Two weeks ago, Ollie and I were spending the weekend cycling in the Lombardy region of Northern Italy. Yesterday, wearing bib tights, and four layers up top, we regretted not wearing overshoes and thicker gloves. As we cycled through freezing fog the water formed a white layer of droplets over the fabrics of our gloves and tights. It was chilly to say the least and it’s only October. In fact, it is only the third time that we’ve worn any winter gear. The Italians don’t know what they’re missing, but we do. To quote Ollie;
This was a nice summer hobby wasn’t it! Time to find a new one…
As promised in the last post, after handing the carbon machines back, we had a week off of pedalling – though the week wasn’t without its attempts; a couple of days after returning the bikes in Sirmione we attempted to hire a pedalo but it had been an overcast day so the owner seemed to have decided it wasn’t worth opening up. We arrived in Venice, where bikes are banned, still craving some pedalling so we planned a trip to Lido. Lido is the only Island on the Lagoon which has motorcars; bikes are also allowed and they actually have a ‘Boris Bike’ scheme too. On our final day we took the Vaporetto over to Lido for a day trip with our intention being to tour the long, thin island by bike, but sadly we couldn’t work out the instructions so we had to walk instead.
In addition to being the only island which allows cars it is also the beach resort of the Venetian Lagoon; though the start of October is out of season and much of the island was closed. The hotels all close down over the winter and the beach is less accessible. We wandered along the quiet beach front, sat on the rocks, had some food in the company of some crabs and then wandered to the other end of the beach to see what we could find. What we did find was rather odd. At the end of the main coastal road, in the heart of the tourist district is a gated area, inside of which there is an infrastructure of roads and buildings. However the gate is locked, the buildings are broken and the area is deserted as if it had been hurriedly abandoned. On the gate is a sign, however with our limited Italian, we could only translate one word; Contaminated. Very very eerie, but fascinating – Google didn’t provide us with any answers and Google Maps has the area greyed out, which suggests that the area was abandoned before 2005-2007 when Google did the majority of their mapping work (I think)! I doubt we will ever find out what it was, but it was like something out of a boy-film (Zombies, the end of the world etc…)
We returned home on Tuesday of last week and dived straight into trying to attack the mountain of laundry, in addition to going back to work on the Wednesday and, for me trying to catch up on my studies before lectures this week. Back into the university term means that all fun goes out of the window and there’s only time for work, study and chores (and hopefully the odd half an hour on the turbo trainer). Though after yesterday’s ride I can’t say that I am too disappointed – I am definitely back into a hating cycling phase; I really struggled yesterday, ended up frustrated and cut the ride short for my own sanity and to let the boys enjoy a faster pace. It sounds like I made the right choice, too, since there were some killer hills, although I did spend most of the hour that I was alone getting lost. My Strava map shows just how close I was to the end before taking a wrong turn and diverting away from the course to add a few extra, unplanned miles.
As we enter the school and winter period I suspect there will be less to post about, I don’t tend to have many adventures on my turbo trainer! That said – there are a series of winter sportives, which I intend to check out at some point.