We’ve finished our five-plus days of cycling with Zephyr Adventures, and it was a great experience. I’m not sure what all to say about it except … I love bicycling. Add Italian food and wine, the Adriatic coast, a fun group of people, and mostly nice hotels and there is plenty to like. The longest ride was about 69 kilometers, or 43 miles, the first 40-plus ride I’ve done in a long time.
If you’re wondering, Mark’s neck/back/arm problem was an aggravation the entire trip, limiting his ability to go longer distances. But we both enjoyed it enough that we’re already thinking about scheduling something similar when we get to Vietnam. Here are some of my favorite photos.
Bicycling on an ancient Roman road – connecting Rome to Brindisi – right down to the Adriatic Sea
Of course, there are going to be some problems. Amy’s flat tire shouldn’t have been a big problem except it wasn’t the only one she got that day. And since we only had two spare tires for her bike and no patch kits (should have been provided…), when she got her third flat for the day her riding was done.
Mark makes a friend in the driveway outside our hotel in Pezze di Greco
I did the long route, an extra 29 HILLY kilometers, on day three alone. My lunch was tuna tartar, salad, and a glass of wine. For me, bicycle touring used to mean peanut butter sandwiches. I still like peanut butter, but this is better.
Mark and me in the town of Ostuni, overlooking the Adriatic. You learn eventually that Romans and Italians built their towns on hills, which means you have to climb up there. The views are worth it. And before you laugh at my bright orange shirt, there was not a chance in hell a driver was not going to see me.
Our final stop was in the town Polignano a Mare. This happy statue is Domenico Modugno. You may not have heard of him, but you have most definitely heard him – he recorded the iconic 1950s Italian song “Volare” and this was his home town. Even before I knew who he was, I loved the sense of exuberance; he just looks so happy!
Wade & Marci at our farewell dinner in Polignano a Mare
Our last ride was up the coast, past fields like this.
The ride was over, and Mark & I took a quick train to Bari to catch a longer train back to Naples. We missed the train to Naples by minutes so we had to kill almost four hours in Bari until the next train. We stumbled into this fabulous trattoria that served this … whatever it is Mark was holding. It had the size and texture of a grape, but the seed of an olive. And it was slightly cooked. We’re betting it was a grape, but we’ll never know for sure. Stumbling into a place like that is what I love about traveling.
OK, that was the bike trip. Suffice it to say that we loved it. But then the question arose, where do we go now? We had (note tense) frequent flyer tickets to Bangkok for October 11 and assumed we’d go to Rome for the intervening six days. Hotel rooms were crazy though – $500 for a crappy room, $1,200 for a nice one. Crazy. Instead we decided to go back to Naples; we had felt when we left a month ago that we hadn’t had enough time so let’s go back. We don’t really need six days here, though, so we were able to rebook our Bangkok flight up two days; now it’s four days here and then we fly on October 9. Very excited to get to Southeast Asia … and look for new bicycling trips!