Italy - Day 10 : Vestenastock
In the morning, many cyclists were riding on the road we had slept next to. We rode a bit before buying our standard meal of donut peaches, half a liter of milk, and some buns. For the remainder of the day, we followed the signs for Verona. While planning the route, we had already seen that we would have a flat road for the next 150 km. It was a boring route over relatively large roads. We only saw car washes and Lidls. We got some more ice creams. According to Bram, it was 'damn hot' again.
Long straight roads
We quickly covered much ground and were counting down the kilometers to the Brenner pass. In a village, we stopped to eat a can of fruit. Usually, we mostly ate bread during breakfast and dinner, and while cycling, a lot of fruit and sugar. Late in the afternoon, the landscape became more hilly again. We passed some kiwi plants.
The kiwi plants
We had been cycling around without food for quite a while when we reached a village with a nice castle and a moat around it.
In the village
We weren't able to find a supermarket, so we continued. Five kilometers further, we passed a huge supermarket. As soon as we parked our bike, someone from security came out and 'discretely' followed us. The supermarket sold everything. There were two entire isles with pasta and then another with fresh pasta. They also sold 10 kg cans of tomato sauce for making pizza.
The pasta isle
Outside the store was a bench where we ate. I asked Bram to park his bike somewhere out of the way, so the security guard wouldn't have an excuse to send us away. We had just started eating our rice salad when the first one walked out of his office, 'looked around', and then went back inside again. Two minutes later, the second one did the same. Then a third one came out. He stood outside for a while before walking up to us. Then came the pinnacle of Italians. First, he asked in Italian if we spoke Italian. We replied, 'No, but we do speak English'. You could see him think. He didn't speak a word of English, so he just started in Italian. We immediately realized that he wanted us to leave, but it would be funny to try to stay as long as possible without upsetting the guy. After all, we weren't doing anything illegal or bothering the clients. He kept saying 'non mangare,' no eating, and was pretending to eat. We asked why we weren't allowed to eat and if there was another place nearby, but he couldn't tell us. After a while, we got up and cycled on carrying our open salad containers.
A kilometer further, we found a bench. When another Italian walked up to us, we already feared the worst. Most Italians looked really nasty when we would eat somewhere, but most didn't say anything. In France, it would almost be an exception if nobody came up to us to say 'bone appetit'. Italians also don't like cycling. Except for some speed cyclists and a few people in the Alps, only very poor people were riding a bike. Maybe that's why people were treating us like that. The flat valleys we had been cycling through the past 100 kilometers had largely ended. The route now continued over a busy road through vineyards.
One field had a fruit stand where we bought nectarines and a melon. According to Bram, the vacation wouldn't be complete without buying a melon. The Italian salesman was kind. He gave us two free nectarines. A while later, we moved from the large road into a smaller one. The road went up steeply, around 12%, through forests and many hairpin turns. We passed several 'villages' consisting of only two houses.
On top of the climb, we were completely drenched in sweat. We wondered if there wasn't an easier road, but there really wasn't. We did reach a stunning descent. Shortly after, the next climb already started. Meanwhile, it was already 8 o'clock and nearly time to stop. However, as we were going uphill, we weren't moving very fast, and we were in a pretty urban area, so it was hard to camp.
View in the evening
A church in Vestenanova
Half an hour later, we were nearly on top of the hill. We hoped to find a nice place to camp in the descent. The first thing I saw on top was a wooden sign with 'camping' painted on it. That was unexpected because I had added all Italian campsites in my GPS (through archiescampings.com), and those had been spot on thus far. We also noticed two policemen holding a glass of beer. There was also a huge banner saying 'Vestenastock'. It was some kind of festival. Maybe we would be allowed to stay at their campsite. We weren't sure how that would work, and if we needed to pay, it would likely be loud. We decided to cycle on. Fifty meters further, we changed our minds and turned around to inquire. If we were lucky, we might also be able to listen to music. The cops were friendly but didn't speak English. They referred us to the festival's helpdesk.
We walked up to the festival area with our bikes and wearing cycling clothes. Most people looked surprised to see us. At the bar I asked if it would be possible to stay at the campsite, they only replied 'the camping is on the other side of the road'. We had already known that. The best solution seemed to go there and have a look. The festival seemed free and looked fun.
The 'campsite' consisted of a piece of grass that was too tilted to sleep on. There were already two tents. We quickly pitched our tents, and I changed into my 'normal' clothes. We returned to the festival, got some beer, and lay down in the grass to listen to the music. This was an ideal end to a cycling vacation day.
It was a small festival, with only about a hundred people. They mostly played rock music. I enjoyed the second band the most, they were playing bluegrass versions of 'little green bag' and 'wish you were here'. There was also a BBQ, but no list of what was available. I tried to find someone to ask for help while Bram stayed to listen to the music. I asked if someone spoke English, and everyone shook their head except Fabio. He was around our age and asked where I was from. In the past, he had been on a cycling vacation to Croatia. I wondered how the ordering system worked. He not only offered to show me but also bought us hotdogs. He also offered to buy us a beer, but I couldn't accept that. When I returned to Bram with two hot dogs, he asked why I was smiling so much.
The hot dogs were excellent. We listened to some more music and after an hour Fabio passed by to take our picture. We were half asleep by the time the last band played, so we headed back to our tents.
The route of day 10
Height profile of day 10. It was flat the entire day until we reached two large climbs in the afternoon.
Distance cycled : 160 km.