Windy Slog to a Closed Campground

By Stephen Ewashkiw | April 7, 2013

We woke to another overcast and cold morning – our weather app told us it felt like 6C but I think it felt more like the North Pole. The wind was blowing across our campsite so hard our tent poles were bending. We layered up with just about every single piece of clothing we brought (two pairs of socks, cycling tights and our warm slacks, toques, gloves, and scarves), bid a quick arrivederchi to Bruce and Jan, and headed out into the misty morning.

We had found a campground outside Gubbio, another medieval town only 35 km ride away and decided we would head there early, leaving plenty of time to wander around Gubbio and make a camp-side dinner.

For most of the ride we wound along the river’s edge, which usually means little elevation change – something you only think about when you switch from car-touring to bike-touring. The sun broke through just as we stopped at a cafe in Umbertide for a quick coffee and pastry. The cafe was bustling with Italians, Germans, us, and an American with his dog. Just before the church bells rang, the place emptied of all Italians, leaving only the heathen foreigners to finish our coffee.

Umbertide is a pleasant little town, with a friendly atmosphere. I can see why so many expats decide to stay here.

train bridge gubbio italy

A pretty train bridge.

The sun allowed us to shed a layer of clothing, but the wind kept blowing, making the ride quite slow and cold. The road was a gentle uphill, but with the headwind it felt as steep as any ride we’ve done so far. Several times my bike came to a virtual standstill and I had to pedal hard to get up to 12 km/h on a steep downhill because the wind was trying to push me back up.

We didn’t arrive in Gubbio until well after I had expected. That’s why we keep our plans flexible   to avoid stressing out. After picking up ingredients for tonight’s dinner at a grocery store that was open all day on Sunday (!!) and stopping for a much-needed plate of pasta, we coasted into the flat farmland near the town to find the campground.

pasta with zucchine and tartufo

Zucchine e tartufo. Yum.

When we arrived the campground driveway was roped off and the big metal gates were shut. The place looked deserted, but there was a sign declaring it “aperto” and a number to call if no one was around. I called but was told they were closed with no further explanation. Presumably it’s because we are the only tourists in the country due to the unseasonably cold weather.

Using our handy agriturismo app on the iPhone (thank goodness for unlimited data!), we found an agritourism B&B a few kilometres away. Now we’re sitting in a farmhouse we have all to ourselves, relieved that we’ll be cooking inside tonight instead of out in the winter-like weather.


We can see the snow on the Apenines from our window, and we are busy planning a route that hopefully won’t take us anywhere near those frosty peaks.  

Did you like this post? Please share it!


  1. Comment by Michelle

    Michelle April 8, 2013 at 10:28 am

    You are sorely missed at Urth!!! We’ll be sending sunshine-y thoughts your way…thanks for sharing all your adventures. (And thanks thanks thanks for the peniers!). I’ve been talking to Stephen’s Urth students, and we all decided that to make up for our missing you, you two must be filled with BLISS! Hope you’re feeling the love from afar. Those pasta pictures are so good and it all looks so beautiful.

    • Comment by Stephen

      Stephen April 10, 2013 at 3:37 am

      Tweet tweet says my bird call. Thinking of you often – the bird call is in my pocket always, just in case. I actually used in in the Rome airport to get Jane’s attention and it totally worked. xx

Comments are closed.

Go top
Share via