Day 16 Terrarosa to Lucca 61m (97km)

Taking leave of my Castle! Surprisingly, despite the cavernous nature of my surroundings, I slept soundly, but woke early, so made preparations for a pre-dawn start. I had to think carefully about the routine of closing down this huge place, and leaving the key at the appointed place. As I pulled the great wrought iron gates to, my mind couldn’t grasp that I had been the sole occupier that night. And in case there is any dispute, you have all witnessed where I put the key: in the hole in the wall!

Early morning mist. As I set off the early morning mist had not lifted, so it was even darker than expected, and much colder. This called for a large cafe americano and two of the best pastries I’ve tasted on this trip. It was initially downhill almost all the way to the coast. Then I came across this lone lady, heavily laden with backpack and walking poles, and I knew this was another VF pilgrim. Gabriela is Italian from Milano, and had started her trek 11 days ago in Milano, and is making her way to Rome. It takes a lot of courage to walk those distances on your own.



Coastal road. Though not strictly on the VF, I decided to get off the busy roads and head down to the coastal road that runs along the several marinas. Delightful road, but views of the beaches and sea were limited by the fact that almost 99% of the coast is owned by hotel and restaurant businesses, and you have to pay to use the beach. I waited until I had to head off inland before plunging down to a free beach and enjoying a 10 minute swim in the Med. At 25C it seemed that the weather was too cold for most Italians to be taking the plunge!

As if by retribution! Having had no mechanicals throughout the trip thus far, today was a little different. Perhaps in retribution for leaving the VF route for 20 miles, I was awarded with not one, but two punctures! Having fixed the first, I went to ‘celebrate’ by having a beer at a beach bar, and when I came out, the same puncture had come undone in the heat of the sun. I should have known that would happen!

Foreign keypads. It’s only when you travel from country to country using internet cafes, that you get to know how different foreign keypads can be. Hurrah for the Italians! Theirs are almost identical to ours. The French keypad has several letters and symbols ‘out of place’, and finding how to activate the @ and the / (and many others) can be trying when you are paying for access and you are in a hurry. Then the Swiss keypads: well, I imagined that travelling through the French-speaking part, it would be the same as France, but no! La Suisse is a country of 4 official languages, so the keypads cater for all of them. That makes it very, very complicated for a bear of little brain like myself.

No more climbing? Wishful thinking, I’m afraid. One 12% climb was unplanned because I went off route, and the last climb of the day took me back into the Appenines towards the beautiful town of Lucca, which I will explore tomorrow. But as I arrived in town, an almighty storm kicked up……but fortunately it just missed me. Tonight, with the Youth Hostel full to bursting, I’ve been offered one of their couches, which is actually quite a luxurious alternative.

And before I go, I was much amused at this sign, and wondered what they might serve on their menu. Post suggestions in “Comments” at the bottom of this message. Here’s one to get the ball rolling. this is a genuine recipe:

Eggs in Purgatory
Serves 2-4

– 1 28 ounce can of tomatoes (I used fire roasted, but you can use your favorite)
– 4 large fresh eggs
– 3 cloves garlic, sliced
– 1-2 Teaspoons red pepper flakes (depending on how hot you want it)
– 1 Cup water or stock of your choice
– 3 Tablespoons olive oil
– Fresh basil, chiffonade
– 4 thick slices toast
– Salt and pepper

About Frank Burns

My journeys around the world are less about riding a bicycle, and more about what happens when I get off the bicycle. Click on the Personal Link below to visit my webpages.

Posted on September 13, 2010, in Canterbury-Rome 2000kms: a cyclist's tale and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. At the “Purgatorio” can you get stewed “tripe and prunes”?
    Tell me how do you get those photos of you?


  2. They prepare fantastic food, but you can only watch as others eat it.


  3. An English mans home is his castle!!! Your taking this to the extreme- Great Blog-Keep at it.



  4. Ah, these are dishes that ‘cleanse the soul’ are they? Or is it that you detest them so much, eating them would be your purgatory?
    Good one David.


  5. That would be hell, not purgatory! However, if they were eating cold tripe (see David above) I would definitely pass on that one. Hunger might even be preferable!


  6. Yes Sy, the castle was my home for a night. But what a night to remember. Cycling ‘gets to those parts that other forms of travel might not’.


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