2000 Cycling Season, June 17 - 19


June 17,2000, Saturday - Travel to Verona

Today we leave Venice and head for Verona, but rather than carrying the bike and all the stuff back over all the bridges we used an alternate way that Carlo, from the hotel suggested. We caught a Taxi van though the restricted industrial port area of Venice to the train station. This worked out much better; we had about a 5-minute walk that only included two little bridges to cross. Before loading everything in a minivan for the trip to the train station.

The only eventful thing at the train station was that we discovered we were headed into Bicycling country. In the station in Venice a few other cyclists traveling on our train joined us. By the time the train left Venice we had 6 bikes on board - 4 mountain bikes, a recumbent and our tandem. We found out that they were part of an Italian cycling club and that they were headed on a ride thought the northwestern mountains of Italy. At the next station we really knew we were in Bicycling territory. At the next station we picked up a group of about twenty Italian boy scouts with their bikes. They were headed to Lake Como for a weekend of bicycle camping. This really complicated getting of the train in Verona, but fortunately we had plenty of help to lift the tandem up bucket-brigade style over the 20 or so bikes that got jammed in the car after us.

When we got to Verona I let out a big sigh of relief, because I could see mountains, trees, and open spaces, felt a lot better than the tight little streets and canals of Venice, even though they were congested with cars, and scooters.

Verona Landscape Including A Castle On The Right

Verona Landscape Including A Castle On The Right

On our way in to Verona we discovered our hotel was next to a Mailboxes Etc. store. So we decided to pack up, and send home all of the little guide books and things that we collected from all the museums plus a few remaining things we aren't using. All in all I think we managed to reduce our load by about 8.5 pounds, which really makes a big difference.

After lunch we meet up with local bike racer who was from Germany. He told us that the rout we planned to ride out of town was far too busy and that we should stick to the agricultural roads in the area. He gave us a nice route out to one of the local lakes where the local racers train. We decided to take a quick ride to see if we could navigate the course he had laid out for us. Although we had a good little afternoon ride, we determined that our maps didn't have enough detail to help us find the route he suggested.

That evening we went on a written walking tour of Verona's historical section, which doubled as a search for a bike store and better maps. This walk was very successful! We got Italian Touring Club maps that included all the little roads in the area. We found a bike store and got a replacement for my heavy re-chargeable headlight that we decided to send home. And we also saw most of the sites Verona has to offer including the fabled house of Juliet from Romeo and Juliet where a statue of Juliet stands. The joke of the trip was that in Venice our new friend Phoebe said something about kissing Juliets knee for luck, where the actual superstician is to rub the left breast of Julients statue to bring you good luck in finding a new lover. Kissing her knee, rubbing her breast, it all sort of runs together after walking in the sun too much!

Intricate Sculpture Decorating a Crypt in Verona

Intricate Sculpture Decorating a Crypt in Verona

June 18, 2000, Sunday - Verona

Today we finally got to get back on the bike for a really good ride. We headed out on the agricultural roads for a ride to Largo di Garda, which is a big glacial lake at the base of the Alps. Although we had a good map of the area navigation was still difficult because there were no names on most of the roads, nor on the map. This meant we had to closely watch distances, between our turns, and hope for the best a few times.

Dorothy at Largo di Garda

Dorothy at Largo di Garda - check out the jagged mountains in the background

The area around Largo di Garda is really a cool place, which is full of little towns like Estes Park nestled between the lake and the jagged mountains of the Italian Alps. There and there are all kinds of places to rent boats, ride bikes, go for hikes and just hang out by the lake. I wished we were staying here for a week. In one of the towns we came across a big banner hung across the road advertising an upcoming triathalon, which made me think that next year at the end of June maybe my nephew and Chuck and I should return to race with the Italians as Dorothy and Sheryl enjoyed the little towns.

Triathalon Banner in Garda

Triathalon Banner in Garda - wanna race?

In addition to a good ride and a great lunch on the lake, we ran into the strangest thing on this ride. Out on a country road about 5 miles from the nearest town we came several small groups of prostitutes selling their services along side the road. We couldn't figure out who their target market was - after all it was Sunday afternoon, and they were out in the middle of nowhere, but they were sure actively soliciting every car that went by. It was the strangest thing, it would be like seeing prostitues working the corner of Highway 85 and Titan road in Douglas county - too bizare for words!