I have to hand it to Volker; he led us down dirt roads, dirt paths, paved roads so narrow there was barely room for a car (we thought they were bike paths but they were all two-way streets). He guided us around, ahead of, behind and through three thunderstorms and a herd of sheep. We never would have found these routes on our own, and we are truly grateful for his efforts. And since we are in his hometown, Padova, his cycling friends joined us for dinner.
In case you think this is a vacation, think again. We started off the day by interviewing Alessandro, the manager of the Residenza Domus Clugiae, our hotel last night. This wonderful place is near the historic center of town, only a kilometer way from the maddening crowds at the beach. And it really wasn’t ‘us’ doing the interviewing, it was Tom and Ginny with Volker interpreting. Since I am the photographer, I bike around the block and took a few practice shots.
Volker led the group into an old monastery in Correzzola. We had a coffee and an ice cream at the Hotel LaCorte, along with a short history lesson and interview. The hotel is in one section, town hall in another, and the rest is in various states of picturesque decay. The hotel is also listed as bicycle-friendly on FIAB’s internet site called Albergabici (if you’re touring Italy, search this one on Google). The proprietor paid for our coffee and Volker treated for the ice cream. It was a relaxing dalliance that we would pay for an hour later in a thunderstorm.
We have only been in Italy for a week and a thunderstorm or two has moved through nearly every late afternoon or early evening. We have been lucky and have avoided the heavy rain while getting to enjoy the thunder and occasional bright flash of lightning off in the distance. We thought our luck would continue as the darkness moved away and the sun emerged. That’s when it started to rain as the “tail” of the thunderstorm whipped over us. But it was warm, we rode out of it, and then beat another storm as we cycled into Padova. And, as expected, the sun would return for an evening stroll through the largest piazza in Italy, 54 statues surrounding a pool, designed by the Romans to collect water.