Day 13 Ivrea-Pavia 83m(132km)

Now in the heat of the Lombardy plains, where mosquitoes thrive and rice grows in abundance (the land of risottos?). Like the Fens, the roads are flat, straight and endless, but with a tail wind, progress is very brisk. Having to stop and rest during midday heat!

Italian tourist offices are a devil to find! In Vercelli, Mortara and Pavia, I struggled to find them. Not signposted (or very poorly signposted), and most people don’t even know if they exist in their own town. I asked a lady in a Town Hall office to use her stamp for my VF passport, and she flatly refused, saying she couldn’t! Not allowed she insisted! Oh well……. So I called at this Abbey on the way out of town, disturbing a priest during his siesta, and he gave me a glorious-looking stamp!

Cyclists’ fare The first time I’ve stopped for  a sit-down lunch during the day, and look what I had. Ignore the beer, that must have been someone else’s, but a good plate of pasta puts miles back into  the legs!

Plight in Pavia After a long day in the saddle, hot, tired and hungry, I struggled to find a bed in Pavia. But as so often happens, a small group took pity on me and offered to phone around for me, found a place at the station hotel, and one of them  guided me on his vespa all the way there. He obviously wasn’t a cyclist. He sped ahead expecting me to tuck in behind and pace him.

The land of castles. I understand this area was heavily protected by jealous rulers who built huge fortified castles, designed to intimidate. Just like this one.

And there are also several bridges that have BC dates, beautifully preserved and bedecked with flowers.They catch the eye as you pass by.



About Frank Burns

Looking for the extraordinary in the commonplace………taking the road less travelled……..striving for the ‘faculty of making happy chance discoveries’ in unremarkable circumstances. Click on the Personal Link below to visit my webpages.

Posted on September 10, 2010, in Canterbury-Rome 2000kms: a cyclist's tale and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. This has become my routine each morning: What has Frank been up to yesterday? keep up the blog when you can, it is great reading.

    • Thanks for reading these ramblings David! Once into Italy, getting internet access has been very tricky. I blame the spread of iphones and netbooks. Oh, by the way, forgive that last very short email, I was about to be cut off by a lack of coins. But hydration has been OK, but would love to chat about this and related things when I get home.

  2. Hi Frank. I’m afraid I agree with David. Please expand your information as soon as possible. After all, you need as much as possible to sell the idea to a publisher!! Are you able to tell us why the route is called “Francigena”. Is it perhaps an Italian elision of “Frank and Jenny”? We DO enjoy your record and I think we’re getting a vicarious sense of achievement ourselves! Well done and keep going. Love again from the Worthing Branch

    • It’s nice to have a supporter out there! Forgive the intermittent updates. Internet cafes have gone out of fashion. Will have to get an iphone (or such like) for future escapades.

  3. Edward Valletta

    What a fantastic job you are doing!!
    But tell me – how does a bridge have a BC date on it??
    Liked your tale about the night alone in the Castle – Dracula sprang to mind…
    Keep going
    Edward and Sally

    • Good observation Edward! On the information board was where they claimed a BC date! And the only Dracula in the Castle, apparently, was me.

      • Edward Valletta

        At least it was not carved into the stone! 🙂
        How lovely to be in Sienna
        If you pass through a town called Perrano near Orvieto my great uncle lived in the castle and I can introduce you to my cousin who lives in the castle walls. Look out for lots of things named after Valletta!

  4. Edward,
    what a shame. I’ve been passing signposts to Orvieto all day, but it’s just a little out of my way.
    If I see a Valletta, I’ve take a photo for you.
    Best wishes

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