14 km, 1 hr
This afternoon, Andreas gave us a tour of Nicotera . We learned that the town is older than Rome, originally established around 600 BC. The town originally was much larger, covering the area between Nicotera and Rosarno (where we stayed last night). The castle in town was built by the Normans around 1200 AD. As well as giving us a place to stay, Andrea took us on an interesting tour of Nicotera. This included the church, with detached bell tower. The restoration of the church was one of Andrea’s father’s last projects before he died.
The town is built on a large hill that overlooks the surrounding valley. From the town, we could see the gantries in Gioia Tauro. Unfortunately, it has been foggy, such that we could not see far. Andreas tells us that on a clear day you can see Sicily and Stromboli, and on a really clear day you can
see Etna (the active volcano in Sicily, which is the tallest mountain in Europe?).
Andrea has done a lot of travelling in his time – he says he has been to 55 countries, which is pretty impressive. He’s currently working for the Fire Brigade – 24 hours on, 3 days off, which gives him time to plan his next adventure – a trip from north to south in Africa.
This afternoon we enjoyed our first taste of Gelato (homemade Italian ice cream). It was wonderful. It appears that we can get Gelato at around 3 or 4 pm at a variety of different “bars” or “Gelaterias”. We now know what to look for when we need an afternoon energy boost.
We also learned that we can expect “corner stores” to open at about 5 pm. Pizzerias that serve fresh pizza for dinner (rather than the fast food by-the-slice places) also do not start serving until 8 pm. Apparently, if you arrive earlier, the ovens are not yet warm. So, we now know to plan to eat supper at 8 pm, unless we are self-catering.
We are now getting eager to start biking. We have been in Italy for 3 days, and since we can still see the gantries for the container ship port, it feels like we’ve been going in circles. We need to start riding to demonstrate to ourselves that we can make it at least part way across the country. We will ride north for a day or two and then start riding east until we hit the other coast, then north again until we are either tired or the roads are not good.
Andreas has warned us that Internet may be difficult to find in Calabria (the province we are in). We have been able to find it, but it hasn’t been easy. Searching out Internet connections has added a fair bit of effort to our already taxed brains. As a result, we will likely only try to send updates when we are in cities big enough to have a hotel with wifi or when an Internet connection presents itself – rather than us going out in search of it.