1. I have a place to sleep tonight in a very busy but very friendly site somewhere that I can’t spell without looking at the map (and that would mean standing up and I can’t be bothered) but about 30 kilometres south of Parma
2. I have just eaten a fantastic gourmet mean while sat on the ground next to my tent of a baguette, some Philadelphia full fat (never buy that I’m the UK!) cheese, a tube of Pringles and a packet of biscuits. If anyone feels more satisfied than I do within 100 kms of here after eating tonight, I’d be very surprised indeed.
3. It was all washed down with the contents of a bottle of Montepuliciano wine drunk from a bright yellow University of York (Wentworth College) mug. Best of all it isn’t finished yet!
4. I am on the cusp of cycling 2,000 kilometres since leaving my flat in Reading three weeks ago today. I’m very proud of that. My Italian neighbours on the campsite were very impressed when they asked me. (They will never find out that Reading isn’t actually in the Shetland Iles…)
5. I have had lots of conversations in Italian today and even been complimented by one chap in the local town with the very long name (see the excuse in number 1 for not telling you what it is) for how good it was; he even put his arm round me while telling me how to get to the campsite!
6. I have just spent an excellent 36 hours in the company of a young couple from Pavia who couldn’t have been kinder and more generous in welcoming me onto their house and easing me into Italian life and culture; thank-you Simone and Elettra.
7. Two friends – Sally in the UK & Simone in Italy – have gone to the effort of finding out the names and addresses of two cycling shops in the local town with a very long name (see 1) for which, even if both shops are shut, I will be eternally grateful as it means that I will sleep better tonight (needless to say with the help of the Montepulciano).
8. When I lay back and look at the sky, I do not see a cloud, just the emerging stars. They are just a bit more blurred after each sip.
9. I have so much to look forward to over the next two weeks including meeting up with people I have never met in Rome and in Benevento who I am sure will be just as friendly and welcoming as Simone and Elettra were in Pavia.
10. I have, in Puglia, two good friends and two familiar faces to look forward to seeing and spending a few days with at the end of my trip. Reasons to be miserable:
1. One of my spokes is broken and I cycled a bloody long way to find a campsite (OK pedants out there, that’s two reasons but it doesn’t fit with the thrust of this post!) but…. (reason to see the silver lining around the cloud), I have experienced some of the most beautiful scenery of my trip so far while cycling those last few kilometres.
Result: 10-1. The reasons to be cheerful have won the Community Shield of Eurovelo 5 hands down.
Stats for the day;
Cycling time: 6 hrs 30 mins 7 secs
Distance: 136.51 kms
Average speed: 20.9 kms/hr
Maximum speed: 44.3 kms/hr
Eurovelo 5 distance: 1,977.0 kms