Europe 2019

October 7, 2019 I feel the need..the need for speed!

NOT! We are turtles by choice. The countryside and the culture are so rich we can’t see riding so fast that you never allow yourself to absorb it.

The last part of our ride today, on a gravel path along the Brenta River.

Our average daily pace is five miles per hour. That is the total average with all stops. We don’t want to arrive at the B&B at 2 o’clock in the afternoon. Instead, we want to use the whole day on the ride.

Today we rode away from our ultra modern hotel, back into the Middle Ages.

Our destination was one of our favorite bike hotels, Albergo Contarini, on the banks of the Brenta River. To get there we would ride to the walled city of Mariostica and to Bassano del Grappa, at the base of Monte Grappa, with its ponte vecchio foot bridge first built in the 1500s.

One of the icons of this region is the Venetian lion that you will see in sculpture, frescoes and flags. City states fought among themselves until they gave allegiance to Venice which would then protect them. Because Venice was run by a group of businessmen, it was usually a good trade.

In the main square in Mariostica there is an unusual feature – a giant chess board. Legend says that a princess had two suitors and the tradition was for the young men to fight to the death for her hand. But the king was an enlightened ruler and, instead, built a giant chess board, made for people in costume as pieces, and the winner would marry the princess. Even today couples come to the board to have wedding pictures taken.

On the ride to Mariostica we came across a group of cyclists from Norway in a town that, just by coincidence, was having some kind of Norwegian-Italian festival. The town was adorned with the flags of both Norway and Italy. The group apparently stumbled across the festival but one woman said “We felt very welcome!”

Next entry in diary