Cycling Around the World

Continuing Southern France to Brindisi Italy

As you will be aware, I have been back in the UK due to issues with the brand new KOGA Worldtraveller Signature and no support from KOGA in having the bike fixed (fault with bike) while in Southern France or even any help in getting it back, I have now got the bike back on the road with help and support from Rohloff. 

The bike has been converted so that the Rohloff hub works with a heavy duty chain as apposed to the Gates carbon belt, and after now being a few grand out of pocket and quite some time out, I'm now on the road again. Expensive and harsh lesson learned, but hey, that's adventure for you :)

I continue my journey along the coast of Southern France, Monaco, then Italy in this leg. Somewhere over 1600 km's, or they way I cycle with no clear route, it could be much more. The little tent symbols are campsites open in winter that I plan on staying at as I make my way around.

Day 81 

Well, my little side "adventure" is over, and after a total of 3200 km's, 4 hire cars, 2 ferries, 9 tolls, and catching up with precious loved ones, I am back in Southern France continuing on my cycle.

And as a tip, whenever hiring a car, video every inch of it including on top of the roof, and photograph every chip and scratch. It will take you all of about 5 minutes and could save you a fortune.

I do, and I really upset the hire car company in Southern France after they tried to blame me for previous damage, until I showed them the video of course. Things you have to do hey, but if I hadn't I would have landed a whopping bill.

But anyway, I'm back on track and I'm shattered after the 1600 km's yesterday, so I'm in an Airbnb and chilling until I set out to tackle a few bumps and lumps for a while, as I continue through Southern France, Monaco, the Italian Riviera, past Pisa, Rome, and Naples.

Day 82

Toulon, is nothing like I expected on the map. My image of Toulon was this :) -

But what I got was this:

And this great little mobile pizzeria and restaurant. I love it. I might even set myself up with one when I return to the UK, who knows :) I can just imagine outside a nightclub back home, music playing, great food being served, people being thrown through the plastic windows or into the pizza oven. 

I used to have a big circus catering trailer with my late good friend Ian Scott in our early 30's, and we had it outside of a nightclub in Warrington in Cheshire and we had a blast, but it ended in tears one night for the drunken idiots that tried to turn it over while we were serving customers, and we just thought it was too much trouble, so maybe a mobile pizza restaurant is not such a good idea :) 

I really like Toulon, and I was met with loads of smiling people too. But tomorrow I head up the coast for just 40 km's and into the hills to a campsite and I'm really looking forward to it. I have my thermal PJ's and socks, as well as my t##t hat and thermal mattress, so I shouldn't be too cold I hope. 

Day 83

A beautiful day along the coast, then up into the hills to a campsite I found open. I was given a pitch under a shelter which is great to dry my washing :)
There are loads of barking dogs as usual coming from somewhere, so I’m just going to have to keep them awake with my snoring.

It’s a concrete floor but I have a Therm-A-Rest air mattress and another cheaper thermal air mattress to put under it.A down sleeping bag, air pillow, and I’m wearing thermal leggings, top, another top, socks, and all thermal. As well as, tracksuit bottoms, woolly bob hat, and sleeveless sweat top, so I’m expecting to be cozy.

The temperature isn’t even forecast to be in the minus :)

Day 84

Last night I was camped at the start of quite a hill with tons of steep switchbacks, no hard shoulder other than a drop into a gully, and it was a main route for a convoy of quarry wagons.

What would you do, all your navigation devices and apps are all telling you to go along the coast and not over the top. The coastal route will take you 50 km's, but going over the top will take you 33 km's, but will be much tougher, and maybe more scenic. After all, there is tons more coast to come?

We'll my choice was clear, I'm not having anyone or any thing telling ME what to do! :), so over the top I went. Sweat pouring, eyes bulging, OK the eyes bulging was a bit of an exaggeration, but once over the top I was treated to a beautiful valley and 20 km's of down or flat smooth road.

I'm now right opposite Saint-Tropez, a little farther along the coast northwards, but it looks beautiful from across the Gulf of Saint-Tropez

Tomorrow I will be in Saint-Raphaël for the night before continuing along this stunning coastline.

A beautiful valley of mostly downhill - depending on which direction you're riding of course - passing through La Môle Southern France.

Day 85

It rained the whole day, with the wind in my face as well, but I can't complain too much as I have had some lovely weather up until today.

Although there are thunderstorms and rain for tomorrow, the next 4 days will be great, maybe.
Soaked to the bone earlier, everything is getting dry now and it was still a great cycle along the coast.

Other than that, that's about it for today :) Other than this little pic of some really cute donkey's from yesterday.

Day 86

Not much happening today, more rain and stormy headwinds to spoil a stunning coastline. I will catch up on some internet and a movie or two.

I really want to see this coastline with the sun out, and the forecast looks good for the next week so great.

Day 87

Well this is more like it. The weather changed for the better, the wind behind me, and the ocean views were spectacular. I have discovered where all the money is, it's along this coastline. I have never seen boats like I have today in Cannes and other places along this stretch.

I was tempted to put a £100k deposit down on one, but the payments would have been £50k a day for the rest of my life at least, so that was that. It's a whole other world for sure.

I made such good progress today that I skipped the campsite I had planned for tonight and went straight on to the one I had planned for tomorrow night, and I never missed a thing. I met and chatted with some lovely people too.

Tomorrow I will be in Southern France, Monaco, and Italy all in the same day hopefully. But no problem if not, no rush.

Day 88

It took me all day until 5pm to do the 70 km to my campsite in Latte Italy, cycling through Nice and then Monaco, and it was a great feeling just to cross the Italian border, a real sense of achievement.

It was a slow day, mainly due to the lumps and pumps of the stunning coastline, but also because I really wasn’t in any rush.

I stopped twice to eat at little snack bars with views, and met and chatted to some really nice people who even offered me a place to stay that night, but I had another 60 or so km's to do, so had to push on, but what a really nice thing to offer.

The sun was out, the wind behind, what more could I want in a days cycle. Oh, and the campsites cool too.

Day 89

There is a storm looming for tomorrow morning, and when the rain is heavy I like to fling a tarp over everything, I find it easier to pack everything up because the bike and tent are mostly dry. The camp cats like it anyway.

Arrived north of Imperia, only to find out Maps.me had screwed up. I had actually passed my camp 4km back, so back I went, only to find they decided to close until April. It was supposed to be open all year.

Well I got talking to a really nice couple who gave me a 2 liter bottle of cold water and directions to a campsite open 2km farther back.

Just a few hundred meters along the road I passed a campsite sign and gates open, so I turned around and set up camp.
Dinner and coffee in, shower time and a movie on my laptop and sleep. I’m really pretty tired with all these bumps and my legs are too. Tomorrow with the weather forecast bad, I have a campsite less than 20km north ( I phoned :), so I will have a rest day doing a short cycle in crappy weather, ready for a much longer dry day after that.

Day 90

My tent survived the night. I was expecting my new camp cat buddies to be trying to scratch their way in, but they stayed clear. Fact: Cats hate snoring.

I set out with just 20 km's to do to a campsite, because it was torrential rain for the whole of the day, and I didn't want to try to make 70 km's to the campsite on the day after that, so I thought I would just chip 20 of the 70 while it was so bad.

I struggled up a huge hill for nearly 2 hours, with rain washing down the hill like a waterfall, crazy trucks and car drivers splashing me every chance they got, and as I reached the very top, I looked over the barrier and down to the bottom, where I could see a cycle path!!!!
I couldn't believe it, all that work up that hill, and I could have just taken the cycle path. But, I did look on Google maps and Maps.me and even Google Earth yesterday to see if I could see any sneaky cycle paths, and I couldn't. What a bummer hey :)

I reached my campsite soaking wet through, only to find the only spot available was a lump of tarmac under 50mm of water :). Oh no, it surely couldn't get any worse, I was wishing I had stayed where I was.

Nope, it got better really quickly. The trouble with cycling along a populated coastline, is that it's not often easy to find a wildcamp spot, so I started to look for cheap hotels for the night and found a great one for just £25. Considering the campsite wanted £17 for a puddle, I did really well.

All my gear is drying out, I'm having an evening meal, and breakfast is sorted too. I love this once in a while. I try to save staying in digs until I'm either drained or wet. Actually, that about covers just about every day hey :)

Day 91

A nice day with a few hills and some great views. I have to admit that between Andora and Borgio, the beaches are not as nice really. They are more a grey colour and not really maintained like farther south.

In fact, the area isn't all that pretty in lots of ways, well the coastline anyway. But it may get better as I get farther north.

I'm out for pizza in a few minutes, I've been told there is a really great pizza restaurant a few minutes walks away, we will see :)

Gave myself a haircut :O, with my electric shears of course, and I'm not so bad at it either. Not too patchy in places, and I can cope with the half dozen different lengths :)

Day 92

I gave up on BBC news a while back because they are a million miles from "fair and impartial", but I heard good things about the BBC Weather app. Well I fell for that one didn't I, it told me it would be sunny and a light breeze today all day.

Nope, chucking it down all day and windy in the wrong direction :) So a quick delete of the app was in order, I should have known better.

But, it was still a really good day. I cycled some amazing cliff roads with spectacular views. Met some really nice people, had my picture take a few times, and then I got stopped by the police in Varazze.

I was told I could not go any farther because the road around the coastline had been closed due to the Milan-San Remo bicycle race.
OK, so a quick look for some digs and I got myself a real bargain, right on the main drag where the cyclists were due to pass in an hours time. I had already done enough distance today in the crappy rain, and I only had 40km to Genoa, so hey. Home made lasagne for dinner tonight too.

I haven't had red meat for nearly 6 months, and very little in the way of dairy either. I have been on a plant and fish based plan all this time, but I'm not out to save to the world, it was really for health reasons, for which I haven't noticed any real benefits other than I pee a bit clearer. Sorry for the overshare :), and so I little meat and dairy from time to time is cool by me, I just won't be seeking it out like I used to.

Day 93

After a great nights sleep and my first ever Green Lasagna which was out of this world, I set out in the rain again, heading for Genoa. I arrived in Genoa soaking wet, again :), and settled into some digs to dry out and just feel a little bit better. 

I will be here in Genoa for a couple of days, take some snaps during a bit of sightseeing, and take those couple of days off that I said I would do, but never seem to get around to. I just get bored relaxing and want to keep moving, but I'm off for a few days now and that's that. It will give me time to catch up with some video editing, a movie, some washing, and burying myself in a really comfy clean bed.

From here, I will look at the route south through Pisa, Rome, Naples, then over to Brindisi. This next stage will probably take me 3 weeks or so, unless I pull my finger out and get cracking. 

As I head towards Greece, I'm hoping the weather will get that bit warmer and of course most campsites open up in a few weeks, so that will make things much easier because most of the campsites I located that were said to be open in March, were closed. It's not easy to find wild camping spots in the highly populated areas I have been cycling through recently, and that's OK, because I'm not a huge fan of solo wild camping too often. 

Day 94

:O I've bathed in piranha and caiman infested waters in the heart of the Brazilian Amazon, I've bungee jumped, swam with sharks, driven in cities in India, but cycling around the city of Genoa was something else.

This had to go down as my worst experience with dangerous drivers with not a second thought for the humble cyclist. I was pulled out on, cut up, nearly squashed between 2 trucks, and the list goes on.

I will be cycling through it again tomorrow as I exit, and to be honest I will be glad when I get out :) As for the city itself, I have to admit to being a lot less than impressed. A kind of Marmite feeling.

I had my camera and lenses loaded up and ready to go, but they didn't leave my pannier bag, all I did was take one picture with my iPhone and got out of dodge. I wasn't impressed with the picture I took, so here is one of my bike and coastline as I approached Genoa the other day.

Now I might be being a bit harsh, and it's quite possible that underneath its hard exterior it is a beautify vibrant city, and maybe I didn't give it much of a chance, but hey.

I did stop at a cafe and had myself a nice coffee and sandwich. I tried to enter the glass cafe by pulling open the glass door, and nearly brought the whole building down.

There were yelps from inside and arms waving as I pulled on what turned out to be a sliding door :) It had slide written on the door, but not in English of course, so hey. The faces on the people inside, wondering if this brute was going to bring the roof in on them was priceless. I did apologise of course :)

I'm looking forward to tomorrow and to pushing east. I still haven't decided whether or not to leave the coast from Pisa and head over to Florence, but I will see how I feel when I get nearer to Pisa. I have heard so many good things about Florence that maybe it would be a shame not to visit.

Day 95

Well the weather has been much better than the last few days as you can see by today's photo, and the wind was behind me.

Oh, the other night in Genoa I had the best pizza at the best pizza restaurant that I can remember. Ristorante Pizzeria Il Vicolo in Sestri Ponente district. I don't do many reviews, but this is different, everything about it was spot on.

I've been giving it some thought as to whether to head inland from Pisa to Florence or not, and to be completely honest, I'm not one for visiting romantic cities on my Jack-Jones, in fact I don't really like hanging around in cities much at all while on this solo cycle, I would rather just flash right through them, taking a few snaps as I go. Some things I feel are better in a couple or group, but that's me.

So I'm sticking with my original plan to cycle along or close to the coastline of Italy, all the way down to past Mount Vesuvius, through Pompeii and Solerno, before crossing overland through Potenza, to Taranto then Brindisi, taking quickly in the sights of Pisa, Rome, and Naples too along the way.

I love being near a coastline as I just love the ocean, and I'm really looking forward to coastline of Greece and the Islands.

Day 96

A nice 90 km's in still really quite cold weather. From Sarzana - roughly 60 km's north of Pisa, it's really flat as you down the coast, and so makes a welcome change from the bumps and lumps of late.

A cold cross wind was pretty ferocious, the worst I have yet experienced. Cycling on the SS1 road with no hard shoulder, I was battered by the wind trying to blow me off the road to the right, while high speed wagons tried to drag me to the left.

At a couple of times I actually had to get off my bike and wait for gaps in the traffic to edge my way along a section for about 1 km.

That said, it was a day were I managed a bit of extra distance, and the farther east I go, the warmer I'm hoping it's going to be.

I can do heat, and humidity, but I really don't do well in the cold. Some people don't do well in extreme heat, but not a problem for me, as long as I have plenty of water and some cream for my conk, I'm fine.

Day 97

Nice and dry and windy, although temperatures are not getting above 10c, but it's dry so that's great.

So what did I think of the Leaning Tower of Pisa? It was OK, it's not like I haven't seen it on a thousand photographs and videos, but it was just nice to pop by and take a snap.

It was heaving, I mean packed out. There were market stalls all over the place, touts and sellers of all sorts, armed soldiers, and basically what you would expect from a top tourist attraction. Pisa was quite a nice place, but 15 minutes and I was done and on the road again :)

I'm now flying - sort of - down the coast and should be passing Rome in about 4 days maybe.

The landscape is nice in parts and very industrial in most other parts, and it's when I pass through the industrial areas that I feel a little homesick and a bit lonely too missing loved-ones more. I think it's the greyness about those places if you know what I mean.

Well anyway, I'm all settled and I'm on the hunt for food, I had an amazing pasta dish last night with Langoustines, but I'm in the mood for pizza tonight.

Day 98 March 23 2018

The coastline along Tuscany is beautiful in parts thus far, especially so from San Vincenzo down. I don't like to compare one country to another, but there was a section I cycled through that reminded me of my cycle down parts of the Atlantic coast of France.

Pine trees close to the beach with cycle paths and really nice scenery. Coming up to Marina di Grosseto was a part that reminded me most of France, and it was a real pleasure cycling through.

I'm getting closer to Rome and I expect to be there in a few days. Thankfully the weather has been holding out for me, and although cold late in the day, most of the cycling is done when it's a little bit warmer. It managed a 12c today.

I'm really interested to see if the landscape I have been experiencing these last few days continues down the coast. I hope so.

Day 99

Here are a couple of map images for those who have asked me where I am, and because I can't think of a photo for today.

The top part is just something I knocked up but gives a better view of the landscape I think, and the bottom image is a screenshot from my interactive Google Map:


I have been averaging around 70 km's a day this last week, which is fine by me, and I know it's not a huge distance to you racing snakes and bikepackers, but to me it knackers me it's a good days graft.

I am enjoying it though and it's not a race. The weather is looking favourable for the next few days too.

Day 100

Day 100

That’s right, 100 actual days I have been away, not including my return to the UK. I’m pretty pleased with myself.

So I thought that while I’m on the coast and not far from Rome, that I would grab some cheap digs, drop the bags off and grab a train from the local station with my bike and go see the Colosseum, then return back to my digs after a nice meal.

I didn’t fancy cycling into Rome and back out again with all my gear, as it’s huge and finding a place to stay would be hard and expensive.

So I’m on the platform waiting for my train back to the digs and your getting a phone pic tonight with the bike in of course :)

Continuing down the coast tomorrow and to be honest I’m looking forward to crossing over to Brindisi and away from the coast. The good roads turn into motorways without notice, with no hard shoulder and they are no bike zones, leaving you boxed in, a crazy idea really.

Day 101

I have to say the driving here is a little on the rough side. I would rate the drivers here at the 3rd worst in the world I have experienced. 1st and 2nd go to Llandudno and Prestatyn, both in North Wales :) You think I jest.

I have experienced that the lorry drivers seem pretty good, giving me plenty of room and even holding back until they can get passed safely. Car drivers are something else entirely. Not all of course, but you know who you are :)

The sun has been cracking the flags today and it feels the warmest day up to now. Still not over 15c but getting there and a really pleasant temperature for cycling.

First trip to the launderette today since the 5th of March, and all the dark's went in with the lights, and the weight of the clothing after they came out of the dryer was considerably lighter. Sand and grit maybe?

Or course it's not the first time my clothes have been washed, I wash what I have been wearing at the end of each and every day, up to now at least. It's just that a trip to the launderette is ideal from time to time.

I will be somewhere near Anzio tomorrow and it should be a nice cycle along the coast if this weather holds out, and I'm expecting to be around Naples this weekend. Being as it's a holiday weekend, it might not be ideal and I will give it some thought.

Day 102

The days just tick along don't they.

I'm all sorted for 2 nights in Pompeii over the Easter Weekend which will give me a proper couple of days off to explore instead of zipping (OK crawling) from place to place, and there is no point in me trying to fight the traffic.

I'm still a few days away from that of course and some coastline down to Naples to cycle, which should be nice.

Then it's Salerno, towards Potenza, and over to Brindisi. My ferry will be leaving on Saturday 7th April so I have some pedalling to do.

The ferry takes me to Ladochorion in Greece, and from there it's more lumps and bumps down towards Partras or thereabouts, so if anyone has been along that way, let me know how it is and if you have any advice.

Day 103

When I look at my map app prior to setting out, it's the view you're all familiar with, the top down map view, the road view with a few patches of colour and some contours maybe.

As I don't often check the planned route with Google Earth or a satellite view, the map view is usually all I have to go on, like those who only use paper maps in a way, and that's OK because there could be a pleasant surprise in store, or just the opposite :)

These images give you an idea of what I mean. I set out with the map view, and even though the map view reveals a few contours, it doesn't show anything like the image I captured.

This is all pretty obvious stuff I know, but I just wanted to share with you a part of my day.

Day 104 - 29 March 2018

Thank you to a lovely young lady and her beautiful daughter for being so wonderful this morning.

I was in a bit of a rush trying to take this picture this morning as it was on a very steep hill and sharp bend under a bridge, and I needed to be in the middle of the road to get the best shot, of course :)

So I dash out first with my iPhone and grab the shot, not this shot, and then I place the phone on top of my Rack-Pack while I darted out with my Sony camera.

This is something I don't normally do, I always put my phone, wallet or other things back in their place on the bike or wherever when I have finished with them. OK so it seems not always.
So I set off. I had spent a few hours already today cycling up and down hills between Terracina and Formia as I headed towards Scauri, but this little towns street took some climbing.

I got to the top and opened my bar bag to find no phone! Oh crap, I instantly knew it was back down the hill somewhere so down I went.

I had passed a women and daughter as I climbed the hill, and as I went back down and around a bend, there they were, holding the phone up for me and smiling, knowing and waiting for me to return.

I couldn't believe it. A couple of credit cards were in the phone wallet too, and the phone is worth a few bob. I was so happy. It's people like this that really make your day. Wonderful.

Day 105 

Quite a sad day in part, an experience I really never expected. I have travelled to a lot of countries and seen some really bad conditions and dismal places, but my experience today was the worst I have ever had like that, ever.

There isn't much in the way of campsites open or places to wild camp on this second to last day to Pompeii, so I looked for a cheap hotel on my route and my satnav gave me a distance of 75 km's, not so bad but looking at the map and knew I could shave at least 15 to 20 km's off that.

I wasn't long into my days ride when I moved from the satnav to my route, and things changed drastically. It was as though I had crossed a bridge and everything turned black and white and grim, grimmer than a truly grim thing.

There was nothing really pretty between Formia and Lago Patria, but the worst spot of all was a 15 km stretch between Castel Volturno and Lago Patria. Broken glass and rubbish line the route, piles of rubbish with dogs and people picking through it all.

Prostitutes line the streets on both sides for the whole of this distance. I saw a hundred or so in just this 15 km section, and it was the middle of the day too so I could only imagine what it would be like at night.

It was upsetting to be honest. Sure I've seen prostitution and hardship in other countries around the world, and plenty of shows on TV, but nothing like this. It was a whole other level here. Young girls younger than my own daughters reduced of forced into this, high heals and makeup and hailing every car that went by. So sad.

But now for a few pluses. The hotel Mirage is great and I received a really great welcome and I'm all settled in with washing done, showered, and with a supermarket across the street it's time to get some supplies.

My ferry to Greece leaves on the 7th April from Brindisi and was originally going to drop me off in Ladochorion, a 7 hour sail and around 300 km's north of Patras, where I wanted to be but couldn't get a ferry without having to wait days in Brindisi, but...

I made a call to Direct Ferries yesterday and asked for help. I received an email this morning telling me they were able to change my ticket and get me on the ferry from Brindisi to Patras on the 7th at 9pm arriving at 1pm. Great news. The other ferry would have dropped me off at 11pm. Not a good time.

Not only that but now the sail is 16 hours long instead of 7, and I got a whole cabin to myself thrown in and no charges for all the messing around either. So I'm thrilled about that, and to be honest, I'm looking forward to a new country.

Oh :) And while I'm at it, I was so bothered about keeping my phone in sight, I took it out of the wallet, placed the wallet safely away, put the phone in the holder on my handlebars where I could see it, took the phone out when going into a shop, and dropped it and broke the front glass of my iPhone X. Not a cheap repair, but hey :) Never a dull moment with this nutcase :)

I should have known I was entering trouble when the first sign I saw was this one :)

Day 106

Valencia to Naples, was a part of this cycle that I knew would be challenging for me.

My first challenge at the start of my cycle was to just leave from Cheshire and reach Portsmouth :) This may sound like nothing much at all to most, but as a first time bicycle tourist it was huge.

It rained nearly the whole time and I wondered what the heck I was doing, I still do. I was developing cycling muscles from day one, and it hurt :) Yes, a few days of bicycle touring practice might have helped before setting out, but hey.

Then as you will likely recall, my next target once I crossed the channel, aside from protein, was San Sebastian. I passed through some beautiful places in France which I would love to return to someday, and I eventually arrived in San Sebastian.

Madrid. I wanted to reach Madrid so badly, but first I had Basque Country, then wide open spaces, then more mountains north of Madrid, but I arrived, and had a fantastic time for 10 days in this amazing city.

Reaching the coast was my next move, Valencia. From there Naples was almost opposite across the Med, but it was going to take some time before I would reach it, but reach it I did today.

Following the coastline from Valencia to Naples had its problems. Traffic was heavy, roads were mostly in need of repair, campsites were nearly all closed due to winter, and wild camping spots were thin on the ground, so by my wishing to follow the coastline, I had my fair share of cheap digs, but I was warm most of the time, and always well fed :)

So there it is, another huge target for me reached. Tomorrow I'm spending the day exploring Pompeii and the ruins and sites, it should be interesting.

Day 107

A wet start for my day of rest, but it soon picked up and turned out a nice day to visit the ruins of Pompeii, then visit the archaeological site :)) Just kidding, Pompeii itself is really quite nice to be honest, a complete contrast to Naples.

I was so impressed with the cobbled streets at the site, they were as deep as they were across, they were huge. They certainly planned for the future, but having said that, if that were true they wouldn't have built the town there.

It was the floor and ground areas that impressed me most, probably due to a life in the building industry and in hard landscaping. Some of the tiled areas were really beautiful.

But of course there's no going to the sites without seeing the poor creatures that perished. There was a dog, a small child, and quite a few adults, but I was sort of hoping that they would be more accessible, and not behind glass and out of the way.

Not that I wanted to touch them, just that I sort of imagined a room where you could walk around them all, or something like that.

The theatre where gladiators fought was quite impressive too.

So now my washing's done, I'm showered and in PJ's :), and ready to start heading across Italy towards Brindisi tomorrow. I have until the 7th to be there so plenty of time.

Then it's goodbye Italy at below 15c and hello Greece at over 20c. That will make such a difference from this last month.

Day 108

So what do you do in Salerno to relax on a break, you get out your tackle and you fish :)

A beautiful sunny day on the dock and I thought I would set up my gear and do a bit of spinning.

No luck but it was nice all the same. Salerno wasn’t all that, it was OK and better than a lot of places along the coast I’ve been to at first glance, but some nice clean sandy beaches would help.

Broken bottles and rubbish littered the beaches, plastic bottles knee deep in places, and It’s a real shame and pretty typical of most of the beaches I have seen along the coast.

I haven’t seen a sole clearing litter or debris from beaches. Other than that, I’m now done on this side of Italy and heading inland. I’ve been told by many here that where I’m heading isn’t very nice :O

Day 109

Yesterday, while fishin at the dock of the bay, watchin the tide roll away, sittin on the dock of the bay wastin time, I had a brainwave! My brainwaves sometimes turn out more like brainfreezes, so don't expect much :)

I was thinking about the few days I had left in Italy before my ferry to Greece and how best to make use of them, so I decided I wanted to cycle the coastline on the Adriatic Sea side to see what that was like.

It would have taken me 4 days or more to reach the ferry going directly to Brindisi from Salerno, so I would instead get myself to Foggia a days cycle from the coast and farther north, then cycle down along the coast for 4 days to Brindisi.

Now if any of you haven't tried to get a fully loaded bike on a train or two, you're in for a real treat. I managed to work out how to get a ticket to Potenza, my first stop, as I couldn't get a ticket all the way to Foggia and thought I would have to stay in Potenza overnight.

There was no lift between platforms in Salerno so I had to drag the bike up a crap load of stairs to get on the platform, nobody offered to help, pretty typical, but just as I get near the top, a guy tries to squeeze past going down.

I couldn't believe it, I said "are you f-in serious?" He stood their looking at me like deer in headlights, I said "don't just stand their, f-off!," which he did of course. Your guessing I was annoyed hey :)

The train didn't arrive in Potenza until 6pm and as I rolled my bike down the 30 steps to get off the platform (no lift) I got to the bottom, looked up to the opposite staircase to the same platform and could see a lit sign saying Foggia, in 8 minutes.

I dragged the bike back up the 30 steps onto the platform with no ticket, I just thought sod it, I have little option at this time but to just get on it without and see what happens. Luckily the train guard was really understanding and let me on.

I met a lovely 21 year old Chinese student named Nuoqi Li from Beijing who was living in Foggia and who I was chatting with at the station in Salerno. She happened to be going to Foggia and could speak Italian and English, so we had each others company for the few hours which was really nice.

So my days cycle today was from Foggia which is inland, to Barletta on the coast. A cycle of 65 km's and I was in no rush. On the train to Foggia the landscape was beautiful, but rubbish everywhere spoilt it for me.

The cycle today was also spoilt by rubbish everywhere, but I'm still hoping the ocean, which I haven't seen yet, is much cleaner and nicer. The next few days cycling will be all coast so I have my fingers crossed.

Day 110

A really nice day.

To start with a really nice guy cracked open a couple of expensive bottles of cold water and filled my bike bottles. That saw me on my way with a smile, and on I went through quite a bit of industry.

It wasn't long however before things started to pick up. There was less rubbish, I was close to the sea and I saw my first person collecting rubbish from the beach, and the water looked super inviting.

Just north of Bari is a quiet but really nice little town and small fishing harbour called Santo Spirito. I watched the boats coming in and fresh prawns and other sea creatures being sold as soon as they landed.

Had myself my first ice-cream in Italy which went down really well with a beer, and, I cycled on a good few km's of dedicated cycle path to get their. It was pristine, like brand new, and I only passed a couple of other cyclists.

So all being well it will continue like this for the next few days to Brindisi. My next stop tomorrow is Monopoli. I have secured myself a guest house smack bang in the harbour town and if I can get there before 1pm (60 km's) I get my key, otherwise it will be 4pm, but hey, either way, no rush.

You can almost see my smile can't you :)

Day 111

Polignano a Mare on the way to Monopoli was a suggestion to me today, and it turned out well worth a look. Hard to believe such a large part of the town is hanging off a cliff, and there are huge caves underneath it too.

I can only imagine the cost of house insurance if it were back in the UK. But it was great to see, and although between towns here on the coast here up to now is really crummy, the towns have made up for it.

Bari was a surprise today to be honest. It was so rotten on the approach, and on exit, but a really nice city centre. Monopoli is really lovely, I do like it here and I'm in an amazing guest house tonight with a stone ceiling and all really modern, slap bang in the middle of the old town on the harbour.

In a lot of towns in Italy I have noticed, gangs of retired older men gather to chat about what, I have no idea, but they seem to be enjoying themselves and they let on, especially on this side up to now.

It's like I'm an alien, maybe they don't get too many bicycle tourists coming through. Having said that, I don't really remember seeing that many in Liverpool either, maybe they just don't make it :)

That said, I did pass another bicycle tourist today going the other way and we both said hi in passing. It was only when I got farther down the road that I remembered the obstacle course I had to traverse a few km's back.

The road ran out and became a narrow litter covered cliff above the beach, then metres deep of seaweed and crap, then a field which must have once been where a wide river ran to the sea, and to finish off, a 2m concrete wall.

It was the only pass because of the motorway. I had to unload my bags and throw my bike over the wall. So, I'm really sorry if you are the bicycle tourist reading this, because I should have remembered and told you which direction you would have to go in and how to tackle the seaweed.

I can only feel better knowledge that she was a bicycle tourist, and therefore I imagine she is a great problem solver out of necessity, and managed to find her way through no problem. In fact, she probably found a great cycle path, unlike me :)

Day 112

It was time to lighten the load today. I have sent home a few things I either haven't used yet, or that I'm unlikely to use going forward for some time.

So amongst other things, the Fondue Set / Foot Spa Combo has gone :)

My host has kindly printed out my boarding pass for the ferry to Greece tomorrow, and I'm only 30 km's from the port.

I thought that as it was kick out 10.30 am from my digs, I would take a chilled cycle to the port, have some lunch somewhere nice, and tea in Brindisi, then arrive at the port and get the heck out of Dodge.

Glad to be having a room to myself on the ferry for 17 hours, I will be out like a light as usual, spreading myself out on the upper and lower bunks :), resurfacing (so to speak) when I please on Sunday.

I have much preferred this coastline and the cycle down from Foggia, through Barletta, Trani :), Santo Spirito, and other great little fishing villages. Now that I have experienced this stretch, I would love to know what the higher reaches are like.

If I were every to cycle through Italy again :), I would cycle down the Adriatic Coast. Not up, because they have a vicious wind that started today and I hardly had to pedal, and I sure wouldn't want to be heading into it.

The tiny fishing villages all seem to have boats coming in with a catch. The fish weren't much, but there were piles of clams and prawns everywhere. Not much to do on this side, but I think it's far more pleasant.


Well, Direct Ferries have just phoned me and dropped a right one on me.

I'm no longer booked in for the ferry I paid for tomorrow night to Patras Greece, because there was never a ferry to Patras tomorrow night!

Instead, they have changed my booking to Igoumenitsa, 300 km's north of Patras and nowhere near where I want to go.

The agent told me they were sorry and there had been a mistake selling me the ticket, but that I would arrive at 11.30pm at the new destination, which is not a good time at all.

So I have a choice to make, I spend the best part of a week cycling my way from Igoumenitsa to near Patras to continue on my route, or, I wait 4 days here in Brindisi or surrounding area for the right ferry to take me to Patras on the 11th.

4 Days doing not much at all really, or maybe more days cycling a part I have no interest in cycling.

I have to let the company know by morning. I'm not happy but hey...

Day 113 - End of Italy Cycle

Addio Italy, and Χαίρετε Greece.

Yes, I chose to go with the new destination I was assigned last night, rather than wait 4 days for another ferry to Patras, because after this issue I wouldn’t trust that there will be a ferry in 4 days.

Not only that, but it will give me a real good look at Greece away from the hustle and bustle.

I’ve never been to Greece so it will be an experience for sure. It feels like a whole new adventure. Especially after the last 3 weeks cycling through Italy.

My plan is to make my way down to Patras over the next few days and hopefully find some great camping spots with great views, so I’ve been shopping and stocked up with pasta, sauce, some instant meals, and a new gas bottle, so I’m ready to go.

I was surprised to find I still had a cabin on this short trip, but I ain’t complaining. I’m on this tug already, they let me on 3 hours before departure, first one on.

it’s 10 hours before I land in Greece, which means, shower time, a movie, and plenty of z’s.