Central Italy North Greece

October 2012

Part 3: Spoleto - Pesaro

I have good reasons to wake early. Leaving a mediocre hotel behind is a good one but riding South for about an hour under nice weather to meet a good friend of mine at Spoleto is an even better. The ride is nothing special but I can't complain under this rather biker friendly October sun.

Here's my bike and me (as usual behind the camera) waiting at this lovely town of Umbria:

While waiting there for Elisa during my very first minutes in Spoleto I already understand why this beautiful town is an Unesco site. Umbrian beauty at its best. And I haven't seen much at all yet! Elisa's house is not far from there but she's kind enough to meet me at a more easy spot than her cramped street. Soon I'm hugged by the exceptional hospitality of hers and her mother's. And I must say that her lovely house has a lovely garden too:

Elisa knows what triggered my trip and the troubled situation I'm in which makes her even more accommodative and we soon walk around her birthplace where I couldn't have a better guide than her. As we walk into Piazza del Mercato I capture the local "Orologio":

At a blink of my eyes Elisa later manages this funny me at Spoleto's Cethedral:

This Cathedral is among Spoleto's attractions and definitely deserves a picture without me:

We continue walking uphill to the East side of the town. The top of the Catedral's tower with the blue sky and the white clouds make a contrast with the hill's green that's too good to miss:

At the stop of the local cable car the hill offers me a great overview of Spoleto and the surrounding area:

Walking further East outside the town's web "Ponte delle Torri" bridges the gap between beautiful and beautiful:

Not bad for a first time walk thanks to Elisa and I later thank her with a nice lunch at one of the numerous ultra cute little restaurants of Spoleto. I already feel I could spend the rest of my life walking around this Umbrian gem.

Next day Elisa takes me again around this lovely area East of the town and again that bridge delivers:

On the top of the hill which offered me that great overview yesterday is the local castle "Rocca Albornoziana":

We continue walking East South through the lovely oak trees of Monteluco up to "Santuario di S. Franscesco". By Elisa's outfit in the following picture you can imagine what a beautiful October day it is:

Monteluco is such a joy to hike. Look how big and old some of those trees are:

I put myself for size comparison - here's without:

Hills tend to come with a view. Monteluco is no exception:

Behind my troubled head the view is fantastic:

On our way walking back I take one more shot of Rocca Albornoziana:

In the afternoon Elisa invites me to a grill party at a friend's house not far from Spoleto. Elisa drives me in her car and by the noise of her rear right wheel I soon go without second though "Your rear right wheel needs bearings". Elisa:" What is a bearing?" I'm more than happy if I can be with an Italian speaking good English as Elisa does, can definitely tolerate the absence of knowledge about bearings. We leave the tarmac and take a gravel road in the woods, a route that soon starts questioning the integrity of her car but fortunately it makes it in one piece and so do we. Her friend's house is dipped in green:

Her friend and host of the grill party is a retired dancer with enough stories to tell for a couple of encyclopedias. Pictures of her dancing days make the already interesting house of hers even more attractive. The sun goes down, all guests are present and so are their yummy presents - time to light up some fire. Weather is nice but any October night in the woods can feel chilly:

There's several good reasons I travel but I could do it for the food only. Especially if that's Italian and homemade:

And these are just the starters. Sorry but I later became too busy consuming the rest of the goodies to picture them. What a lovely night spent with Elisa's cool friends.

Next day it's time for me to leave Spoleto behind. Definitely with a heavy heart for all reasons possible. I give Elisa's mum my homemade fig jam super thank her and obviously her daughter and ride my bike East as my Italian time is running out. Next stop:


Before I catch the ferry from Ancona to Greece the next day an overnight at the birthplace of Valentino Rossi is a great chance to meet my friend Steve there who is also willing to offer me shelter. In the afternoon we meet with the rest of the local biker "gang". I've already met some of those guys last year in a previous trip of mine and we all go riding to Pesaro's most famous and scenic route: The SP44 North West of the city. It's a winding coastal road that climbs Monte San Bartolo with countless view points. Have a bite:

Trying to keep up with the local copies of Velentino is definitely a challenge. These guys drive like tomorrow is the end of the world. Actually driving like that can make tomorrow the end of your world anyway. We have a blast together and we end up at the bar of one of the guys where I try several Grapas.

Steve's a great host as usual but next day I have to leave his hospitality behind to take the ferry back to Greece. My sick father's waiting for me plus I have plans to meet up with my good Aussie biker friends at North Greece since they'll be deviating their bike trip in order to meet me on their way from Montenegro to Romania.

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