Distance: 72.3 km
Time: 2 hours 50 minutes
Average speed: 25.51 kph
Cumulative distance: 826.19 km
Cumulative time: 38 hours 33 minutes
Word of the day: ‘mele‘ (may-lay) – apples
With the benefit of hindsight, perhaps the Captain should have listened to the Stoker, who suggested we should take rain jackets with us when we left for our evening meal in Verona last night! While we very much enjoyed our meal in Piazzetta Navona, we couldn’t help noticing the rain growing in intensity throughout. As it turned out we walked most of the way back in a lull in the downpour, and it was really only in the last three hundred yards or so that we became thoroughly drenched.
Everything had dried by this morning, though, and after a swift cappuccino and cornetto at a nearby café we pedalled off into the inevitable morning traffic. It’s never much fun getting out of a city – the infrastructure (unless you live in Belgium or The Netherlands) favours the driver over the cyclist, and the drivers are significantly more impatient. So the first ten kilometres or so were to be endured, rather than to be enjoyed. We did spot Porta Nuova, whilst whizzing past!
Gradually, though, the traffic tailed off, and we managed to find quieter roads. Our speed increased, our shoulders relaxed, and we started to enjoy the day. We seem to be rather strong, now. The cumulative effect of all the cycling we’ve done so far is really starting to show, and, while we’ve not tackled many hills lately, our speed on the flat has surprised us.
Again we were cycling amongst arable crops. Today we added potatoes, asparagus and apples to the list of items we’ve seen growing by the roadside. There were apple orchards everywhere around the town of Zevio. Often, though, it’s still maize. The Po Valley is often described as the bread basket of Italy, but to us it seems more like a polenta pot.
Later on we started to see the Euganean hills rising from the valley floor. We’ve seen them before, from the treno notte between Paris and Venice. They are very striking, as they occupy the only high ground in the Po Valley, at least in this area.
The conical shapes of the hills hint at their volcanic origin. The Stoker, in particular, was very taken with the view, and I could hear her taking multiple videos of the view from the back of the tandem.
We stopped for a lunch – panini and gallons of cold water – at Poiana Maggiore, then tackled the last few kilometres to our destination, Este, which sits at the foot of the Euganean hills, at their southern extremity. What a gorgeous place though – from the window of our rented apartment we have a magnificent view of Castello Carrarese.
We wandered into the grounds to take a closer look:
Just around the corner is Este’s main piazza, surrounded by colonnades, which provide a cool place to walk on a scorching hot day – thirty-three degrees according to one illuminated sign.
After the huge crowds of visitors yesterday in Verona, it was very pleasant to be wandering the quiet streets of this delightful place.
We’ve now completed our first five hundred miles! Tomorrow we’re cycling up into the Euganean hills, so that we can check that our climbing legs still work after all of this cycling on the flat. We hope to have fine views over to the east, towards tomorrow’s destination: Chioggia. This will be our first and only exposure to the Adriatic Sea, before we turn southwards and back inland.
Here’s today’s track.