Florence to Amsterdam – 1,900km 21 days – Leonardo (GCR Europe Ride Manager) – follow his story – Stage 3.

July 24, 2015

Stage 3. from Modena to Verona, alone.
Saturday 8th July 2015

Wake up! mmmh no. I wake up, he’s already awake: he didn’t sleep all night so before breakfast he tells me that he’s going to take a train to Verone and join me there around the famous Arena. Oh, like saying “let’s meet at the Colosseum”, have you ever been in Rome? ok.
No reactions from me, need my breakfast to start thinking, otherwise I’m on automatic pilot…
OK my friends, stomach is full now, I say goodbye to my mate GF, he goes to the station, I start pedaling direction north, always north, and I am alone.
Wait. This is the very first time for me traveling alone by bike, should I be worried? Should I take the train with him?
No, I want to go; what can happen?

it’s not too bad here, I am crossing the big flat of the river Po, the longest in Italy; it’s hot as usual but my jersey is completely open for cooling, insects like it and thank me with their kisses!
the gps track is fantastic, makes me go thru small bike paths in the woods, countryside roads with dirty surface, dry mud, and smelly cattle presents.
I never cross any large village or similar and after few hours of this I realize that the gps track is taking me directly into the Ostiglia swamp, a natural reserve for swamp birds: there is nobody around, no human sounds. Waves of heat come from the ground. The channels and ditches along the path are filled with steady water and many flower and vegetation.
Some abandoned farms here and there. No bicycle prints on this path….It’s seems I am the first to come here. Really? naah.
I continue on this direction, km and km on unpaved paths, little rocks, fuck this shit I want to go to a real road. Let’s go on, relax and look around.
The gps track says to turn right NOW, but at my right there is a grain field, no track or path is visible…
OK, I can’t rely anymore on the gps track, no phone network is available for gmaps here, so I use the compass to go north, and later I find a small paved road that I immediately take, direction north, really happy to get out of that awesome but frightening swamp and the feeling of being lost.
I’m hungry now, and I go looking for a bar, find it, seat outside in the tree away from the AC; two sandwiches and 2 beers, I’m a bit drunk and happy to be just 45km from Verona. the temp is 38deg C but as far as I have water I can do it, I enjoy the roads and little villages I cross, they are so desert…people is looking for cool air in the darkness of their houses.
Finally I reach Verona, I feel good, I meet again my mate around the Arena and we have dinner and all the rest, going around for a walk in the town of Romeo&Juliet.
Had dinner in a taverna with painted ceilings.
I have to wash my civilian clothes. They start to smell.

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