12. Cherry time. (June 8)

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Farmers are selling their cherries along the roads. There are two types called Duroni and Ciliegie. Duroni are red and a bit sour, compared to ciliegie. I bought a some from a lady and her daughter along the road. It would be lovely to come back in the early spring when they’re all flowering.

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To reach Modena, I went over the hill to the next valley, via Montese. A village amongst others in the vicinity where people have lived for millennia. There are 9 fresh water springs, some of them salty minerals. According to the information poster in town, the area was considered sacred since antiquity. Farmers would perform rituals at an ancient man-made lake, Lago Bracciano, saying prayers and giving offerings of bronze statuettes in return for protection of their cattle.

2018-06-08_0016.jpgThere are many hiking trails offered to tourists. Not that I saw any tourists, but I suppose they come up here from Bologna and Modena on the weekends. I did see a very big green snake.

It seems all barista’s on the north side of the Gothic line are of Chinese origin.

At lunch a nice man called Carlo, who had a tiny black puppy in a backpack, told me to go to Rocca di Vignoli, so I did.

A cyclone came through, so I have stayed in a very posh new bed&breakfast&dinner&lunch for two nights. It stormed, and the farmers made a lot of noise shooting projectiles into the clouds to ‘open’ them so it doesn’t hail on the ripening cherries. (so I’m told).

My hosts, Christina and Walter have been so generous and kind. The room is huge with a fancy spa shower. There are bowls of fruit and fresh flowers, drinks and all sorts of nice things. The house is very old, but immaculately renovated and maintained.

When I went down to get something from my bike, a huge black Doberman charged over to bite me, but Walter got in the way with a broom.

Going to Modena tomorrow, and a bit further. The cycle tracks begin and it’s flat, so let’s see how far I get.

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Albert Einstein said: "Life is like riding a bicycle, to stay balanced you've got to keep moving". So to keep moving at my age, I'm wobbled off on my bike on the 26th May 2018. Starting from home in Rome and aiming for Oslo in Norway, to visit my family. (We are South African scatterlings). In a few words, I cycled up the spine of Italy along the hilly Apennines, across the Po valley and up over the Alps. Slightly west at Lake Constance to get into the Rhine Valley and heading up to Hamburg and then over to Denmark. A long haul up the west coast of Sweden into Norway and arrived in Oslo on the 24th July 2018. Admittedly it's much quicker to jet back and forth, but this time I'm going green, hoping to inspire others to ride their bikes too. E-bikes have made it possible to travel around much more easily, even for the unfit 'over-the-hill' grandmothers like me. Along the way I stopped to paint watercolour sketches, take photographs, visit beautiful towns. I hope to put this amazing adventure into a little book for those who fancy doing something similar.

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