A Travellerspoint blog

September 2009

Italy - First Leg

I spent 10 days in Rome and on my bicycle in the region on of Umbria

sunny 90 °F
View A Backpack, A Bicycle, And a Bonderman Grant to Travel the World on dericvito's travel map.

The woman on the opposite side of the glass appeared horrified so I can only imagine the look on my face as I stumbled along the platform pounding the train door and pulling at the handle to as it pulled away form Termini station in Rome. She had been so kind in making room for my luggage. I had stepped out for a moment to authorize my ticket when the doors shut abruptly. Left inside was my bicycle and most of my gear. I was attempting to take a four day bicycle trip in the region of Umbria. The man in the golf cart wearing the national train logo looked as helpless as I did. He took me in his cart and drove me to customer service.

After three days in Rome I was not comfortable or ready to travel. Everything was a struggle. Italian was not as close to Portuguese as I had imagined, Rome was packed with tourists, and the city streets were soaking in and releasing oppressing heat. Could I stand eight months of this?
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I took the good word of customer service that if I jumped on the next train my bags would be pulled off and waiting in the town of Foligno. Indeed they were. While not entirely the end of my misadventures (I still managed to get off at the wrong station in Perguia) I let go of any stress the moment my bags left me and decided I would accept what came on this trip.
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I had a fantastic four day bicycle tour from Perguia, made famous recently by Amanda Knox, stopping in Spoleto, a historic hill city, and Norcia in a mountainous national park. I traveled about 265km, 105km on the first day, gaining something like 3,000 meters, carrying about 35lbs of gear over three days.

I spent my evenings walking through the narrow allies, mingling with Italian tourists, eating pizza. During the days I rode hard, up and down the hills and mountains feasting on paninos, fat cut meaty sandwiches which bled into the brown paper bags in which they were delivered. Arriving in Spoleto I was chased by a thunderstorm, only to have it catch up and ruin my plan to camp for the evening. The next night I took my chances heading over the mountain to Norcia and wild camped half way up the mountain above the road after the sun began to set and I could bike no further. I summited the next day and returned to catch the train back to Rome.
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Back in Rome I feel refreshed and prepared for this journey. I've had a great time visiting with my friend Meena, visiting a few sites, eating plenty tasty gelato and pasta, drinking from the public fountains, and mixing with the scooters, buses and cars on my bicycle in the traffic of Rome. Today we even visited the Pope, which felt more like a world cup game then a spiritual experience check on the marching band in the video:

Next stop is Beirut!

Photo Gallery: https://www.travellerspoint.com/gallery/users/dericvito/countries/Italy/

Itinerary: https://www.travellerspoint.com/member_map.cfm?itinid=195707&tripid=195707

Posted by dericvito 00:17 Archived in Italy Comments (1)

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