A Whole Country Crossed

By Stephen | April 11, 2013

We left our hilltop retreat this morning and headed down. And down.

It was some of the easiest and most pleasant riding we have done thus far. We’ve found that where there is a modern highway there is often the old, smaller, and much less-used road running alongside it. In Italy, some of them are the original Roman roads, like the one we took today for most of our ride.

By noon we had reached a milestone – we had cycled the entire width of our first country. Thanks to Alex and Luci for arranging our west coast camping trip almost two weeks ago! Today, having lunch sitting with our feet in the sand just outside of Pesaro, we realised we’d just done something very few have. Yes, we know that Italy is about the same width as California, but we’re still pretty chuffed.

Pesaro is a real cycling city. It has a network of bike paths (colour-coded and a little confusing) and is filled with mostly senior citizens on their bicycles. We saw so many ladies in their 70s peddling along that Jane decided her Mom really needs to get a bike. Diane, what do you think?

For about 15 km south of Pesaro, the bike path runs along the beach, past scores of beach cafes, each with their own little stand of cabanas. At this time of year, the only people here are working to get ready for the summer rush, painting, sawing, cleaning, and repairing their businesses. We tried hard to imagine what it will look like in August, and decided we probably don’t want to see that.

After Fano, and through Marotta, and Cesano, there is a collection of strange campgrounds along the highway (and away from the beach). They are almost all closed, and almost all designed as permanent caravan parking, for caravans in various sad states of repair. We felt like we’d gone back in time a few decades, before EasyJet and the internet, when summer holidays meant a month on the nearest coast, packed too close together in your family’s caravan.

We had all but given up on camping when we rode past Camping Cesano, which actually seemed open, and even welcoming. We still had to pitch our tent amidst a field of empty trailers and within spitting distance of a busy train line, but it’s pretty comfortable all the same.

After pitching our tent we headed to the IperCoop, a hyper-sized grocery, heck, everything, store. We wanted tofu or something vegan and proteiny to include in the Japanese curry we were making for dinner. After looking at 4,000 different kinds of cheese, we almost gave up.

The we found Valsoia breaded cutlets in the freezer   right next to boxes of vegan Cornettos! They don’t even have these in America. We bought them both. We’ll have two cornettos now and save the other two (softer and melted) for after dinner. This is the kind of thing you are allowed to do when you spend all day cycling.

If you are vegan in Italy, look for products labeled “vegetale”. In our experience, it means vegan. We have been excited to find vegan Nutella and pesto which we have been carrying around and enjoying excessively.

The weather has improved tremendously and we’re hopeful that by Saturday morning we’ll be in Croatia where the weather forecast is for above 20C. Fingers crossed.  

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