Cycling

Hobbit Village In The Hills

Who needs an expensive film set in New Zealand when you could come to make your film at Camping Pianelli, just outside Berceto? I half expect Bilbo Baggins to pop his head round the corner of the reception or for Gandalf to summon me to his cottage. Probably spelt those names wrong. Never was a great fan….
The odyssey continues and, despite the morning of bike shop hopping – I visited six in the end – I managed to cycle nearly 100 kilometres by the end of the day and I am within a knat’s chuff (nod to Humphrey Littleton for that one) of the Passo della Cisa here in the Appenines. I’ll have to post the full stats later as I have left the cycling computer back at the tent. I am writing from outside the reception to have access to the Wi-Fi.
I headed south from Parma and it was a steady climb up to Berceto. Great views back towards the northern plain of Italy. It is, however, frustrating in this country trying to work out exactly where you are. Although some places choose to announce themselves with a sign, many don’t so you are left guessing just how much further you have to cycle. Even quite large villages, with old guys playing cards outside the bar and old ladies discussing clothes – not making this up; the stereotype was there in all its glory – were completely anonymous to me as there came and went unannounced. Other places seem to go over the top in the other direction; Calestano – the village with all the empty chairs – had a motorway-style gantry with its name above the road to announce your arrival and departure. Certainly a village with aspirations!
I was convinced that there wouldn’t be a campsite up here, the iPhone App having let me down before and there were no signs on the road as I approached the village. However when I arrived, there was a sign to the campsite, with no distance indicated. Mmm… Could this be like one of those signs for French supermarkets or outlets of McDonald’s where the sign says “5 minutes à gauche” but they forget to mention that the time is only relevant if you have recommissioned Concorde and happen to be flying over at Mach 2. I did however decide at that point to check my messages and Simone had posted saying that there was indeed a campsite just 1 kilometre east of the village. Great timing!
So, another night of camping ahead of me. Tonight’s meal will be remarkably similar to that of last night minus the Pringles plus some Proscuitto ham. Good swap? Probably.
Tomorrow I will see the sea and I will dip my feet in it. But I feel a day off coming and I am very tempted by Lucca. I’m off to read about it while tucking into my bread and full-fat Philadelphia cheese….

Categories: Cycling

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