So where are you tonight?
Who said that?
It’s Ivan, Ivan iPad.
Oh my… Haven’t we taken this too far?
As I was saying, where are you tonight?
Ask me for a Shakespearean quote
Err… OK. Andrew, can you give me a quote from Shakespeare?
Yes, I’d be delighted to.
“Two households both alike in dignity, in fair Verona where we lay out scene”
I see. You are in Verona.
Hang on, I haven’t finished!
Go on then
“The which if you with patient ears attend, what here shall miss, my toil shall strive to mend”
Well in fairness you haven’t told us anything about it so far. Start from the beginning. (And can I point out that you missed out ten lines in the middle?)
OK. I left Venice this morning with Simone who I had be staying with for the last couple of nights. As he did back in 2010 he decided to join me on the cycle to my next destination.
How was the cycling?
It was fairly straightforward stuff. 136km on a practically flat ride from sea level to no higher than 70m here at Verona. We stuck to the main roads and intended to make two breaks, first at Padova and then later at Vicenza. Padova was a bit of a minor nightmare as we had to negotiate the road system out of town which was far from easy but the route we ended up taking was actually quite direct. There was a lovely (and enormous) square in the centre. It wasn’t actually square but how many squares nowadays are actually square?
I can think of a few. Anyway, I should be asking the questions, not you. What did you think of Vicenza?
We didn’t stop there. I suggested that we continue all the way to Verona and arrive a little earlier than we would have otherwise. Simone was happy with that so we did and cycled straight past the place.
Did you break any Italian laws today?
Strange question. You seem to have insider knowledge. I could be offended.
Well, did you?
Only a minor one. It involved a stretch of A road around Vicenza from which bicycles had been banned. I did point out to Simone that the sign referred to the ‘autostrada’ which we weren’t cycling upon. He pointed out that the sign was blue so whatever I thought it did relate to the main road, not the motorway otherwise it would have been in green.
So what did you do?
We ignored it of course.
Did you find out why you shouldn’t have ignored it?
These questions are very leading. It’s a good job we are not in court.
Any more infractions of the Italian penal code and you may be my friend.
Point taken. Yes, we did. It turned out that there were two long tunnels but we braved them, switched on our lights and prayed that the Cabinieri wouldn’t drive past us and fortunately they didn’t.
How did you find cycling with another person for the first time during this trip?
Different. I’m used to just making my own decisions, choosing where to go, when to stop, what changes to make. If I make a mistake, I don’t care. I just rectify the plan and continue cycling. I love the freedom. Sometimes I will take a long time to make a decision as to which exact route to take and then change it on a whim.
So, reading between the lines you found today frustrating?
I wouldn’t say frustrating, just different. For the sake of one day I was happy to take the advice of someone else but it only made me realise even more why I am doing this whole thing alone. If I were forced to cycle with someone every day the Italian police wouldn’t be after me for minor infractions of highway regulations, it would be far more serious.
So, you are in Verona. It’s a long way to come just to be able to quote from a Shakespeare sonnet that you learnt off by heart at school.
How did you know that?
Well, I know how old you are and know that when you went to school the teachers made you learn stuff off by heart. Now they just ask the students to make an interpretive dance out of something. And that’s just quadratic equations.
You have a wry sense of humour for an iPad.
We are much underrated as fountains of wisdom and mirth.
Indeed you are.
Did you find a nice campsite.
A wonderful one. It should win awards for catering for the needs of a cycling tourist. We even have our own dedicated walled garden in which to pitch our tents and park our bikes.
So Reggie is happy then.
I think he has his eyes on a couple of Dutch bikes just next to our tent but I haven’t got the heart in me to break the news that I think they only have headlights for each other. That’s the Dutch for you.
Are you happy Andrew? I do worry for you sanity sometimes?
I’m much happier than I was back in Croatia. I’m really looking forward to northern Italy and then France. I feel more in my comfort zone.
Do any of those people sitting around you know that you are having a conversation with your iPad?
I think they may suspect.
Just shows some pretty pictures…