Thoughts and tales from the saddle - on my own in Europe.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Day 126 - Rapallo - North-West Italy

The day I crossed the border into Italy was exactly four months from the day I rolled off the ferry in St Malo. It feels like a lifetime ago. Quite a lot has happened...

-I've cycled over 3000 miles in seven countries (including England and classing Monaco as one), over mountains, around lakes, over and along rivers, down gorges, through tunnels, towns, villages and hamlets, as well as vast areas where no one lived, and along many hundreds of miles of coast;

-I've stayed in countless campsites, hotels, hostels and people's sofas;

-I've used four bottles of sun cream, and the same of aftersun, and have the deepest tan I've ever had, but it stops at two dark brown semi-circles on my shoulder blades where my cycling vest sits, contrasting wildly with my milky-white back;

-I've shared food, drinks and laughs with people from France, Spain, Denmark, Holland, Norway, Switzerland, Sweden, Germany, Canada, America, Argentina, New Zealand, Australia, Scotland, Ireland, Wales...and England;

-I've had drinks bought for me by barmen, bar managers, random people I didn't even speak to, an Englishman looking for a cat and a German looking for the meaning of life;

-I've seen dogs, cats, ferrets, squirrells, birds of prey, pine martins, snakes, lizards, badgers, sheep, cows, wild boar, a wolf and a bear, all dead at the side of the road. I've also seen living versions of many of those;

-My French is now good enough to hold conversations with people, understand everything and be understood - my Spanish is adequate enough for me to live and make some small talk. I'm working on the Italian;

-I've been happy, sad, elated, depresed, amazed, lonely, surprised, annoyed, excited, frustrated, drunk, high, hungover, exhausted, dehydrated...and pretty much everything in between;

-I've been, or probably am, the fittest I've ever been in my life - endurance wise;

-I'll mention them as everyone seems to ask about them - my legs are bigger, certainly stronger, but they're not of cartoon proportions as everyone thinks they should be. All you sports scientists will know that prolonged, relatively low-intensity exercise does not really build muscle, only strengthens and tones;

-I don't really crave anything in particular, not material things anyway;

-Right now, I feel like I want to live like this forever, but I know that won't last and I know that I can't. I'm just trying to enjoy it as much as I can, hopefully for another four months.

p.s. And it's...Jonny Herbert, coming through the tunnel...



  • At 9:17 pm, Blogger Roger said…

    yep - its a country...

  • At 4:45 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    hope all is well mate!
    miss ya!


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