[ blog » 2021 » 07_Tour_Italy ]d15: The Adriatic Coast (by Philipp Gesang, location: Villafranca al Mare)

Flat, long, hot -- today's ride in a nutshell. Leaving Puglia I passed through Molise (yes, it exists!) to reach Abruzzo. A whole day of tracking the coastline just above the "ankle" of the Italian boot. Sleep was a bit lacking this night. The nearby beach had a live entertainment program that tortured the otherwise quiet corner with forced cheerful impressions of popular songs. The muzak rendition of the drinking song from La Traviata made me cringe in my tent, I can't remember the last time I felt as embarrassed on behalf of someone else.

My impression that the Adriatic coast is more popular with bike tourers than the Tyrrhenian was confirmed once more. I encountered several who all were heading south. Mostly Italians and Germans today, at least the ones I chatted up. I checked my travel plans for tomorrow with an Italian guy on, Maurizio, who travels on a very light, very stylish Cinelli steed. All the roads should be accessible according to him, so that's a relief. Two German guys actually made it down here all the way from Kassel in just ten days. Impressive, but they were complaining that they didn't enjoy much of it. No surprise, they would even skip the Gargano tomorrow so as to continue faster. How boring. I vastly prefer to optimize for enjoyment over distance so I ended up making a long detour to even reach that hilly peninsula. I wouldn't trade those steep, taxing climbs through the karstified coast for more kilometers traveled.

The part until Termoli was rather bleak agricultural countryside with the odd wild dog observing me from the undergrowth. A herd of buffalos of mozzarella fame was grazing in one field. Also whores, dozens of them. The first two of them I thought to be hitchhikers until it dawned on me that these women were waiting for customers. What a work ethic, standing out there all day exposed to the sun in the 35 degrees heat. They greeted nicely and some even performed hilarious dance moves. Does that routine actually work on men?

About three people I talked to were recommending the new stretch of cycle path that starts at Porto di Fossacesia. It is not at all obvious how to reach it from the main road but I managed to find a well hidden access ramp. The route was constructed on an old railway dam on the coast. It seems to be decently made, of course with painted tarmac so not luxury grade, but decent. Judging from the people that were using it it mainly serves to link a bunch of beaches together so it's not surprising the connections to the main road are scarce. Traveling on that cycle route I reached Ortona very efficiently. Nice not having to ride in heavy traffic for a change.

The heat was crushing all day despite a permanent cloud cover. Once or twice the sun came out for a few minutes but apart from that it always looked like a thunderstorm was about to unleash torrents of rain. A hot headwind blowing from the north indicated that I was heading right into a high pressure field. Expecting it to rain tonight, let's hope the sky will be clear again in the morning.

The campsite charges an arm and a leg, seriously 20 euros for a pitch, that's Swiss prices. At least I get unlimited warm showers and, apparently, there's wifi! I might get around to uploading some of these blog posts later today.


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