“Ability is what you’re capable of doing. Motivation determines what you do. Attitude determines how well you do it.” Lou Holtz

"I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand." Confucius

Sunday, 29 July 2012

Moving day

From Follina to Feltre.
The owners of my BnB were very kind inletting me stay until 2pm...I had hoped to watch the RR on tv but both the Italian and German progs I cld get weren,t giving it much time....twitter was much better.
I squeezed in a 90 min ride trying in vain to find WW1 memorials..plenty of signs up but clearly I haven,t the code or whatever 'cos I can never find whatever it is the sign is pointing to!

The drive from Follina to Feltre was spectacular,  must return to take pix.  The weather was very humid for the drive and so I got out of the car with shorts wet in a somewhat suspicious pattern!

I found the school easily enough thank you GPS and when I met up with someone from the school .?name I discovered my appartment was only a 3 minute walk away.  BUT and there's always a BUT...first I had to get my car through this:

From the other end:

and this is my car and my apartment..1st floor +balcony.  Good size, but I have a sneaky feeling I'm going to be sharing although I had asked not to share.

All absolutely fantastic...apart from the church bells..how come I always get places near churches?!

Todays ride was for exploration as well as fitness and as luck would have it I got both...somehow I lucked onto THE popular training route in the area.....squads a plenty plus a squillion solos. I crossed the River Piave 3 times, the first on a wooden single lane bridge while trying to follow signs for a WW1 museum...on arriving at the other end of the bridge there was a T junctiion but no further signs for the museum. I eventually found someone to ask only to discover that after the bridge one turned left and it was about 5km along that road!! Doh! Anyhooo...on the map below its at point B...point A being Follina where I was staying for the 3 days days prior.

The biggest piece of luck is that next weekend Feltre has a Palio..like in Sienna..horse, races, flags the whole shebang....lucky lucky lucky

Saturday, 28 July 2012

Random Musings

Prosecco country..vineyards to the left, right, in front and behind
  • If the really real reason for stopping on a slogging looong uphill is to take a photo...it doesn't count as a stop...right? 
  • When in Italy, how do you tell if a driver is foreign?  they stop at pedestrian crossings, indicate which way they're planning on turning and vaguely keep to the speed limit.
  • As above regarding a cyclist?...they go out in the siesta time ie 1230-1600..it's hot, but the roads are quiet.
The bike's BB is now quiet...not totally but almost.  The TT bike has finally been unpacked and is currently with the bike shop being pimped..ie brake, gears and saddle height being tweaked...the saddle is a major problem for me..once the bolts are loosened you have to give the saddle a good belt to make it move and I just don't have the explosive power to do that.

All I need now is to find a bike shop with a box for my return trip as I've ditched the bike bag..it would never survive another encounter with baggage handlers..the decathlon shop near Treviso that I'd been banking on has closed down.

This was the third of these signs proesting plastic bottles.  What I fail to comprehend is why people here buy mega large amounts of bottled water when tap water is drinkable
Tomorrow I move from Follina to Feltre for a 2 week stay attending an Italian language school there.  I'm lucky enough to have a scholarship for 1 of the weeks, so that lessens the financial load a bit.  Map: A is where I am today, B where I will be tomorrow:

This pix below might look to be just a lump of old moss covered stone, but it's actually the remains of a gun emplacement from 1917. Italy had suffered a major defeat in what is now Slovenia at the hands of the Austro Hungarian army with the help of the Germans. By the time the armies got to this point I think the German army had left the others to it and finally the Italians managed to stop the retreat and had begun to regain the area they'd just lost. There is a museum at Vittorio Veneto that i will try and visit, but in any case there are many villages here that are called "........da Battaglia" indicating the location of a battle, so if I don't get to the museum, I can visit these villages which also have displays.

and finally final:
  •  I've been in Italy for 2 weeks and if I have to eat any more pasta I might have to get feral! (the culture absorption bit seems to have failed) 
  • I keep being asked if I'm German which is certainly different from last year when everyone assumed I was English.  However, given the finacial problems between Germany and Italy (and Greece of course) it's perhaps not a good thing to be thought a German right here and right now.

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Ahhhh..finally a quiet moment or two

while I wait for the bottom bracket of my bicycle to be mended...hopefully..although since it's a brand they've not seen before (Lightning) it's possible they can't mend it.

Assorted pix from Follino nr Vittorio Veneto..

Roman Cloisters

I love old moss covered bridges

This fire is in the dining room of my BnB..not just for show either, they use it for heat and to cook on during the winter

and finally this is one of the reasons I have to travel to Italy and Austria!...It would save me heaps of $$$ if some firm would produce coffee flavoured yoghurt in Oz!

Assorted pix from my stay near Rome

Sperlonga is a seaside spot where Tiberius had his summer home. These pix are of the fresh water ponds he created/had created right next to the sea which are/were actually a fish farm

Nemi..a small town on the edge of a volcanic lake. Caligula had a pretend navy here and we visited the museum where the remains of the ships were on view. They had been excavated fairly intact in 1940 but subsequently were burnt down

Really really old Roman road complete with ruts where wheels have worn the stone down. The Appian Way is where Crassus crucified 6,000 slaves after the 3rd Servile War (of Spartacus fame)

Rome to the dolomites

a 7 hour drive mostly on the autostrada with one of those  interesting GPS designed final run arounds...up and over a mountain with 6 or 7 switchbacks to finally get me to my destination and consequently leaving me with little idea of where I went or the general layout of the area.

 When I got over the lump  I joined the main road again...doh!

One of my priorities when I'm OS is to get a decent sun tan (politically incorrect of course but who gives a proverbial)....anyhow I now have a VERY tanned left arm from the drive!..rest of me will just have to catch up later...could always drive back and sorta even it up;-)

pix will follow..gotta dive out to the shop to get something to nuke feral mozzies with.....

Sunday, 22 July 2012

For anyone wondering what the weather is like near Rome

I did some hand washing about 40 minutes ago (hand washing = somewhat wet when it was hung on the line) and at least half of it is dry already.   Probably explains why I'm getting so tired....the heat, not the hand washing;-).

However we are waiting with aeroguard in hand for the rain which is due soon...death to all mozzies.....

Sadly there's no TV in my room and for some reason I can't get rai3 on my computer so depite being not million miles away from TdF, I've not been able to watch it.

Friday, 20 July 2012

Total immersion Italian classes + training

leave almost no time for anything else...including blogging, going to the bank ,the supermarket, the bike shop etc etc.

my days have been something like this:

0500 get up
0530 out on the bike
0815 leave BnB to walk to the house via the cafe
0900 brekky
1000 start classes
pm outing
2100 evening meal
2230-be driven home for bed

the loooong days and the heat have caught up with me today and I've begged off having an evening meal, settling for  a sandwich in my room instead.

I think the nail in the coffin regarding my fatigue was yesterday's ride  which started and ended in the heat of the afternoon and which was supposedly 40km long...or at least that's what I thought it was until I realised the man telling me the info was English and he was talking in miles..so it turned out to be somewhat longer than anticipated.o
 Since I don't "do" sitting  on the beach, while the others were sitting on the beach, I was riding home via a bicycle shop (natch!)

I was particularly grateful for the presence of these umbrella pine trees which created shade on the road and also gave me markers for intervals.

Beach to city ride

another ride to a volcanic lake..the lake to the north is where the Pope has his summer residence

eye candy

Saturday, 14 July 2012

So now I'll start complaining about the heat, the mozzies, the humidity!

Spotted and pixed...anything to lighten the horror of a long wait at an airport transit area!

And todays ride..1 hour on blocked legs....was an exploratory  expedition to ensure I could find my house again which is located on the Via Appia Vecchia (old road) and on the way I found this treasure:

called the  Via Appia Antica (no translation needed I think) and took 1 look, 1 pix then turned and left!

 Cultural shift time.....evening meal finished at 10pm
 last night and I'm about to have brekky..its 0930.

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Castel Gandolfo earthquake

 Soooo.... about 1/3 the way from where I'm going to be in 2 days time (Velletri) to Rome is a town called Castel Gondolfo  and I've just read that this is not only where  the Pope has his summer residence but it's also where the latest Italian earthquake (yesterday) had it's epicentre.

Castel Gondolfo...I just hope I can ride AND look at the views!

So to answer the question I've been asked a few times lately ..."are you excited"..   hmm  perhaps more worried than excited!

Apparently the locale is called the Castelli Romani area...so I can envisage I'm going to be spending  a bit of time  exploring it and if you check a couple of posts back you'll find a proposed bike ride going right through that area...a ride proposal made in total ignorance of what the area had to offer.

As a bit of research prior to my trip I've been delving into ancient Roman history and have discovered THE most fantastic podcast called "The History of Rome" by Mike Duncan..free, gratis and for nothing at iTunes.  Highly recommended.

2 more sleeps
2 more rides
and a bit of packing

woo! hoo!...out of wet cold and thoroughly miserable weather into hot, sticky, uncomfortably  humid weather, mozzies and earthquakes!

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Riding the eastlink bike trail

can be fun/a bit dangerous...what with families, unskilled cyclists, skate boarders, paint ballers, runners, walkers etc etc

I had to be rugged up for the cold, cos when I left home the temp was still in single figures.  After the post ride re-fuel came the nanna nap...made very neccessary due to late night TdF watching.

I got an email from my Rome host reminding me not to forget the aeroguard/raid....and a hat!...and light clothes and sandals.....must be a proforma email for people from cold countries!

Saturday, 7 July 2012

just testing how to blog+ pix on the Asus tablet

ok download Garmin to  an app called Sport Tablet, open up map then press that icon third from the left on the bottom left=screen shot, then add as normal.  If I want to edit it: using a groovy app called Photo Editor(!) I can have a bit of fun:

ok so watching the TdF and early morning training just don't mix

but at least today the weather is ok for a road ride

patiently waiting

Friday, 6 July 2012

Where I'm staying 13-25 July

red bubble marks the spot and there's Rome top left. I can see a couple interesting looking routes around some lakes...

or even

Thursday, 5 July 2012

1 week to go

and the TT bike and it's wheels are already on their way via Jetta and Thai airways. They should arrive in Rome next Thursday or Friday and since I arrive on Friday I'm rather hoping they'll be there for me to claim them  when I arrive.

Today I trial packed the rest of my stuff, plus road bike and 2 sets of wheels and am well within the 30kgs checked baggage +7kg carry on allowance.  

Experience from the past 2 years has made me realise that while freighting a bike over to Europe with Jetta is not toooo expensive, bringing it back is.  Sooo instead of wasting mega bucks on freighting the TT bike back, I'm wasting on myself.... flying  business class...for the 40 kgs allowance but also for the comfort....

7 more sleeps and  I'll be glad to get away from:  
  • the cold weather
  • the wet weather
  • having to watch the TdF during the wee hours
  • the awful, awful ads during TdF.

Monday, 2 July 2012

testing using the tablet

Here we go again!

so far so good!
bit limited with pix but there'll be a work around somewhere..just gotta find out how..this pix is from the tablet itself...soooooo.....of to Italy  "next week", but loads to do before that day.....