Northern Italy: ciao ragazzi !
The Paella was great and the stay at Marta's place in Ibiza as well! But we are now back to Italy and almost ready to get on our bikes again.
Cesare is waiting for us at the airport where he left us one week ago. He brings us back to lovely Ursula in their lovely house in Vigevano. This sweet part of Ayana's family took so much care of us for some days. They spoiled us with yummy ice cream,delicious pastas dishes, "Käse überbacken" and German white wine, but what we remember the most are the smiles of Ursula, the warm welcome and the great explanation and time that Cesare gave us around the neighbourhood of Milano.
Since we rather like to stay at the countryside and avoid traffic and masses, we continued our biketrip from south Milano directly to the city of Gorgonzola. This cute little city gave its name to the famous soft blue cheese. Or is it the other-way around? No se !?
The northern region of Italy below the Alps is completely flat. Rice fields, everywhere! For the risottos for sure, and a lot of f**king tiger mosquitoes. A LOT! And when I say a lot, it's like I've never seen so many before in my life. Ayana seems to deal pretty good with them but me they just drive me crazy. They bite you while you eat, while you bike, while you sleep, while you pee!!!! In 5 minutes we looked like red Dalmatians!!! Pfffff! Tired of this wild life!
Serban remembered that he has some old contacts in north Italy. Great news! So we cycled all evening to finally arrive at Monica, Ivan and Filippo' house in Trucazzano. Old friends that visited Romania, 10 years ago. For sure they welcomed us with delicious Gorgonzola, prosciutto and trofie dishes. Ivan cooks just great. Thanks to them we also discovered the Italian pastries: the Sfogliatellas are just heaven!!
The day after, we continued our trip trough the land of mosquitoes and rice fields. In two days we should arrive to Lago di Garda, the largest lake in Italy and on the edge of the Dolomites. The first evening someone told us a place to wild camp in the middle of a vineyard. It reminds us of the beginning in Alsace but we are now much more comfortable and experienced. We appreciate the darkness of the coutryside to enjoy the stars and at 21:30h we sneaked into the tent. It's been a while we haven't slept on the floor by the way...
And we keep enjoying the figue and apple season for breakfast:
And the Sunday morning markets:
The day after we received a mail from Andrea, our warmshowers in Lago di Garda, saying that the keys are in the mail box and that we can enter his flat. Soooo nice!
He lives in calm Maderno just 80 meters from the water. Like a dream. Ayana and I like this region so much that we had several discussions of how Italy and a place like this could be an option for our future life. Peaceful but lively vibes and a healthy lifestyle, and the mountains are just 1 km away. We love it <3 p=""> 3>
Andrea arrived the following day after a bike race in south Italy and so we had the opportunity of sharing experiences and having good discussions around the table. He's a very determinate sport guy, taking care of his way of living and pushing his body to the extreme. Respect! He just came back from a 300 km bike race and 2 days of no sleep but he's still on shape for a bike and swimming training! This kind of mental and body strength was very inspiring to us.
And so after a relaxing weekend with good company we got onto the bikes once more to follow the west side of the lake from Maderno until Riva.
Wonderful biking day, next to the water and through the tunnels. It's getting up and down but the view is so worth it.
We cross the very very touristic city of Limone. We get off the bikes to enjoy the sounds, the smiles, the smells. It reminds us how hungry we are. We find a perfect pick-nick spot on a huge rock and start chopping the vegetables. It is so chill and sunny that we cannot resist jumping into the water. We are going to miss this!
Ice cream is definitely a MUST in this region. Several very old men in the valley told us their great grandfathers invented ice-cream. Before refrigerators, you needed ice or snow to make ice-cream, and there are a lot of high mountains around there. I go for pistacchio and coco whereas Ayana takes nocciola and yogurt e frutti di bosco. :)
On our way to the next lake, Lago di Levico, we get hosted for a night at Denis place in Trento. We stayed chatting until late into the night and finished a bottle of homemade peach liquor. Denis is an experienced climber and gave us lots of tips for all the hikes and shelters in the Dolomites. It's also in the garden of Hotel Dolomiti that we put our tent for 2 nights, "like hippies" according to the boss. He would rather see us leaving than taking naked showers by the pool. It was quite cold in Lago di Levico and we didn't even tried the water.
We celebrate the 1 month trip anniversary: 4th of September at 3pm. We are not morning people. We get out of the cold mountains by train and we head towards the Adriatic sea and the city of Trento. You could have guessed, we didn't stop at Venice. We will have a lovely weekend there some day else.
I won't lie to you but we are sick and tired. So for the last part we decide to take the train. This uniaue experience also demands a lot of energy and the short days of break never seem enough to balance the cold nights and tiredness accumulated during the trip. The train drops us in Latisana, where we won't continue to the sea side. We don't have energy any-more. We try to find a shelter and so we meet generous Debora and Manuela. Two nice sisters who live in front of each other in a quiet residential area and that host us in their garden and gift us a pizza Margherita. In the morning we took a shower and share our stories with them. After almost a month, we start to be fluent in Italian. Buongiorno! Somos in viaggio in bicicleta e stato possible metere la tenda in giardinio? Molto freddo! Va bene. va bene, grazie mille.
Grado, by the sea, is quite desert at these dates. The touristic season is over. It's windy and not so warm anymore. We set up our tent on the sand and enjoy the sound of the waves for one night. Some coffees later we reach Sistiana. We need to do a laundry and some warmth. Even on the Adriatic sea the sun does not shine so strong anymore. We find a great camping and chill for one day, and another, and another, and another. The first two nights we sneaked into a bungalow through the window. It felt like heaven to sleep in a real bed and a dry place. For sure, the second day, it is the panicked and scared cleaning lady that wakes us up. Oops! She calls her boss we try to give explanations. But wait, are they speaking in romanian? Serban talks to them and they seem to understand. They keep it quiet to the camping management but they told us that we can have serious problems with the carabinieri if some catch us...
In the evening we jump into the sea for the last swim of the year. On the way back home we get invited to a party where they pre-celebrate the 13th anniversary of the European biggest boat race in Trieste. Couldn't say no!
We are wet, we are cold, we will fall sick again, but we are so f**king happy, free and in love!
In the next episode you will find out how Ayana and Serban deal with Slovenian life. Do they meet bears? Will they learn more than 5 Slovenian words? How many days will they survive without gas for cooking in the Balkans forests? Will they finally visit a city, Ljubliana? Do they like ajvar?
See you soon and let us some comments, we like them and they keep us warm!