At an artichoke festival in Tuscany the other day I read a sign that said “Italy is like an artichoke, it must be peeled apart and tasted one expensive and tasty layer at time”. This aptly describes our wonderful lardy last three weeks.
Food highlights: Gelato twice a day, good coffee for Andrew and thick instant puddingy hot chocolate for me, oily focaccia, artichoke pizza, a bottle of limoncello on the back of the bicycle, strawberry pizza at a woodfire pizza party, little pastries in Certaldo, cod ravioli with truffle, torta de pasqua, wild boar with honey, vegan chocolate cake (there are four vegans in Italy and we met two of them)…
Food crimes: I cooked spag bog in an Italian home and the pasta was all dry and stuck together. Mayonaise and ketchup in the same tube. Muesli that is fifty percent chocolate.
Best roads: The twisting road high above the Mediterranean and little villages in the Cinque Terre, the forested hillsides of the Apenines, and everywhere hill side medieval cities that we linked like drawing dot to dots. Generally the cycling has been great in Spain, France and Italy – it is relatively easy to find secondary roads with little traffic and drivers actually wait until it is safe to find a place to pass. The weather has been mixed but we have luckily avoided most of the Spring rain (although an anonymous source quotes Andrew as saying ° I hate bike touring° during a freak hail storm in Tuscany). Our quads are getting pretty massive too.
Most expensive camping: 35 euros. Criminal. Coolest camping: In an old closed campsite in Umbria full of ancient caravans, that had an excellent slow food restaurant just down the road.
We had a couple of bike free holidays in Italy too. One near the cinque terre, where we went walking and ate icecream in the sunshine. Very pretty. We also took the train to Rome for a few days, which was cool but crazy because we accidentally went at the same time as one million Polish pilgrims there for the beatification of the old pope. So many nuns.
Today we are in Ancona, waiting for our ferry to Split in Croatia. I am excited about going on a boat (so I can say that I’m on a boat) and also about heading to further away places…