Sunday, January 1, 2017

Italy Cycling - Olive Oil Tasting, Trulli Houses and Rainy Fun

Thursday October 27

We ride inland this day, about 32 miles total. There is another morning snack stop. Lunch is at a beautiful farm. We get a little tour of the farm and then do an olive oil tasting. Everything we eat is fresh and local, made from their garden. The afternoon ride is very nice, a few hills but nothing too bad.

Then we only have about an hour and a half before we have to get on a bus and drive to Alberobella, the home of the beautiful old unique trulli houses. The houses are cone-shaped. There are symbols on the roofs to ward off the evil spirits, and decorative stone blocks at the top. We have an amazing guide, Mino. He's a native Alberobellaian that knows the history of the houses, the science behind why the people that live in them are so long lived. He loves his home town, and it shows.

After the tour we wander down the street and find a small pizzeria. Pizza, salad, wine and beer, good conversation with fellow cyclists Taylor and Don. We aren't back at the mazzeria until after 10 and we have to pack because the next day we are moving to a new location.

Friday October 27

We are on the bus and on the way to our next starting place by 8:30 AM. It is raining hard, and of the 18 people on our trip only 7 are crazy enough to brave the weather. Of course we're riding, we wouldn't miss it! My new rain pants are great, but my running jacket is not really water proof, just resistant. Lee has a hood and I don't so I put his ball cap under my helmet and that helps. 

An old cemetery along the way

It is cold, and definitely wet, but we warm up, and it's fun. Because there are so few of us Debora the leader rides with us instead of sweeping in the rear and the van checks on us frequently. We find our lunch spot by the sea and dry off a little while eating snacks and chocolate. By the time we start again the rain has stopped. At first I'm freezing which seems par for the course for me every day after lunch but it's not very long before I have to stop and take off my rain pants.

We're wandering through beautiful remote countryside. At one point we are just following the van because there is some road construction and we have to go a different way. There are railroad tracks and we've been warned to walk across them because they are not perfectly perpendicular to the road and it's easy to get your tire caught. Lee is ahead of me and he rides over them without any trouble so I think I can do it too. Wrong! My tire catches and down I go, again! I'm not as badly cut up as before although I'm going to have another nice bruise, but my bike! The front tire is bent and I'm very upset. I'm walking the bike when I hear "Ding! Ding! Ding!" The gate for the train is closing and I am on the wrong side! I make a run for it and get across before it closes completely, and well before the train arrives. There is a man waiting to pass in his car, and he's laughing at me. What a crazy situation.

I get on my bike and try to ride but it's hopeless. Lee comes back to find me and soon Debora and the others show up too. I'm afraid that my riding is over, but no. Debora calls Sondro who shows up with the van and he brings me a new tire. Apparently we're touring with a van full of spare bike parts, which is a good thing when you have someone like me along.

Before too much longer we are at our new home for the next three days. Another masseria, this one is smaller, more remote, family owned. I'm going to rinse out some clothes in the sink and then we'll take a walk and explore this new place.

Dinner at other beautiful masseria in a nearby town. Long table, free wine and limoncello, good conversation and food.

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