The chair lift takes us back to the milling Maratona fields where we can see the registration queue stretching for half a mile down the road. There is no escaping the registration queue – you have to do it if you want to do the event, and I am not sure which is more grueling. We stand for more than an hour, making bets about how long it will be (Jim wins – I am way too optimistic). The reward is that the goody bag entrants receive is full of good things, including a bottle of prosecco and the Maratona Cycle Jersey, which seem to be something of a coveted item. The sizing of these jerseys is not very accurate (well not for English men) and the Hall is full of people stripping off and squeezing into tight jerseys before going to swap them (another queue)
Shuttle buses are laid on to cope with the amount of people (over 9,000 ride the event every year) and we are eager to see what our new quarters will be like. It is wonderful, with more superb views out into meadows and mountains, this time looking North to the Sasshonger and Ciampac Mountains. We are in the slightly more ‘affordable’ half of the hotel, – a subterranean passage takes you to the other half, where we peep into gigantic cornucopic swimming pools, bars heaped up and running over with every type of exotic drink and ornament you can image, all in an opulent and lush darkness illuminated by art nouveau lamps. We try a home made pine schnapps made by the hotel, and it is delicious.