Central Italy North Greece

October 2012

Part 1: From Greece to Italy

On a year that was anything but uneventful for me (if event equals drama) I manage to grab a few days of break in October in search of some peace of mind. In hard times like these a good companion to trust is priceless and mine is...actually this:

Fully loaded, ready to take me up to the port of Patra to catch the ferry to Italy 2 days before September is history. As I arrive at the port and head to the ferry I see myriads of people about to enter obliging me to slalom in an effort to catch a good spot on the deck. Turns out that this trip is an exception to this off season period because of Slovenians returning back home after their graduation's holidays. No space for peace of mind on a deck like this:

The funny thing though is that my moody situation attracted some low key girls of this vast group who found my bench as a shelter from this sea of drunk guys. We have an interesting chat during which they share some of their whiskey and their fantastic Slovenian salami.

With so much alcohol flowing around it doesn't take long till every single one around is dropped dead:

It's a new day, we're in Italian water and one more odyssey begins for me though Ithaki is long past behind me and offered me a great sunset view from the deck yesterday:

After this weird sea trip I leave the ferry behind at Ancona on September's last afternoon and start riding West having absolutely no idea at all about my overnight. As it gets dark and potentially rainy I decide to search for shelter at Fabriano. It's off season at a non touristic area with not so many people around and I don't see any options so I ask a family in a car and they point me the closest hotel. In the entire hotel the only person I find is the owner's daughter who speaks less English words than I used to when I was half her age (and half of them because they're same as their Italian equivalent). She's more than happy to hear that I plan to stay for 4 days in their otherwise empty hotel. I am definitely less than happy to find out that their wifi signal can't make it to my room meaning that I will have to waste more of my precious time next day (too tired now) trying to figure it out with that far from English speaking daughter. Before I drop dead on my bed I also find out that the old Italian socket on the wall is not a fit for my laptop's charger but that I can fix it with the tools from my bike (yes, I disassembled the wall socket. Finally, Time for some sleep.

Next day is a very pretty one weather wise but breakfast at the hotel is the second worst I ever had and probably ever will in Italy (South Italy gave me the unbeatable worst ever). Everything feels and is the cheapest industrial barely edible shit possible. I explain the daughter my internet issues and she says she will call a "tecnico". I leave the place hoping she actually will and go to my most favourite place in the world: the saddle of my bike.

Time to ride!

The first km leaving Fabriano behind heading West are nice and I really enjoy my time riding on a road like this:

The on board images like the above are blurry but give you an idea. Alternatively you can watch the clip from that part below with music written & played by me substituting the wind noise:

I continue West North up to Gubbio following the suggestions of friends of mine who had been before. A very historic town that worth spending more time if you have more in your hands than me so I take a shot with Palazzo dei Consoli in the background before I leave:

I drive through the narrow backstreets of Gubbio and then take the SR298 North East hoping for a scenic mountainous route. Yes, it delivered:

Here's some images taken onboard (hence blurry) from this route around Scheggia:

The SS360 is next to enrich my eyes with the beauty of Monte Cucco as I head East this time:

Enjoy the ride:

I'd be the last to complain riding winding roads around the mountains hence no regrets on SS360 which stays scenic on my way to Isola Fossara:

6km after that village I still wonder looking at the sign how they named a place like this (Isola) up in the mountains. Italian humour?

Well, with nice routes waiting for me ahead I can't bother less about it:

Here's a few more onboard as I finish the loop around the mountains on SP14 to make my way back to Fabriano:

Since I am back to the hotel by noon I decide to walk around the town and see how it looks like. I smile on the fact that I share the same first name with a local writer of the 19th century:

The park of this little town is named after Regina Margherita (daughter of the Duke of Genova, died in 1925) which also hosts this monument:

Piazza del Comune is where the medieval heart of Fabriano beats with Palazzo Del PodestĂ  and Fontana Sturinalto in its front:

All nice till you have to park your car - this might be kinda cramped:

A full day riding and walking comes to an end and I head back to the hotel for some rest.

Click below to continue: