Day 46 – 25 October 2013
Milano – Castel San Giovanni – Piacenza
I spend the last few days at Mark‘s awesome flat. He showed me Milano and I went to his University to learn some stuff about rocks. Everything in Italian. Even though I did not understand much I learned a lot. Not about rock but about the language and now I can add a few new words to my vocabulary.
During my stay it was raining without a pause. I started to wonder if it was ever going to stop. And since I could not ride with these weather conditions, I decided to give my bike to another Bike-Shop. The reason for this was that my carrier had a broken piece. I guess the weight of the bike bags was too much for that thing. The guy from the bike store was a nice guy and even cleaned the bike a bit.
I really enjoyed my stay at Mark‘s place. So much that I even though about living with him and try to work at the bike store for a few months. But that was just a thought.
Mark had to leave yesterday to go home and left me alone in his flat. This time I was the one waving goodbye to a friend. But I also left the next morning.
Mark lives in the north of Milano so I had to cross the whole city to get to the south side and escape the traffic lights and the city. It took me an hour just to get from one end of Milan to the other and I have to say this city is not really made for bikers.
After this hour of stop and go and trying not to get hit by a car I was finally out of the city.
I should say something about the Italian bicycle network. Well… There is none. Only streets for cars and no sign of a bikeway anywhere.
As it happens I got out of the city on the wrong street and ended up at the south part in a town called Rozzano. Now I had to figure out a way to get East again. But the way lead me to a place where it looked like I was trapped between the way I came from and the highway which I could not use because I am not in a car.
So I stopped and asked. The man looked surprised when I said that I was going to Piacenza. But then he said I should follow him in his car.
He had a little Smart and I tried to follow him with my bike. I was chasing this car in the Italian traffic and he was showing me the way by putting his arm out of the window and giving me signs. Somehow he lead me behind the highway and parked at the side. I have to say that this was the coolest way of giving directions that I have ever experienced.
He got out of the car to show me the way from here on and then asked some questions about my trip. We had a little talk and he took some pictures. He took off after that and said he had to go to work, but a few seconds later he pulled up at the same spot and asked if I had Facebook. I gave him my blog address instead. ( Hey man. I hope you read this. YOU ARE AWESOME! If you still have those pics and want me to upload them on the blog you can send them to my Email address: email@example.com).
We said goodbye and I was on my way again. Only stopping to pick up some apples.
And after a while I was lost again. I think I turned right too early. So I asked a woman if she knew the way. But she did not speak English or German or Turkish. Only Italian. And I tried to explain her where I wanted to go. What I understood from her facial language and the few words of Italian that I know was that there was no way to get where I wanted to with the bike. Because the streets were “autostrada. no strada!“. I was not satisfied with this answer and tried to ask for direction in the next store.
So back on the road again. Following my compass down south. Turns out to be a dead end. Ask someone else.
“Do you speak English?“
“Yes a bit.“
But she had no idea about the way.
So I turned back the way I came from. Stopping to ask for directions.
The answer were a lot of Italian words I did not understand. But I got that I had to continue going the way I came from.
Finally I found the road. It was the country road SS412. Lots of cars were passing me and there was not a lot of room between the bike and the cars.
Somehow I was really fast when I was on the road. I do not know weather it was the 2 days break, or the fixed bike, or the adrenaline that was running through my blood because of all the cars, or all of those things together, but I was going really, really fast. I think it will hurt tomorrow.
Finally I reached Piacenza at about 4pm. I found the Hostel here and got myself a Pizza with Würstel and then went to the Supermarket to my some snacks for tomorrow.
Coming back to the hostel I discovered that I had a roommate. But he does not speak English as well. Only a little. Like my Italian. And we try to communicate. With legs and hands and Google translate. But he is a nice guy and I see this as a chance to improve my Italian.
I know this has been a long entry but I know you like it.
Now you can see how fast I really went:
Km Today: 100.62km Time traveled: 4h 29min km Total: 3708km