Until now my only exposure to the hospitality of the Italian people has been one of my best friends Paul and his parents. When we were teenagers we would go over to his house and be treated like family. His mother would always be trying to feed us or give us coffee and usually I just tried to be polite and not have her do any more work than was absolutely possible. Once, not thinking another friend and I went to pick Paul just after visiting Tim Hortons and we showed up at the door holding cups of coffee. The look on Paul’s moms face informed me that was a step too far.
This morning I started as always by coming down for breakfast and then got ready to leave by packing up the bike once again. As I was about to give in my keys I was greeted by a new person who was working there who spoke English and was told I couldn’t leave just yet. It seemed that the lady of the house wanted to give me something. She came out from a room with a bunch of scarves and was told to pick one. She refused to take any money and as we chatted and looked through the scarves I was told to take another for someone else (Don’t tell mom, I think she may be getting one!). The pair that run this place are a wonderful couple who were very nice to me so if you are ever in Como please look them up. Affittacamere Brenna. That said, there have been none of the B&B’s who have treated me poorly and I am really getting into staying in these places. I think that this is the best way to travel around!
My goal for today was to get to the Mediterranean coast and in keeping with the theme of the trip so far my GPS is set to avoid the Autostrada (or any Motorway / Highway). I have wanted to travel this way for the last few trips but in North America it really isn’t worth it because the distances between places are just too far. In Europe though it is a completely different story. So much changes in 200 km and zipping past at 120 km / hr it would be too easy to miss things. That said it does take a long time to get anywhere. Today’s ride was only 180 or so km but it took well over 5 hours to complete. Traveling this way you go through town after town after town. It is amazing to see but also very easy to get mixed up.
I took two wrong turns in one town and my GPS corrected this by taking me on one of the most extravagant corrections ever. I have another setting in the unit that says that I am never to do a U-turn and so when going through Acqui Terme I made these two back to back missed turns and my Garmin sent me on an adventure through the hills on what can only be described as a paved goat path. This road twisted and turned up and down the beginnings of the Maritime Alps through little villages and past homes in the hills. If I had seen this road at home I would have assumed it was someones driveway.
I don’t how long I was on that road and how much of a detour I created for myself but I think I may be on my way to wearing out the sides of my tires!
And so, after a long ride I have made it to the hills above Finale Ligure, Italy and am hoping that the clouds will lift a little for a great picture of the area and the sea. Tomorrows plan is to ride along the coast for a while into France as I reach the Southern most point of the trip. From here I turn North and ride back through France to Paris for the weekend. I am sure that some more Italian hospitality will happen before I leave! 🙂
Map has been updated again. Please check it out here.