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|Relaxing at Magenta's train station.|
10 miles - Monday, October 4
We wake to cooler weather and blue skies. And the shower now has hot water. Oh happy day! Andy and I bathe, delighted to be in enclosed rooms for a change where steam and warmth remains; otherwise it’s a mad scramble to put on clothes in a frigid bathhouse.
We cross the Ticono River at Turbigo and pedal on back roads. We stop periodically for grand views of the snow-capped Alps. We are mountain lovers at heart, but are compelled to keep ahead of the weather. After visiting Venice we’ll head south. For the moment we move on through Cuggiono and Marcallo, arriving at Magenta’s train station. For 38,800 Lira (26.00 USD total) we buy two tickets for Verona, cutting three days cycling time.
We have time before the train arrives. Andy and I sit beneath the wide overhang snug on top of our backpacks – cushiony compared to a bike seat. My laundry is draped over my bike and we’re reading the Herald Tribune. This paper has become our mainstay for international news. A ferry went down in the North Sea, killing 800 people. After Italy, we plan to take a boat to Greece. Also the plague has resurfaced in New Delhi. I remind myself that isolated incidents capture press and will not necessarily affect us. But still, it’s nice to keep abreast of world affairs, as Andy and I hold plane tickets to India.
Hungry, we spread out food on a pink granite bench. It’s an international spread: mustard from Budapest, peanut butter from France; Vermont’s Cabot Cheese (sent to Katty’s home by our family), and Italian rolls and fruit.
When the train arrived, I was again impressed with efficient service. Personnel let us keep panniers attached and they handled the bikes, loading the heavy machines two feet below the platform onto a baggage car. The journey went by fast. I loved the deep blue waters of Lago di Garda with mountains rising on either side. The sun had set, a fiery red ball, long before we disembarked in Verona.
|Verona with Ponte Pietra spanning River Adige.|
Heavy traffic whizzed by the station. Italian drivers made us nervous, acting like race car professionals. They change lanes frequently – even around slow farming machinery or a vulnerable cyclist – acting like it’s a big game and the fastest wins. Add to that the growing darkness in a city. We opt to ride sidewalks and streets to a nearby hostel instead of to a campground located farther away.
At the hostel Andy and I are thankful to store the bikes in an enclosed courtyard, further protected under wide eaves. The fifteenth century building was once a villa. Frescoes were unearthed beneath the dining room’s plaster walls. A warm evening entices us outdoors. Arm in arm we stroll along the banks of the River Adige, crossing a Roman bridge to city center. Building lights reflect in the swift water. It’s as romantic as any place I’ve ever been.