Monday, March 11, 2013

Italy - Lizard, Railroad Crossing and Perfect Riding

Follow New Posts in the Around The World series on Mondays.
Click here for the Introduction.

Old home near Santa Maria de Sala. Photo credit: 

52 miles – Thursday, October 6

Roads tend to be narrow and traffic is fairly heavy, but we are close to Venice. Otherwise, the sky is a cloudless, enchanting blue. It’s a perfect autumn day. We pedal through delightful small farming communities, like Piazzola sul Brenta, Borgoricco, Mirano, and busier Mestre, arriving at a campground by 3:30 p.m. We feel like singing operas and reading Shakespeare out loud, but of course that doesn’t work too well on a bike. This may well be our favorite country.

A tiny, four inch lizard, its mouth clamped on a piece of bread, ran in front of my front tire. Having a similar reaction to Italian drivers, the creature zigzagged and in desperation scurried in a complete circle by the time I passed by. I wonder if he ever made it safely across the road.

During a quiet stretch of road one brown leaf skidded to the pavement. That simple, solitary act jolts daydreams back to the present. I laughed. Seasons change before our eyes. Miles tick by; one country fuses into the next. Each landscape and culture a fresh reminder of why we love bike touring: to experience what’s lies ahead.

Photo credit: john doogan photographer
Much like Holland and parts of France, it’s the older Italians that ride bicycles for transportation. Men sport 1940’s wide brimmed hats; women ride in dresses and long coats. Today, a woman was further ahead, riding a three speed. A railroad crossing light flashed and warning bell rang. The woman halted just as the protective bar swung down. She looked over her shoulder at us, sputtering, presumably annoyed. We smiled, not knowing how to respond. She eventually turned her attention back to the tracks. We waited patiently. We knew it could be 5 minutes before the train arrives. Vehicles behind us turned off engines. But the woman was a sight: her face scrunched, thick ankles showing above her flat shoes. She moved closer to the bar, with one foot on the pedal, ready for a jackrabbit start. I chuckled to myself. Her impatient was precious. If only I dared take her picture.

At the campground just outside Venice, Andy and I make garlic tomato sauce with fresh spinach to pour over pasta. The wind whistles and evening rain begins. We hurried with our hot bowls to the tent. Inside we share the remains of yesterday’s Chianti and have dinner.

Later, all snuggled in our sleeping bags, I suddenly realize it’s a special day. Ten years ago, Oct.6, 1984 we left my parent’s home in Vermont; the start of our cross country bicycle journey and year of getting to know each other really well. And now we’re married, nearly halfway around the world, ready to explore Venice in the morning. 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Due to increased Spam, I am moderating comments. Thank you for your patience.