I’d made it and I was a very happy bunny, yes I was behind schedule and yes I was only just over the border to Italy, but I didn’t say I was going to do anything other than cycle to Italy. Time was running out and having made it to Oulx I headed straight to the train station where a very helpful member of staff sorted out my three trains to get me to Bologne the next day. I then looked for a hotel nearby and set off. The hotel was really nice and my bike was stored inside the lobby. I walked up through the little town and found a small bar serving food. It was my first Italian meal and I made sure it was very Italian. Tagliatelle, Tiramisu and some Italian beer. It was late by the time I got back to the hotel and sleep came easy.
I was up early, packed and filled on breakfast goodies. I had promised myself no cycling today. I was truly going to let the train take care of getting me back on track, so to speak. Then with the bike loaded it was a short walk to the station. I arrived in plenty of time to get some photos and do some video. As I reached to get my phone I pulled out the hotel key! So 20 minutes into the day I was on the bike and pedalling back to the hotel. Looping back to the station I had a short wait before the train to Turin.
On board the bike sat happily against the un-openning doors of the carriage and I sat close by, just in case they should open. We chugged off and I got on with the blog, trying not to be distracted by the countryside whistling past. Within an hour we arrived at Turin and I had an hour wait before my next train to Milan. The station was modern and clean with fine clothing stores and amazing gelato shops. It was here I first noticed the immaculate presentation of Italians. Beautiful people who seem to represent a wonderful lifestyle, it made me wonder how much was real and how much a front. But it didn’t matter they looked great.
Turin to Milan was uneventful and instantly forgettable, as was the quick change at Milan.
Milan to Verona
Onto the third train to Verona. This time I got on and placed the bike across the opposite doorway, which was a mistake. Every station had a platform on that side and as the train was packed there was nothing I could do but stand with it and move a little at every station for those getting on or off. It was a baking hot day on a packed train with all the available windows open it was still very unpleasant and I was pleased after two hours to be at Verona. It was due to be a quick change but this train was late and I’d missed my connection to Bologna. It was just a 30 minute wait and that train was new and air conditioned. I got in the rear carriage and stowed the bike as best I could. With two minutes to departure the guard told me all cycles should be at the front. I rushed to the front with the special cycle store. What followed was a saga of trying to lift the bike vertical into the special rack and attach a clamp to the frame. It wasn’t happening and in the end, because they insisted it stay in the rack, it balanced on the rear wheel completely unsupported and more likely to fall. At later stations 3 other cyclist simply leant their bikes against the racking as I had wanted to. Anyway we got to Bologna without issue and an route I booked the Hotel Europa. It’s cheap cost was not reflected in the quality.