Balatonfüred to Budapest

Wednesday the 3rd of May, I awoke to an overcast morning with the threat of more rain. The air smelled fresh as it does in a clean place with the air recently rinsed. I had planned to take the 13:59 train to Budapest, so I rose late and fixed myself a leisurely breakfast. I rode to the station (only 600 m away) with almost an hour to spare, just to be sure that I had not read any signs wrong. The station had walk-on access to the platform from the street. Continue reading

Lake Balaton: Keszthely to Balatonfüred

Monday was May Day, also Labor Day and a major holiday in much of the world – especially the former Warsaw Pact countries. I knew that everything would be closed, so I had bought some yoghurt and brioches at the 05-22 market last night for breakfast. My neighbors (two Germans, one Austrian, one Swiss) all drove off to find breakfast, I know not where. Continue reading

Into Eastern Europe: Kazlje to Keszthely

As I passed from Italy into Slovenia on Wednesday, the 26th of April, the rain began to fall lightly. The border was only 12 km from the town of Kazlje, where I would be staying with Couchsurfing hosts Marco and Arletta. Sežana disappeared suddenly. I found myself on a well-paved highway rolling gently through a thick wood. Continue reading

More Rivers: Brenta, Brentella, Piave, Tagliamento and Stella

Sunday, the 23rd of April, glowed with pleasant sunshine – enough to warm the cool air, but not enough to make me break a sweat as I made my way east from Verona. Regional Road 11 was smooth and wide-shouldered with a southerly crosswind blowing car exhaust away from me. Continue reading

More Lakes and Rivers: Franciacorta to Verona

On Wednesday, the 19th of April, I rode out from the Locanda della Franciacorta to Giovanna’s house, 13 km away. Giovanna then led me on a pastoral ride on the Paratico bike path to Lake Iseo. The path was mostly gravel and dirt, but the only tough grades were downhill.  Continue reading

The Lake District: Valbrona to Franciacorta

Holy Saturday brought clouds and afternoon thundershowers. Marieke’s sons, Emauele and Olmo, went out during the day, but basically, we all worked indoors. I read and wrote; my hostess did chores and read. It felt good to rest, and to turn in early. Continue reading

The Adda River: Piacenza to Valbrona

On Tuesday morning, I set out for Pavia, but when I crossed the Po leaving Piacenza, I changed my mind and decided to head for the Adda River and get on with my trip. The knee still hurt, but I studied my leg movement, and determined that the fit on my new pedals was wrong. I stopped just over the river, and adjusted the cleat so that my right foot could point outward more naturally. That seemed to make a big difference, so that I was able to ride back along the left bank of the Po (opposite the side I rode from Cremona) to the confluence of the Adda River. Continue reading

The Po River: Cremona and Piacenza

Palm Sunday morning, the sun bathed my shoulders as I walked to the high spots of downtown Cremona. The town was smaller than I expected from the night before; before long, I was several blocks past the Violin Museum run by the Stradivari Foundation, and doubling back. The air felt fresh, and traffic was almost non-existent. Continue reading

The Po River: Bologna to Cremona

Friday dawned sunny and cool, but warmed as I rode the Piana Padana to Modena and then to the little town of Rolo near the Po River. I wore my short-sleeved Camino de Santiago pilgrim’s bicycle jersey, but long pants. My hosts would not be home until 18:30, so I had time to stop in Modena at the Enzo Ferrari Museum, a modern complex built around the famous car designer’s birthplace. Continue reading

Books, Books, and More Books!

On Saturday, April Fool’s Day, I shut off the water, closed the gas bottle under the sink, opened the main power to the flat, and locked the door. After dropping the key in the mailbox, I rode to World Bike Formia for a final farewell to Vincenzo and Benedetta, and to pick up the WBF cap that they had waiting for me. Then I stopped by Tempo Prezioso for another quick farewell. River Run 2017 was about to begin.  Continue reading