Okay, the title is totally misleading, because this is how my bike tour was conducted:
Italian Bike Tour
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I was given the task of loading up a van and trailer with everything needed for a bike trip in Puglia, driving it there from France, flying to Sicily to pick up another van and trailer with a full load of kit and then getting that back to France. Adventure!
It makes sense that the guys who built the aquaducts now have more tunnels than I’ve ever seen in one day of driving. I eventually took off my sunglasses because I couldn’t keep flipping them up and down every time I passed through one of these. I’m not complaining really, I’m getting paid to go on a European road trip!
I was tempted to go down to Monaco, but didn’t dare with the trailer and my van that stood about 12 feet high with the bikes on top. Beautiful view.
My destination in Puglia was this tiny town, but big enough that I did manage to find one postcard. Funny enough, it was this view, which I took before I found the card. Southern Italy is oppressively hot this time of year, and my Backroads colleague there, Paolo, is the tannest Canadian/Italian I’ve ever met, and was a great host.
Warm Mediterranean swimming pool!
How could I resist this photo? Completely random, out of place (or is it?) and hilarious.
It was time to get moving, so I made my way to the Bari Airport, where I flew to Catania, Sicily.
I flew on a budget airline that doesn’t assign seating, so I made a mad dash to the exit row, where I got the only seat that actually had leg room. I felt like the luckiest guy on the plane!
After picking up the new van in Sicily, it was off to Palermo for the ferry to Genova. I wasn’t really looking forward to a 25 hour boat trip. This was my first ferry ride, and it didn’t quite match my expectations.
I envisioned a utilitarian boat with minimal amenities and a mix of surly passengers with questionable intentions. What I found was this:
Yes, this ferry (really a cruise ship with a big garage) has it’s own mascot. The ship boasted a piano bar, pools, a casino, lounges and a nightclub, multiple restaurants and a video arcade. My roommates were two super nice Italian guys who spoke no English, and Oliver from Sweden, one of the only people on the entire trip that I was able to speak with.
However, not all was smooth sailing:
Yes, that’s right, the pool was broken!
There was indeed a piano bar, but the piano served only as a stand for the karaoke laptop computer. This man simply played bad music and sang along to it every time I saw him.
One of the best parts of the trip was watching Italy beat England in overtime penalty shots during the Euro Cup surrounded by Italians in the lounge.
This was a fun experience, and my first foray into solo driving around Europe. Nothing and nobody got hurt and I learned a bunch about how this new job works. It’s taking some getting used to being thrown into this new environment, and I miss my bikes back home dearly. Everybody I work with here is great, but it’s hard not to be just a bit homesick. Staying busy is helping, and I’ve still have lots more pictures to post. Thanks to everybody for hanging in there with me!
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