cafe, but he did notice we weren’t behind him anymore and turned around fairly shortly.

He fixed the wheel and we were on our way, stopping for a refreshing beverage at the cafe in Rabanal de Luna.

In the late afternoon we headed down to the campground bar and asked if the tv could be changed from the soccer game to the Vuelta a Espana – it’s the first stage and is a time trial around Burgos.

At half time of the soccer game we got our wish and were able to watch the last hour or so of the time trial, with Roglic putting in the best time and taking the red jersey on day one.  We were told – in a very friendly way – that the channel would not be changed for us again tomorrow as some of the locals were coming to the bar to watch the next soccer game on the big screen.

Two of the little boys staying next to us approached me one evening offering me one of several braided strings they’d made but I said no.  I regretted my dismissal of them and as they came back around a little later I waved them over.  They were so sweet – I chose one in purple and pink and it cost me a whole euro.  I’ve tied it to my camera case and when I showed them the next morning they were thrilled.

We weren’t in any great hurry to leave on Sunday morning and didn’t get away until almost noon – we followed the same road north that we’d taken two years ago towards Oviedo.

There’s a nice pullout near the border of Castillo Y Leon and Asturias with great views south back towards San Emiliano.

We had intended to stop at one of the aires near the top of the Bear Trail so we could take a ride, but it was so packed we didn’t even try – we kept going downhill to just past the town of Proaza where we’d stopped two years ago.  Once again the lot looked very full but we pulled into a space marked ‘bus’.

There were so many people coming and going off the trail that we decided we’d take our ride some other time – August seems to be when everyone in Spain takes their vacation all at once and we can’t stand the crowds!

We did spend the night in the parking area, along with about a dozen other vans.  It’s a fairly busy little road but nothing kept us awake.

There’s a very interesting mural on the side of a building in one of the towns on the way to Oviedo – all about the mining that was prevalent in the area in days gone by.

We had a bit of a time finding the Lidl’s store as the campervan’s GPS took us miles and miles from where we were meant to be.  Luckily we have the backup of Waze and eventually got where we were going.

All stocked up once again we headed west and a bit south to find another aire, intending to stay away from the north coast a bit longer in order to avoid the crowds.  And once again we got mis-directed, so had to back-track and try a different aire.

Along our ‘scenic route’ we did get to enjoy some great sites, and much of it was, of course, near one of the many Camino routes.

The aire we ended up at was not bad, and was located in the lovely village of Sta. Eulalia de Oscos.  We parked the campervan and walked the doggies to a nice bar with outdoor seating for refreshments.

They had a large tv that I could see from my outside chair and the bartender eventually gave in and changed channels to the Vuelta so we could see the last of the day’s stage up Picon Blanco.

The village itself has put some effort into being attractive – there are several displays and murals, and all of the buildings are well maintained and don’t look derelict, like in some places.

There’s a large field next to where we’re parked and it has a very lonely donkey in it – they’re much happier if they have a friend, even if it’s a goat or horse.

Colin fed it some carrots and we saw that it has some sort of skin condition, maybe cysts or tumours.

As we left the village just after 11:00 we saw yet another interesting sculpture – I like that the cow is wearing her helmet, and is also signalling a left-hand turn – haha!

As I walked down to take a photo of the cow-on-moto I also some more wall art.

We still wanted to stay a bit away from the coast so headed to our next chosen aire in the village of Taramundi.  The village looked quite nice but seemed to be teeming with visitors so we kept going.

The next aire on our list was in A Pontenova – yes, that is the name of the place – but we couldn’t find it.  There was an occasional sign saying ‘800 metres’ but then nothing but going in circles so we continued on to the next place – Mondonedo.

We found the aire but the spots weren’t really big enough for campervans – we parked temporarily to have a bite to eat and I did a bit of exploring with Mo.

The town seems fairly nice and has some interesting buildings – also it’s a big stop on the Camino.

There was an adorable little kitten on the ‘Juliet balcony’ of an apartment across from where we were parked – it was out on the ledge for a bit and wasn’t concerned about the drop.

He made it safely back inside and we left shortly after.  We changed our minds about going to the coast and decided to head to a campground we like just west of Foz, stopping in Ribadeo on the way to refill our cooking-gas supply.

It was an extremely frustrating endeavour, but successful in the end, finding what we needed at a Peugeot garage.

The San Rafael campground was open and quite busy, although the nice bar – with the big tv – was closed.  We got settled and I made a vegetable soup with bacon and mushrooms for dinner – it was pretty good, if I do say so myself!

I took a nice walk to the ocean after dinner, encountering a couple of kite-flyers on the way.

I don’t doubt that kites fly well here as the wind was fierce.

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.