For Australian Cyclists travelling and touring OS
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We've now reached and seen Taormina with Etna erupting, after the Aeolian Islands, Naples, Pompeii, Sorrento, Amalfi Coast, Salerno and Roma. Loving every minute of it
Only just over 250kms by bike so far though. Lots of trains and ferries to get us down south for the sun, then we begin island-hopping northwards.
Riding bikes in traffic - what seems dangerous is usually safe; what seems safe is often more dangerous.
Very jealous. Spent 9 days on Sicily last September but without bike... So really itching to get back one day with bike and do some riding on Mt Etna!
Looking forward to checking back for more updates.
Now enjoying Ragusa's churches.....
and cafes...... both of which are plentiful and very impressive
Sampling the marvellous Italian cuisine
The Citta de Ragusa is the location where all of the Inspector Montalban series on SBS was filmed . An outstanding movie setting really, such iconic baroque town streets and stepped lanes.
Indeed it is the Duomo of San Giorgio.
We had some rain back in Lipari for a day or so, nothing but fine and generally sunny weather since. Today was 27C at 11am, touching 32c yesterday I reckon. We have been through Gela and are now in Agrigento after a big day's riding. Tomorrow we tour the temples, then on towards Palermo by a yet to be defined route, then Sardinia
Now in Genoa, having toured through the west of Sicily, then the SE and NW of Sardegna, followed by the whole spectacular west coast of Corsica. We got to ride most of stage 3 of this year's Tour de France and bought ourselves TdF collectible 100th anniversary t-shirts in Calvi.
Top destinations so far: Ragusa Ibla, the temples at Segesta, Monreale's spectacular cathedral, Cefalu's medieval streets, the ride from Bosa to Alghero, Alghero, religious procession in Sassari, Castelsardo, Bonifacio's cliffs, the Casa di Roccapina, le Calanches, Porto (everything about it), Calvi's citadel, and the coast at Ile Rousse. Genoa's palazzos have been pretty special as well.
Pictures will come, but there will need to be a lengthy process of selection and I need a faster upload rate than I currently have. The photo folders are currently bulging with something around 3,000 photos so far
Just a couple of days ago when visiting the Museo Galileo in Florence we found they had a special exhibit that had just started 2 days before of the history of the bicycle and working bicycles. Great examples of early 20th century tradesman's bikes - the cooper's bike, the knife-sharpener's, the dairyman's, the artist's, the photographer's and more. Never knew that people in the past had their mattresses re-stuffed every winter and summer, and that wool-carders went about by bike to provide the service.
Lots and LOTS of bikes being ridden, simply for transport in Pisa, in Lucca and in Florence.
Forgot to mention - been back two weeks now. All seems so far away now, but mind-images were resurrected watching the TdF.
We had 12 weeks touring Italy and Corsica. We spent 7 days on the Amalfi Coast & Pompeii, 29 days in the Aeolian Islands & Sicily, 12 in Sardinia, 18 in Corsica, 23 days in Liguria & Tuscany and 6 days in Rome. Altogether we cycled something over 3,000kms - I don't know exactly how many as my cycle-computer wheel sensor battery ran out then the sensor would not reset. We saw many ancient towns with their centro storicos, did a prolonged study of Italian cathedrals, saw many solar power farms and windfarms, drank innumerable cups of caffe, enjoyed delicious gelatis, walked the Pirates Steps of Bonifacio, rolled on and off numerous navis (ferries), endured the dubious camping grounds and enjoyed some wonderful hotel rooms, rode the route of Stage 3 of the Tour de France, had cold days, some very windy days and then rode through the heat in Tuscany, enjoyed being honked at (courteously) by the marvellous Italian drivers, watched the lizards run across the roads ahead of us and saw dolphins & flying fish from the decks of ferries.
All in all it was a truly marvellous time, with so many experiences it'd almost fill a book. Over 3000 photos to go through now but I shall soon post some of them on here.
Some photos of the earlier part of our tour - Rome, the Amalfi Coast, Pompeii, Aeolian Islands and Sicily.
Our hotel in Roma. Right close to Termine Station
Roman sculpture. Artworks are everywhere in the streets and piazzas
Castel San Angelo - the Pope's castle
View of the Tiber
At the Colosseum
Naples city gate
Salerno's VERY narrow streets in the centro storico
Riding the Amalfi Coast
Ten tunnels in one morning
Garden at Villa Ruffolo, Ravello
An amzing variety of ceramics on sale in roadside stores
View over Positano
Narrow squeeze for traffic
Departing the campground in Sorrento
Traffic jam in Castellammare, 5.00pm.
Cathedral in the citadel at Lipari
Fumerole on Stromboli
Climbing the crater on Vulcano
Lots of solar farms on Sicily
Novara di Sicilia - view from our hotel room
Getting close to the crest of the range ~1100m
Church in a boulder
Views of Etna (in eruption) and the coast from Taormina
View from Castelmola (300m above Taormina)
In Catania's main piazza
Market scenes in Catania
Roman amphitheatre in the centre of town
Piazza Duomo, Siracusa
Catacombs of St George, Siracusa
Cobbled streets in town at Siracusa
The duomo, Ragusa. The city where Inspector Montalban is filmed.
Old gents in the piazza, Gela
Solar power again - roof of a school at Gela
Sandy beach, almost as good as back home in Australia
A helpful gent in Licata
Greek temples at Agrigento
Another helpful local chap who got us out of a wrong-road spot of bother
The Turkish Steps
On a wild goose chase for a campground near Montalegro
Our hotel balcony, Montalegro
These lizards were everywhere
Beach by our campground at Eraclea Minoa
Santa Margherita di Belice
Massive artwork near the ruins of Gibelini Vecchio, a town destroyed by earthquake in 1968
Church at the new town - Nuova Gibelini
Roadside lunch stop
Temples at Segesta
Roman amphitheatre at Segesta
Nicholas and friend - two helpful gents in Alcamo
Coastal views on the road to Palermo
Track out to Capo Gallo, Mondello
Lunch view at Mondello
Spectacular cathedral mosaics at Monreale in the hills behind Palermo
Verdi concert rehearsal in the Teatro Massimo - this cost us just 1 Euro each !!
The bike shop district
Fish market in Palermo
Scalette in Cefalu
View from the mountain behind Cefalu
Farewell from Sicily, now for Sardinia
(More to come)
My bike is a Thorn Nomad 26" expedition tourer, with Rohloff Speedhub 14. I bought the frame from Thorn (SJSCycles) in UK, and bought the components of my choice from various on-line stores - mostly bke24 and SJS. This saved me $1000-1500 on the price of buying a complete bike.
My wife has her old 1993 Giant Sedona, but it has been converted over to Rohloff with a SON dynohub and top quality B&M lights. It's nicely set up for extended touring and she is very comfy on it.
Both bikes ran really well for the trip. We did something over 3000kms and had no mechanical issues. I had one slow leak, we had to re-lube the chains once partway through the trip, and my bike came home with the chain in need of tensioning. Otherwise they ran sweet and true.
Some more photos of the Tyrrhenian Sea islands - Sardegna and Corse (Sardinia and Corsica). Well, rather a lot really
Cagliari from the sea
In the citadel at night
The portico along the seafront
Flamingos in the Poetto wetlands
Coastal road to Villasimius
Pushing up a steep hill in Villasimius
Snake on the road (allegedly these are not poisonous)
Climbing the goges back towards Cagliari
Ancient nuraghe - a dwellng ~6000 years old
Street scenes at Bosa
Appropriate name - "House of the winds"
High coastal road to Alghero
Bikes were popular for tranpsort
Alghero harbour, view to Capo Caccia's cliffs
The sheltered bay at Cala Dragunara
Religious procession in Sassari
Sassari's narrow streets
View from the citadel, Castelsardo
Beach views with Corsica in sight
Fort at Santa Teresa Gallura
... Hello Corsica
Looking down on our ferry
Hotel Genovese balcony view
Escalier Roie d'Aragon
Walkway at the base of the cliffs
The cliffs of Bonifacio
Streets in Bonifacio, beside the cathedral
On the road on a very windy day
The 'lion' of Roccapina
Riding along the Val d'Orsolo
Views from our hotel room in Sartene
Streets in Sartene
Lovely beach at Portigliolo
View from the supermarket car-park at Porto Pollo
Near Serra di Ferro
Italian cyclists doing their own supported tour - today they were going to ride what would take us four days!!
A bit later, a French touring group
Bike parking in Ajaccio
Ajaccio streets - the TdF is soon to arrive
Napoleon's family home
View from Col S. Bastiano
Snow on the peaks
Riding towards Carghese
Climb towards Piana
Road throgh le Calanches
Boat cruise to le Calanches coast and Reserve Scandola
At Ghirolata - boat-only access
Amazing blue Mediterranean waters
Riding into Ota
Sunset view from Porto
West coast main road. Makes the Great Ocean Road look pale
The road continued like this for most of our 75kms this day
Views along the backroad through l'Argentaria
Cavi sunset from our hotel window
Spooky shop advertising!!
Fruit & veg shop trading at 11pm
Looking forward to the TdF
Calvi city view
Petanque players in the plaza in Ile Rousse
Ile Rousse lighthouse
In the Deserte Agriates
The climb across the range to Bastia
Our highest climb on Corsica, but there's lots of higher roads in the interior
At the summt
Welcoming the TdF
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