October 2010 Italy Switzerland Austria Germany

Part 5: Tirol - Padova

It's one of the first days of November that finds me waking up East of Innsbruck on a very cloudy day that can rain anytime soon. If I was a local I might have stayed in but since I have Salzburg less than 200km away from me I decide to take the ride (though the less than 200km is actually less than 400km both ways with good chances to spend them under rain). It's misty, cold and wet with all three getting worse as I get closer to the city being my main enemies apart from the heavy traffic. The castle is the first thing that catches my eye as I enter the city:

However, the conditions are far from what I would prefer for a bit of tour around so instead I just take a few images at Krauthugel park:

On my way back West I make a stop at the Bavarian part of B21 attracted by the artificial lake of Saalachsee. The road's guardrail acting as a tripod gives me a chance for one of my rare selfies,

and I take the gravel road by the lake for some more:

It's too misty for any image to have any relation with clarity:

Looking East is a little better though:

A good chance for my iron horse's selfie too:

Next day my time at the Tirol region of Austria is over. Next stop is Padova. I decide to overnight there as it is in the middle of my way to Ancona and also I would finally have the chance to walk the city this time which is the birthplace of my father’s ancestors. Keep in mind if you travel around at this time of the year that chestnut trees might change your plans a lot. How? Same as they do to me as I ride South trying to leave Austria behind:

I ask a few drivers queuing behind me how long this usually takes to clear the road but their replies vary. Since it's obviously not a few minutes job I take take advantage of this obligatory pit stop and had a DIY lunch consuming some of my supplies. Besides, the map doesn't give me any attractive alternatives unless I do the round of the world. Also a good chance to lube the chain of my bike. Bummer as this eats the time available I wanted to have for Padova but fortunately it takes less than I expected for the road workers to cut the tree with the chainsaw and remove it with a tractor. The road is open and traffic free for me to enjoy this nice route.

Early afternoon I arrive at Padova where my friend Alexandra waits to show me around and I go straight to the hotel she suggested to me as one of the cheapest options around. The place is aptly named "Albergo Piccolo Vienna", considering the middle word as the most appropriate one for it. Piccolo my all means including the service quality and the condition of the whole place which looks and feels like a semi run down time machine. Today it is closed for good and the current Google image of it's relics says a lot:

Back to my trip again, I ask the owner to park my bike in the yard you see above and fortunately he agrees without much argument. I say that cause he is like the least friendly and talkative old guy you can imagine and his first words to me is telling me to only use one of the two beds of my room.

I leave this shitty place to meet my beautiful (in and out) friend Alexandra hopefully before the sun goes down. I like walking around the old backstreets of the city with the strong medieval character:

Padova might not be the first city that comes to most people's mind while thinking Italy but it's definitely among the most interesting ones. It's got the second oldest University of Italy (after Bologna) where Galileo and Torricelli used to teach. The river that crosses Padova often follows narrow routes in between the houses and offers lots of very scenic images with countless bridges varying in sizes.

I meet Alexandra a bit late when it's almost dark so we rush to see as many things as possible. Basilica del Carmine is among the first ones:

A few steps away Ponte Molino is among the main bridges of the old city and a good chance for images over the water:

I like it as we walk by all those countless medieval arches:

But also love how the city reflects on the water:

Look how the "HOTEL" reflects on the water at Ponte Molino a few minutes later as the sun is down for good now:

Palazzo della Ragione is too impressive to pass:

But so does the Torre Dell'Orologio:

I am lucky enough to discover all these escorted by Alexandra's soft voice in perfect English accent (though she's Croatian), explanatory as it gets about every point of interest around Padova. Before we enter a local bar I spot this amazing old beauty parked outside which unfortunately in the absence of proper photography gear it looks like a distorted piece of old James Bond movie:

After a couple of drinks and bites on the local deliciousness we continue walking in the dark and deserted streets of Padova which brings us to the Basilica di Sant Antonio:

And later to Prato della Valle, Padova's emblematic square which is among the largest ones in Europe, hosting more than 70 statues of historic residents of the city surrounded by water. By the side of one of them Alexandra takes this picture of me:

This is an absolute must if you ever visit the city and I definitely have to revisit this in daylight.

Next morning I wake up early enough to leave Padova for Ancona and to my surprise the whole city is covered in dense mist while everything is soaked in water though it hasn't rained at all. Quite rare scene for me used in Athens's weather as the visibility has dropped to a few meters only. I struggle with the city's morning traffic and leave Padova behind riding South East. I will never forget the moments I spent on the E55 riding in the mist over Laguna Veneta. Those several kms till I made it to the other side having water left and right while cars are visible only when they are a few meters near are among the most weird moments of my riding career. Imagine it like riding in the middle of nowhere inside a cloud. It goes like this for half of my trip up to Ancona and makes me wonder how often this happens around there. As I enter the ferry I contact Alexandra who says "Oh, it's almost like that for the next months"...

Happy that where I stay is not even close to this misery I make myself comfortable lying on one of the deck's benches:

For one more time a totally flat Adriatic sea offers a nice trip till I reach mama Hellas:

As I go to the garage on arrival to pick my bike I am impressed of the care taker worker who put this black rag on my saddle to prevent wear from the rope. He must be either a biker of a really nice guy:

See you on the next one!