6,500 KM CYCLE; DAY 41, Malonno to Poncarale

Day 41 Wednesday 11 Jluy

Poncarale, near Brescia, Italy. Valley terrain, hot and windy.

99km. Total 2455km.

Of course we feel much better after sleeping and begin the descent to the Po valley again, along busy roads because there are no others. We breakfast on a humpbacked bridge, with jam and bread and continue in a transport style café. A friendly shop owner tells of his friend who studied graphics in London, and then shakes his hand in the gesture we have come to recognise as meaning ’hard work’. From the window of the bar I can see the most impressive Italian mountain I have seen. A mass of white rock, the same whitey tone as the sky, very sharp and tall, with snow in crevices.

Down the busy road we cycle to Lake Iseo, hating the lorries and the pollution. At a long dark tunnel we try a lakeside road but it is too crumbled away to follow and we turn back. In fact the road is one of the most pleasant of the day, with cypress trees planted along the lake, traffic free, the water, a misty view of an island. There are more tunnels, which I negotiate alone as Guy has gone up ahead, and I try to go as fast as possible to get out of them safely. The day has become very hot and we sweat along, finding the route with difficulty now that we have a choice of roads.

Towns are erratically and irrationally signposted. Finally at a bar we eat home made ice cream, have another wash then ask at another farm about camping. It is a large beautiful spacious white building with dark interesting interiors. A man and son are working on a lawn mower, he says we can camp anywhere, and shows us a place on his lawn, beneath shady fruit trees. He brings us a bowl of apricots and plums in water, which we eat , relaxing, clean after hosing down under a spigot near the road. As we are still eating, the boy runs across with a colander full of peaches and plums I have just seen them picking, and which are still warm from the sun.

Now I lean against a fruit tree, the air is still how the sun a flat red disc, leaves fall, making me think of melancholy dark English Autumns.   The bags are packed ready for tomorrow and already on the bikes. A combine harvester is still working and I can smell the hay.


1984_07_11 Pancarale

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