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.