[ blog » 2021 » 07_Tour_Italy ]d14: Gargano ( by Philipp Gesang, location: Torre Mileto)

Una buona pedalata

The new air mattress proved a great purchase, I slept through the night almost nine hours despite the noisy "animation" at the campsite bar. In the morning the legs didn't feel half as rested though. Looks like yesterday might have been too much to recover from. I'm not at all surprised as I've narrowed down my recoverable volume pretty well to around 130 km per day at around 1000 m elevation gain. Which I had exceeded on both counts.

Prescient as a I am I had scheduled a shorter day for today anyways. As far as raw distance is concerned I didn't get very far at all as I followed the Mandelbrotesque coastline of the Gargano peninsula. Which is pretty much a series of densely packed, steep climbs and descents over the cliffs of the Adriatic. For the steep effort one is rewarded with an incredible view over the limestone rocks and the sea. The combination of geology and vegetation is reminiscent of the garrigue of South France, just with pines instead of oaks.

103 km of distance traveled, I wonder what the elevation gain was from those incessant hills.

Many Meetings

The east coast of Italy appears to be favored by cycle tourists. After going for almost a week without seeing any others today I encountered almost ten of them. One, a fit retired guy from Switzerland, is on his mission to ride the entire coastline of Italy down in the east and back up again in the west. What an amazing way to spend one's retirement.

Just a few kilometers later I had an improvised meetup on the roadside of a descent with a Swiss-Italian couple from Zurich who are heading south. We were exchanging route plans and campsite facts when another guy, an Italian with a heavy trailer setup, was pushing his bike up the climb. Later I sighted more tourers in Vieste but unfortunately it wasn't convenient to stop and have a chat because of the traffic.

The Beach, what's the point anyways?

After I had mastered the hard part of the Gargano road I still had some time to kill so I decided that after riding along the beach all day I should finally try the water myself. I can't say I'm a fan. It starts with the problem of locating a free stretch of beach that isn't a garbage dump or a cliff. That took me a while but I did manage to find a strip of sand in between two beach bars.

Then there's the sand. It's burning hot and it really does get everywhere! And it's sticky too so after a short bathing experience you spend minutes removing grains from your stuff and from yourself too. Sand in the socks and shoes could cause abrasions that would ruin my trip so I thoroughly cleaned everything. What's more, moving the bike over the beach doesn't just require physical effort, one has to be extra careful not to accidentally dip the drivetrain in the sand below. After this experience I'm as baffled as before as to what attracts people to beaches in the first place. It's not just that there's nothing to do at all, you also have to deal with the awfulness that it sand.


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