Cycling

Downtown Siena

For the first time tonight I’m feeling bit depressed 😦 Well, not really depressed, just a mixture of feeling sorry for myself; all the bites that I have suffered and which are making me feel uncomfortable for much of the time, especially when I am not cycling and have nothing particular to focus my mind upon and which made me feel cold and shivery shortly after arriving at the campsite earlier this afternoon, and uncertainty as to the next few days; it seems a long way between here and Rome let alone here and Puglia and I’m not sure just how I’m going to organise the rest of the trip. Another thing has started to play on my mind, something that I have always dismissed as not relevant to cycling to Italy and that is, of course the journey back home to the UK. How? When? Which route?
On the positive side of things, I am here on Siena. The Rough Guide describes it as follows: “Siena is the perfect antidote to Florence, a unified, modern city at ease with its medieval aspect, ambience & traditions”. I bet the guide doesn’t say that about my home town Reading. I can see the Torre del Mangia from my pitch on the campsite (which is a couple of kilometres out of town). You can see it in the picture below looking very small; it looks a lot larger to me as I sit here in the dimming light of the evening. It is on one side of the Campo – the main square which, quoting from the guide book again is “the loveliest of all Italian squares”. So tomorrow morning when I visit the town, I have much to look forward to seeing. Basil & Richard both encourage me to stay to watch the Palio. Strictly speaking this isn’t possible simply because it takes place on Sunday. However, there are three days of activities before the event itself starting tomorrow. Again, from the Rough Guide, describing the events of August 13th: “The year’s horses are presented on the morning at the town hall and drawn by lot. At 7.15pm the first trial race is held in the Campo.”
I will certainly try and see something of the morning’s events although whether I have the time to spend a second night in Siena I’m not yet sure. Leaving the town around lunchtime would give me time to cycle to another campsite further down into the hillier parts of Tuscany, the picture-postcard Tuscany that I have yet to see; this afternoon’s cycle was a notch up on the morning which was quite urban but still not in the ‘wow’ category. Perhaps I am being too demanding!
And just to mention them for one more time, despite what you have read on the Internet Jim, the mosquitoes seem to be keeping themselves to themselves here on the campsite; I have seen one and it didn’t live to see another piece of my flesh!

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Categories: Cycling

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13 replies »

  1. All the mozzies must be on Italian holiday! or just perhaps they prefer freshly trimmed horse flesh. My third and final theory is that you have been drained of all nourishment in the last campsite and present no meal opertunity (a bit like a macdonalds, last resort), probably why you are a bit down. Shame IRN BRU is not widely exported to Italy. Still stand by Avon SSS.

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  2. Sorry to hear you’re feeling a bit down. Totally understandable as what you are doing is pretty incredible. Think of Tom F, speaking French and that will make you smile. It always works for me. I can imagine the bites would make anyone feel fed up. Let’s hope the horses scare them all off! Our sacred summer hols are passing quickly by so make the most of this amazing adventure as before long you’ll be back in L1 with your beloved Smartboard (moaning about your department!!). Off to Norway on Sunday (by plane). Ciao!

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  3. Can’t help with the mosquitoes – they get me loads – but can give some moral support…. keep going, I’m not exactly following your route on a map but I’m guessing that if you’ve made it into Italy you must be getting there. So well done! Naomi x

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  4. Get yourself some anti histamines to calm the itching. Get a cream and possibly also some pills. Possibly hayfever pills if you can’t get anything else. Trust me I’m a doctor, well I’m not really but do have a degree in pharmacology and immunology. And being Scottish I am used to our very own type of mosquito!

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  5. Autan do indeed make a body mist. It is actually an insecticide spray.

    In case you think this is a spoof see http://www.autan.co.uk
    or, for the Italian site http://www.autan.it

    The mosquitos, especially in that part near the river and when you get below Benevento are in training for the Olympics- Andrew, get yourself into a pharmacy- or check the campsite store.

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  6. Chin up and chest out Sykes!

    Just think of worse places you might be at the present – a flood plain in Pakistan with all your family dead or missing and only sewage contaminated water to quench your raging thirst perhaps.

    Think like that and all your current worries are very soon slapped back into stark perspective.

    Enjoy Siena tomorrow and get some decent mozzie repellent while you’re at it.

    We shall talk no more of this. Sleep well.

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  7. That’s spooky – “Autan” is the Italian for “Avon Body Mist Super”. Even now we are watching an advert on TV which goes “Autan Calling.”
    On a more serious note – our good cycling friend here Richard says that Decathlon here in Brindisi have cycle flight bags. So our mates at Alitalia (or Ryanair) will see you OK. Or you could just leave the bike here and Liz will ride it back in November ! Courage mon brave !

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  8. Mosquitos- You need to get a can of Autan.

    Go into a pharmacy or a supermarket. Get at least two cans. It is a spray. Spray it over your legs and arms and you will be bitten no more. Everyone uses it in italy and in the Po valley even the restaurants will provide it for outdoor diners.

    the burning spirals, candles, ultrasound devices, plug-in insecticide mats are all a waste of time. The mosquitos will keep coming. Spray on the Autan and you will be fine. You will need it when you go further south.

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