Blog35-looking ahead to Italy and the Appenines

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Landscape view, headed north of Badacio.

For several reasons, we ride and spend more time thinking about Italy, than the Croatian countryside that I currently cycle thru. My wife is gone, and I have departed south along the shoreline, headed for a coastal town called Split. I’am really looking ahead to Italy and the Appenines. Mainly because in my mind this body of water that we call the Adriatic is that symbolic barrier between myself and home. odd when I think about it, I know the Atlantic is far bigger, but the Adriatic is the wall that I mentally have to get over. And second, as far as reazons to be thinking about Italy. My older brother Niel will be coming to ride with me if all goes well. And that will be a blessing. And third, I have already been to Italy and know that it has a lot to offer in the way of natural beauty and plenty of artifacts of historical significance…..and I love history.

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This is very common on the back roads, between a hood ornament and a hard spot

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Riding south along the azure Adriatic coastline, it reminds me to look and think about the beauty of home. I tend too lean towards thinking that home is not as beautiful in it’s own way when indeed it is.  While I cant explain why a person would fly away from this sort of beauty, or the beauty of where I live…..so that they can see Los Angeles or San Franciso. Thats a hard one for a guy like me to figger. Leaving Zadar about 10am, kissed Colleen and we parted ways till Christmas if all goes well. she is back home and already shipping boxes out, I just talked to her this morning.

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Right now I am in Split and waiting to board a ferry over to Ancona Italy. Rode across the Adriatic, slept out on the deck in my bag of sleep to save a few bucks, glad that I did. Arrived Ancona Italy at about 6:45am, depart the boat and pretty much head uphill from the shoreline. Had a beast of a time reading my Google maps, the darned little roads all blend right into the maps background color. I’ve had to resort to borrowing all the reading classes at the retirement home just to read the darned map. We are riding the tiniest white roads shown on Google, and POOCHY MAGGIE, do those roads get steep. Seen some real beautiful country by taking the back roads, a lot of farming on very inclined pitches.

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While not tall by mountain standards, the old roads that traverse the Appenines are indeed steep. For sure when climbing up thru the Appenines, you will be required to sweat your way to the summit. This, my second visit to Italy, I had forgotten just how loud a simple conversation over a cup of coffee can be with just 2 or 3 Italians engaged.

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I am armed with a road map as well as full google map service, and I feel on the verge of lost every moment of the day. Several things lead me to this destitute feeling. When asking the Carabineri (police) which roads I can ride upon, I get 3 different answers. Signs, well in Italy…..signs are an issue. I swear, its the only place where you can come to a 4 way traffic circle and have signs for 9 different countries and 47 different cities/villages…..and non of them will be on your road map. I have also come to a 4 way traffic circle and found my desired town on 3 out of four of the roads that make up the traffic circle. Pretty sure that I spend darned near as much of my time double checking my google map as I do peddaling. Not complaining, just making note that going forward here is far slower than I had anticipated. Totally unlike rolling thru anything country prior to landing in Italy

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Also finding that wild camping is much harder to do now that I am in Italy, as most ground has iether a house or farm product on it, so finding that just right spot has been pretty tuff do do. And yes, to answer that nagging question you have in the back of your mind……does he ever just ask permission……YES, but only when I see an adult male out in the farm yard somewhere. Never stop if its just a women or kids, to much hassle and to likely it could go south. And never stop and knock…..the home owner may not be home……but I bet the sleeping farm dog is. And we sure dont need to wake him up now do we. Tonight, I am pitched in a olive orchard, not my fav because they are usually ant infested places. This ones not bad actually. My days have been averaging just 50 miles per, a little lower than Balkans region average.

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One last thing of note, fellow bikers DO NOT STOP,  even if you holler and wave your arms……they are far to busy winning that imaginery time trial going on in there mind. Tried three of them now, as I needed directions…..they seen me, they made eye contact and kept right on rolling like nothing was said. That seems rather odd to my way of thinking, as back home and most other places we have been up till now, when cyclists meet they most often have a quick visit. Not sure of the whys and what fors, but it struck me as odd.

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I made it Florence, not such a bad trip all in all. Finally figured out I can switch views on my Google map, and that has helped in a huge way. I find so far at least, that the drivers are quite polite and for that Iam very grateful. I was down to the last 30 miles coming into the busy city of Florence, and would’nt ya know it someone put 3 small stiff climbs in there just for fun. A little dissappointed that my route was based entirely in getting here for my brother and precluded any time for sightseeing. I missed several hill top fortifications that Italy, or better yet Tuscany are renowned for, for another day another visit.  Think I will wrap this one up and say goodnight to you all, be well and be blessed. Better yet go out and be a Blessing.

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Last view of a small Croatian village before leaving.

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Ancona harbor entering Italy T day break.

About Jeremiah Watt-saddlemaker

Jeremiah is a saddle maker, a silversmith. He runs a small company manufacturing bits and spurs as well as the manufacture of saddle hardware. An avid cyclist, especially the loaded solo tour type cycling.
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19 Responses to Blog35-looking ahead to Italy and the Appenines

  1. bill stuart says:

    Another great story and fantastic photos. Hope all is well take care love you

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  2. I will do my best kate, i feel very lucky to have him along. Hope you and sjkylar are well.

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  3. Hello my prayin saint friends. Gott’a tell you that we ate a nice supper out tonight which is not my normal thing. At our favorite restaurant on the globe “Il Porchino” nere in Florence. We had on one course a homemade cannaloni looking thing with sqush filling WOW, and deep fried squash blossoms also excellent as an appetizer. I just hate it when they dont have ketchup or ranch on the table to help make the flavors pop. We toured cathedrals and art work, but leaving tomorrow. Take care and hello to the preacher for me.

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  4. Linda Wiese says:

    Oh how I love Italy!! Your pics are beautiful and brings out those tell-tale colors that I remember seeing everywhere we traveled there last year at this time. Big mistake though, being in Florence during the “Day of the dead”! Was so crowded, too crowded to enjoy😒, but loved it all the same. Glad you had your time with your bride…memories made. Looking forward to hearing tales of being with your bro.
    We are enjoying the ride, and continue to pray for your safety and more oportunities to share Jesus!
    Yours in Christ,
    Preacher Ted & Chef Linda

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  5. Kate says:

    Uncle jerimah your pics are amazing, so glad tht your making dad come for a ride, keep him out of trouble. Love all your post keep it up love you!

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  6. Good morning Candy, and thanks for the consistancy of your friendship and comments. We are safe, and right now we are probably overfed, so no worries there. As far as being home…..sometime end of january early feb. Till then be well and blessed

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  7. Thanks dear, i do it just for you and jesus. All i do is pedal and eat and act like a tourist. Its you who has the hard job and does the tuff stuff. And for that i am in your debt and will remain so. Love ya

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  8. Good morning Jerry and Ella Mae, glad your both well and busy. My faithful followers and I do Ppreciate that you are. Mom and I had a great time, really sort of felt odd. I think its the first trip made were we didnt have any kids of ours or from town with us. Croatia is really a gem to see and visit, but i would not pass on seeing Bosnia,Serbia and Montenegro again. Really loved this region all the way up into Romania where I will return with Mom someday. Hey be well Jerry, hi to all.

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  9. Morning Bill. Gotta say Italy is indeed beautiful with so many hilltop towns,cathedrals etc. And yes, it certainly has the food credits on its side, no doubt. The drivers are very courteous i find leaving alot of room for the cyclist. Now about those Balkans, i fell in love with the region. Yes they have thier wars every 10 years…..but those 9 years between are great. Food while it is different than say home or Italy it is non the less very good. The people make the trip for me, and the people of the Balkans are maybe the nicest,politest thus far. I know, its a big brush statement to make, but that was my expierience as I passed thru. Be well my friend…..i still think Montenegro has your name scratched in a hillside somewhere.

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  10. Of course I know who ya are, i can even see your face and where you sat in class. Glad your along with us ron. I guess from this end at least we never really know who all is reading and along for the journey. About the book, no plans, and no real knowlege about that sort of endevour. Your not the first to say that it should be a book……never know what the future holds. Adios and keep cutting.

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  11. Morning Jan, its true the toughest mission field is right at home. I know, I used to have a house on hard hearted avenue…..but no more…..i be found…..i be saved.

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  12. Well good morning Kirb, to you the crew and the family. Hope all are well and busy.don’t fret about ol’dad, he will be just fine if he can just get the better of his nerves. As far as condition to keep up, i am not concerned because all we have to do is stay together and we will do just fine. But look out if we get split, because ain’t iether one of us are a technical genious. Be sure to have your Mom write his full name and phone number inside the band of his underwear, with a laundry marker. Were fine, but thanks for following along.

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  13. dockirby says:

    Hi uncle Jim. Looks beautiful in Italy. Your pictures are awesome. Me and my little ‘Russian’ look at the all the time. She loves them! Travel safe and take care of my dad. Love ya

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  14. Jan Guiterrez says:

    Hey Jeremiah, you are doing great! You may never know all the people you impact for Christ on this journey. I don’t even think all of them are far away. Some of them are right out the front door of where you live.
    Keep looking up and be bold for Christ!
    Prayers, Jan

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  15. Jerry Holes says:

    Sounds like all went well for you and Colleen. Thanks again for doing the great blogs.

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  16. Colleen Watt says:

    Good Morning Dear!! Great blog and well said. You treated the Italians just right!!! Wow wish I was there to see the country as the colors are fabulous!! Ride safe and I know you and your brother Neil will have a great time!!!! Love Yah sooooo much and thanks for the absolutely GRAND time in Croatia and Bosnia!!!

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  17. Candy Diaz says:

    I agree with Bill, so glad you are back to civilization. I will be happy when you are back home. Your photos are amazing and the country you have seen and showed us is so very beautiful. Thank you and be safe and never lost. Hugs.

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  18. Bill Snure says:

    Holy cow, it is pretty there!!! Breath taking. I find myself heaving some sort of sigh of relief that you’ve gotten to Italy which I consider back to civilation of some sort and away from the war torn Balkans and it unfriendly people. I’m thinking Italy is pretty bike friendly and you should be able to get parts and anything else you need including some killer food! You might even put on a few pounds. Safe travels and God speed!

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  19. Ron finch says:

    JW, if you land anywhere near Pa back in US I would be happy to put you up. I have some Amish carrage makers you might like to cost with. I have anxiously waited for each blog post. Great reading. Hope you put out a coffee table book. Be safe. Your student, Ron Finch. The graver sharpener!

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