Wednesday, 23 May 2012

From Barcelona to Tehran: Day 22

Day 22: Italy the Hilly; From Montalcino to Lago de Bolsena (Lake Bolsena) in Italy

May 21, 2012; Distance covered today: 108 Km; Total: 1308 Km

If I want to choose the most beautiful part of my trip so far, I would definitely say the part I covered today. I was riding thought forests and hills all day. I had to climb many hills, even close to 1000 meters high, but wasn’t the scenery gorgeous?! How fantastic it was to ride in quiet roads with almost no passing cars, and just listen to the birds songs. 

I woke up at 5 am and left without having breakfast. After I rode the three km to get to the main road, I started a long sharp downhill. Whatever altitude I had gained yesterday (605 m) I was coasting down this morning. My top speed reached 59 Km/h. Very soon I was at the bottom of a high hill, and again I had to gain the altitude I had lost. This gaining and losing were repeated all day, except for the late afternoon, close to the lake, where I mainly lost altitude. 

At about 3 o’clock, it started to rain. It was Sunday afternoon, so I couldn’t possibly find anything to cook for the night. I stopped at a farmer’s stand to get some vegetables. He was very friendly. I asked him if he knows of a campground around there. I asked, “camping here?” He shouted to his friend, “Hey Marco, Campo blahblahblah”? (I didn’t get the rest). Marco, came to me and pointed at three corners of the road and said, “Campo, campo, campo.” I think he meant I could camp anywhere I wanted. It was very funny.  He could not help me. Then when I bought the veggies, he came back and gave me direction to “Campo Morino” which was around the lake. 

Something funny that happened a couple of times in Italy reminds me of an old joke: A guy is drowning in the ocean, but he is lucky to see a passing ship. He shouts in Persian, “oon tanaab o bendaz man byam bala”., which means, “Throw me the rope so I could get on board”. The personnel of the ship didn’t understand what he was talking about so the poor guy repeated himself many times. Finally, he said, “Can you speak English?” The people on the ship shouted back, “Yes”. And the guy shouted in Persian, “Khob baba oon tanaab ro bendaz man byam bala”, which means, “so throw me the rope so I could come on board”.  

 Now…. Today, for example, when a woman who was waiting for the bus saw me riding the bike in the rain on a busy main road, stopped me and said something in Italian. I thing she meant that I should use a side street through small towns to Rome. When I said, “No Italiano”, she asked, “English?”. I said, “Yes”. “OK”, she said. Then she repeated the same sentence she said earlier in Italian with no difference in tone or speed! This kind of conversation as happened many times in Italy. 

Before getting to where Campo Morino was supposed to be, I saw a sign to another camp, so I went to check that out. It was raining really hard  by then. I was all wet. I found the campground, but it was a very bad one. I couldn’t find the owner, there was only one camper there, and the washroom was locked! I didn’t have a choice. I had to stay there. It was getting late and the rain was relentless. The only camper gave me his hey to the washroom and asked me to bring it back when I am finished. I was wondering why people lock the washroom. What is valuable there?

Anyhow, after the shower, I found the owner and wanted to pay him. He asked for 15 Euros! I said 10, he said 12. I didn’t have a choice, so I paid him 12 and got a key to the washroom.
It is raining like crazy now. I have to get out of this place tomorrow even if it pours tomorrow. 

Reminded me of Kandovan in Iran

Nice Cottage

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