The day began with astonishing ease.
Walter oiled my chain and I hugged Christina, then I was off. Nobody overtook me for 30 kms along the piste. It was fabulous to ride at a constant pace on the flats of Emilia-Romagna.
Due to the cyclone, the underpasses were flooded. But I just went over the road instead.
Arrived in the centre of Modena. Saw a very pretty bride wearing pink. Drank an excellent cappuccino made by an Italian lady.
Modena is a beautiful old town, full of arty treasures. The streets are cobbled with round river stones and the squares are huge.
The romantic part then took a turn.
Confusion set in, and my map application refused to load. So I did what I’m good at, being a dizzy blonde, I just asked every second person where to go. Every second person has another opinion in Modena. The old man in the black&white picture told me to follow him, (he was going to see his mother…in that direction). So I did.
He waved me on in the general direction…
There were a lot of big roads and intersections which I had to go under and over. A couple shouted to me from the other side of a flooded underpass that it was ok to go through. Once I had splashed my way through, some men told me to go back the way I had come. One large man was most concerned that I should stop at a restaurant to charge my battery and eat something.
Eventually I found myself under a highway, alone, with no options. Then had to retrace my tracks for miles.
I was standing looking blankly at my google map when Giorgio came along and saved the day.
He said to follow him. We went for about 20 kms along the top of a dyke. He’s a photographer and has exhibitions and produces a lot of books. He took me along some small roads, between pear plantations and vineyards. All very flat and well kept. I had no idea where we were, then turned into a farmyard with geese and chickens strutting about, and rode around to the back of the house. At this point, my girlhood safety training was ringing the alarm bells.
His friend Antonella then gave us an amazing lunch fresh from her garden, and homemade Lambrusco wine, which is the famous local stuff. We sat under the trees and munched on fava beans, liver and onions, feta cheese, and proscuitto. Other friends arrived to eat, a large butcher who offered me a train ticket, and a cyclist who gave me the most cutest little round bottle of Balsamic vinegar, aged 35 years. So very generous and kind. You just can’t imagine the genuine concern they have for a lost lady. Sharing everything they have, and especially their time. I am really touched by all the kindness I have been given on this journey.
Giorgio Giliberti. He sent me this picture with a nice addition of a sign, Rome to Oslo. 433 kms to Rome on the highway….650 kms the back route.
Giorgio rode with me almost all the way to Mirandola, which is a bit off my track, but he said I should go there, and I did.
There was a terrible earthquake here a few years ago. One sees many crumbled buildings, with the new structure standing next to a pile of bricks.
All three Churches were damaged, and whole apartment blocks stand empty.
The hotel Pico is hosting me tonight. The nice man at the desk said I should go into town for the “Memory festival”, and I did.
The events were totally packed, so I sat at an outdoor cafe in the central square and drank a Spritz. Culture, food, music, art, cinema, theatre…a good thing for a broken town.
The people are all lovely!