Friday, June 27, 2014

Day 20 - Pavia to Piacenza - 78km

After yesterday's horrible grind through the weather, we woke to fairly clear skies and no sound of rain thankfully. Our stay in the b&b was enjoyable, with a nice quiet room in a large house with a great courtyard. We couldn't find much open in town that looked good, with a lot of restaurants not opening till 8pm, too late for two tired cyclists. Luckily we got in a good lunch, so takeaway pizzas in the courtyard sufficed. Funnily we ordered one pizza but for some reason he made two, when he tried to charge us for two we protested that we only wanted and ordered one, so we got two for the price of one, which also turned into morning tea.

Mostly the scenery for the day
The signage is great, proper road signs easy to see
Happy to be back in sunshine
Not a great section past a quarry in soft sand

Back onto the trails today, we are still mostly in rice fields at the moment, but the scenery is slowing changing, with more prosperous villages. The trails were mostly good, either fast country roads, still with plenty of trucks unfortunately, and some gravel farm roads which are mostly empty.

Left over pizza, perfect jersey pocket snack

We came across quite a few walkers today on the trails, and we stopped to chat to a few. Most are just suprised to hear how far you can travel on bike each day, it must be hard at that point of the journey walking, as most are up to week 8 or more, with 4 or more weeks to go.

Rishi is over there on the right somewhere trying to follow me
This is the route apparently

Most of the trails were well marked but one particular section after miradolo terme, the track just seemed to end at the farmed area. With not much visible trails we hunted around the edge of the canal and found the bridge which happened to be the route.

Still getting used to Italy, we noticed people are a lot more reserved, with not many greeting us as we ride through their villages, whether you greet them first or not, compared to france were honestly every single person in the country areas made a point to yell out bonjour. Although we are now getting to what is obviously a more used section of the trails as the signage is a lot better, so maybe they just get so many ppl through its not a novelty like in france, one little village though, chingnolo po everyone was waving us through, with one older guy giving us the fist pump!

Huge villa in chingnolo po
Along the banks of the river Po
Excellent new trail leading into Orio Litta with little markers on the trail

There wasn't too much on offer for lunch during the route today, we came across a few places but hoped to eat in orio litta, along the way into town we saw noticeboards advertising an osteria which is like a wine bar that serves food, perfect. Following the signs, we arrive eventually so hungry with the smell of food in the air, to see it boarded up. Damnit. Riding up into the centre of town the only two options were two pizza places. A lady stopped to help us out thinking we were lost, we told her we just wanted food, and she confirmed the pizza joints were the only options, adding that one was better than the other. So lining up behind a group of school kids we order a pizza. 40mins later we get our pizza, turns out the school kids ordered 25pizzas!

After lunch we just had to navigate the river Po into Piacenza, this is where the walkers call ahead and a guy with a boat picks them up and they get dropped down stream, as the only bridge is about 20km downstream. You can take bikes on the boat, but it requires an appointment to take you, so we figured we would just ride the 20k. The local councils have actually built a great mostly paved cycle way the entire way weaving high up above the rice fields below. Although it did mean we were right up in the wind. It was actually a bit of a grind in the end, having the smooth surface tends to get you pushing harder to get it done.

New cycle trail from Orio Litta all the way to Piacenza

Arriving in town we easily found our accom for the next two nights, Domus San Martino, which is a b&b right in the old town that we found on it's a great place with a huge room and bathroom set around a nice courtyard with a communal lounge area. All very modern, great for relaxing.

Main square of Piacenza
Internal courtyard of the Palazzo Gotico
Main Street of Piacenza
People watching in the main square, bikes rule the city

We will see how we go tomorrow, we may just laze around here in piacenza or there is the option to jump on a train to Milan which is only 40mins away.



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