I left Rome early today; it made sense to do so as Marcello was off to work and with some hot weather finally being promised, I need to maximise the amount of time spent cycling when it is a little bit cooler. And it was certainly nice and cool this morning.
Just to finish off the Rome episode, I went with Marcello to a local pizza restaurant last night. Just as on Saturday evening back at his flat it was so interesting to talk to someone about life in the city rather than reading the sanitised version in the guide book. I also made sure I wrote something in his visitors book. Marcello and his girlfriend Margherita (who was away for the weekend so I never met her) have been welcoming visitors, mostly cyclists for quite a few years and it fascinating reading the previous messages. Far more meaningful and interesting than the visitors book at one of the museums I visited yesterday which was filled with bland platitudes and, on one page, an enormous cock (not the feathered variety).
Short break in writing there to have a lovely conversation with an Italian couple who wanted to know what I was doing (in a nice way). The woman’s eyes lit up when she found out I was English, not German!
So, back to today. This café is some 32 kilometres to the east of Rome and I am heading to Sora and to the ‘Farm Stay’ place run by Massimo’s friends. I’m meeting a guy called Tomasso at 6pm at Sora train station. It sounds like the kind of scenario that requires a code word to be exchanged: ‘The birds fly high in the sky in a Puglian summer’. Something like that. Yes Mr. Bond. I’ve probably lost some of you there so I’ll get back to the mundanities of cycling…
Leaving Rome was straightforward as Marcello cycled with me to a point where I could cycle off down the road in the correct direction. Which is what I did. Cycling directly into the sun heading east, everything in front of me was in silhouette; cars were black boxes, traffic lights almost impossible to read. But I knew that if I followed the sun I couldn’t go wrong. I did. The road was littered with signs of all description; you name the kind of service or good you want and I can guarantee that I have cycled past a sign advertising it this morning. But no signs to indicate where I was heading. However, after about 20 kilometres I did see a small sign indicating that I was cycling on the SS49a. Not good news if you want to be on the SS6. I cut across country to the next spoke clockwise in the road network than emanates from central Rome and fortunately picked up the correct road before it became a massive inconvenience.
I’m now just about hitting the countryside and have turned off onto a less busy road that will lead me to Palestrina, then Fiuggi, Alatri and then on some even smaller country routes all the way to Sora and the Farm Stay. That’s the plan.