72 km, 3h 45 min
We began yet another beautiful sunny day in Italy doing yoga on the beach (our hotel room was just too small). It did not take long before we were on the road with what began as a slight tail wind. After about 15 minutes, the wind at our backs was stronger (maybe 20 km/hr) and the roads were flat, so we were making terrific speed.
As we left Crotone the scenery was not spectacular – it was industrial. We were on a nice side road with very little traffic, and we were moving along at 27 – 30 km/hr, so we were enjoying it. Eventually the scenery changed from industrial to farm land. It was a different kind of agriculture than we have been observing so far. Gone were the olive and fruit trees, replaced with lettuce, fennel, and other ground crops.
After 18.5 km, we had somehow missed a turn and our road ended. Up until today, the signage for the roads in Italy has been amazing. At every intersection, even on the minor roads, there were signs indicting which town or highway was to be found at the end of the road – but not today. Our nice little side road had no sign. Scott stopped to ask directions and unfortunately the person thought we were trying to go to Crotone. He guided us back to the main road to Crotone, from where we had just come! He stopped again, and we were able to explain better the second time. He confirmed that the turn we had seen (in both directions) was the correct one, and we were able to get back on track. Our detour was only about 4 km.
From there, we were back on the main highway. It had a nice shoulder and was still rather flat, so we made good time.
At about 3:15 pm, we stopped in Cariati for a nice sweet snack. The wind was still strong, but now it was occasionally gusty. The road had turned slightly west, such that the wind was at our sides rather than at our back. Becky was wondering if we should just stay in Cariati as there were at least a couple of 2-star hotels. Scott still wanted to try and find a spot to wild camp, so we did a preliminary washing off at the café and then hopped back on our bikes seeking a place to camp. About 15 minutes later, we came across a campground. We figured we’d give it a try. We were amazed to discover that it was open! The restaurant associated with it is closed on Tuesdays, so we did not have an option to eat out. That was OK with us, as we had planned to make our own dinner tonight anyways – we both were looking forward to a meal with more vegetables. So we aren’t quite wild camping, but at least we’re in our tent for the night – far cheaper, and quite cozy.
When we pulled into the campground, the owners – Mario and Madeline – offered us a coffee. That made Becky finally clue in to how hospitality in Italy is often demonstrated by the offering of coffee. On several other occasions, people have offered us coffee, but Becky never clued in that it was a demonstration of hospitality.
As we were setting up our tent, one of the German tourists camping offered us a beer. I think that is how German’s demonstrate hospitality
Shortly after dinner, it began to rain. So, just like in Canada, we are tenting in the rain. It feels like home!