Day 24: Another Day of Ride in Rain; From LagoDi Braciano (Lake Braciano)to Rome in Italy
May 23, 2012; Distance covered today: 35 Km; Total: 1445 Km
It rained as hard as ever all night. Again, I packed everything in tent—only tent and mattress remained. I waited for the rain to give me a short break; then, I packed the tent. I left the campground at about 10 am in full rain gear. I was happy to be reaching to a milestone of my trip—Rome. I kept riding and riding in rain, for about 40 km. the last part of the ride was downhill, so I was flying. But when I got to the suburbs of Rome, it got really complicated. Fast passing cars, knitting highways and roads, and rain made it really difficult to find my way. There was no one around to give me direction either. I sought help from GPS and let it lead me to Tiber, a little town in the suburbs of Rome, where the campground was located. The GPS did a very good job and led me through all the roads and roundabouts.
I checked in Tiber Campground when the rain would not even give me a moment to set up my tent. Besides, I couldn’t find a single spot on which to pitch up my tent. The whole campground was full of water. If I wanted to set up my tent, I would have to do it on “water”. I found a very small spot in the back of the campground. By the way! This campground is huge. It is a town for itself. It’s got a shuttle bus for the train station every half hour! So when I say I only managed to find one, only one, spot where I could pitch up my tent, you should imagine what I mean—the whole campground was flooded.
Anyways, I took a shower and took the shuttle bus to the train station at 4:30 pm. My first encounter of the train in Italy had not been very good last week, and this time, I was shocked to see how dirty and old this train, IN ROME, was. The surface of the train was as oily and dirty.
|Dirty Od Trains|
The first thing that caught my eye in Rome was the presence of police. They were everywhere, and they wanted to be seen and noticed. They were everywhere. For an outsider, it looked like something is going to happen; maybe a demonstration or an important figure was going to visit Rome. Or maybe there was an important international event, like G20, was going to be held. This presence made me a little worried. If people are behaving because of the police, what is going to happen if in a corner or in a minute there were no police?
The second thing when I stepped on the town center streets were the number of bikini shops on both sides of the street. I thought it would be a good business to use a very small amount of fabric and sell it for a high price. Really… I couldn’t find any other explanation. Why so many?!
By the time I got to interesting places, it was too late and they were closing, but I got a chance to walk around some historical places. They were amazing. I wish I knew more about them.
At about 10 pm, I got back to the campground. The rain had stopped finally. I am ready to get some sleep after two rainy night and days.
I walked to the Vatican Palace where a lady asked me, “Excuse me… Can you take a picture of us?” meaning her husband. “Are you Persian?” I asked. “Yes, but how did you know?”, she exclaimed. “I am a teacher of English and familiar with the accents”, I replied. Then we talked in Persian. Soheil and Neda were from Canada! How nice it was to see them and talk to them. I took their pictures, they took mine, and we wished the best for one another and left. Again… it feels really great to see Iranians or Canadians when you are not at home.
|The Iranian Couple Took my Picture|
|Never did I see these beggars move. They would stay in this position for ... I don't know.|
In Vatican, there was a monthly assembly, so there were many people in front of the palace listening to a priest. Then I went to the center again and wished Majid, my buddy, who tried to meet me in Rome, were there with me. It is not very fun to explore a Mecca of history, Rome, by myself.
I am not sure what I am going to do tomorrow. I have to look at the maps and see how I can bypass the city and the crazy drivers in Rome and the suburbs. I am very much behind my schedule because I did not bike close to the coast line in Italy and France. I was riding in land, in the hilly lands. Besides, I was zigzagging a little bit to get to some interesting towns. I might see the possibility of taking a train to Naples and then to Pompey because I was warned of the crime and the crazy traffic there. And above all, I have to get out of Italy by the end of May or I will be really late for the rest of the trip. You might call it cheating, but you should realize that it is not fun to ride in and out of big cities—dangerous, boring, polluted, time consuming.