We spent these days waiting out rain in Turin. The days consisted mostly of resting in beds and visiting the neighborhood nearby.
I was sick while we were staying in the hotel so I wasn’t getting up to much. I had a pretty bad cough that prevented me from getting up if it wasn’t for a meal.
We decided over dinner on the 4th that we would head across Italy to Venice by following the Po river, then make our way through Croatia, Slovenia, Bosnia and Albania on our way to Greece for the next month. We’re still figuring out the best route for us to take to deal with the cold fall nights.
We checked out of the hotel at 10 and went to the nearby grocery store. I got some granola bars and a new JBL speaker because my other one broke that morning. Henry got 24 things of Tic Tacs. William got some more oatmeal to cook on the road and when he opened his bag up it reeked of old cheese.
We all took a big step back from the bag and he remembered the cheese he had bought a week ago in Grenoble that was currently sitting in the bottom.
Lucky for me I couldn’t smell all too well at the time so Henry and William had to deal with the smell while William spent an hour cleaning all his stuff. I just sat there and ate some granola bars.
After William was all cleaned up we started making our way out of Turin. We had to ride about 8 miles or so through the city central until we made it to the Po river and started riding the trails.
It was a slow day we started with riding through the hectic city center and then when we got out of there William somehow managed to route us in a huge circle so we ended up back where we started.
Then we made our way down the river. We got to camp around 5 and we made Caprese sandwiches so we could conserve what little bit of gas we still had.
Since campgrounds are mostly closed now we wild camped in a park right off the river, but also off a semi busy road. The park was separated from the road by some bushes but we were right next to a tunnel so the engines from semis echoed pretty loud.
I didn’t want to go to bed dirty so I went off into a corner of the park and gave myself a sponge bath (this park is in the middle of no where and no one was stopping off the road for the whole hour we were there so I figured it was appropriate) of course the second I do that some guy comes into the park in his car so I had to hide in the woods and scramble to get my clothes on.
I was still pretty sick and I wasn’t able to keep up with Henry and William because of it, so I decided to leave a bit early so that I could get a head start on them and meet them halfway down the road.
I was on the road by 8:30 and it was 42° outside. So needless to say I was regretting leaving early, after a while I warmed up with my blood moving and the sun coming out. I had a nice day listening to music and riding nice and slow. Henry and William didn’t end up leaving till 11 or so so I met them 40 miles down the road in Cozzo.
I met up with them there and we got Veggie Wraps for dinner. Another meal that didn’t require gas.
I spotted a grove of aspen trees just outside of town so we went back that way and set up our hammocks away from the road to camp. William made us veggie wraps and then we went to bed. It was only about 7:30 when we went to bed but it gets dark and cold so early now that it’s the only thing we could do comfortably.
I set out early again so I could take another leisurely sick day. I was on the road by 8 and this time it wasn’t as cold. I found a campground that was still open 12 miles away so I went there and showered then I left and went to go get some food.
I told Henry and William I was in Pavia and they said I should wait there and we should camp there.
It was only 9:30 am so I felt kind of weird ending my day that soon but I went back and set up camp there. I figured it’d be nice to be able to take as many showers as I wanted. Knowing it’d be the last time in a while.
As I was trying to check into camp, with an employee that only spoke Italian, a Kiwi came up to me and offered me a coffee. It was nice to hear someone who’s first language was also English so I went over to his cabin and had a coffee with him.
He was a funny guy he was telling me about all his foreign girlfriends and how he basically escaped New Zealand, because the covid rules are so strict there now.
William and Henry showed up at 4ish. And they showered while I went to the store and got some grapes and peanuts as an afternoon snack. Then we took advantage of the free electricity, wifi and hot water for a while until 6 o’clock when we went out to dinner.
We went to a little pizza place with entire delicious pizzas for €6 each.
When we left at 7 it was already night time out so we went back to camp and talked a bit before bedtime.
I woke up at 7 and started to get packed up to leave. William and Henry were starting to feel the cough I had and William said he wanted to take a day off but we could do whatever we want. Henry agreed on the day off but I ended up riding. Normally I’d stay when they want a day off, but we had just taken four days off in Turin so I didn’t want to spend the whole day in my hammock.
I started riding and about 10 km in I was completely regretting leaving them. It was so windy out and I couldn’t find and good roads to take so I was biking down this highway.
I went north to try to get off the highway but I just ended up on a worse highway, so I went south again to get back on the first one.
When I met back up with the first highway I saw another bike packer having coffee in an abandoned bus stop. I waved at him but didn’t stop because I assumed he didn’t speak English since every time I’ve stopped they haven’t spoken English.
A few seconds later I heard him yell “Hey” so I turned around and went back to him. He said “Are you the guy from TikTok” and I said “Probably?”
Then I realized he was the one who messaged us and asked to join the ride the previous day since ha was also riding through Italy.
So since then we’ve been riding with the one and only Jelle De Visser.
He was riding toward the campground in Pavia but I told him my route plan and he decided to come with me. I was only doing about 10 more miles that day so it wouldn’t be hard for Henry and William to catch us tomorrow.
Jelle and I went down this trail that took us about 3 miles down to the Po River. We picked a spot that was very muddy to get to but it was a good spot when we got there. We set up our camp and then I made us some tacos and coffee. We talked until it got dark out and then we went to bed.
I slept 13 hours. I have no idea how I did it but I went to bed at 8 and woke up at 9. It was insane. We had a slow morning and left at 11. We only biked 20 miles so that William and Henry could catch us.
We biked along a trail on top of a dike for the majority of the day. We stopped in Piacenza to wait for them. We went to the Decathlon for gas and then to the Lidl for dinner food and then to a restaurant called “Old Wild West” for ribs. By then it was 3pm and Henry and William were still 20 miles out so we went to go find camp.
We camped again on the Po river but this time was our own secluded sand spot right off the river. With a wicker chair in the woods. We swam in the river and every once in a while I’d get a text from William. They told me that they made friends with an owner of a taco truck who was giving them LOTS of free margaritas so after that they were biking a lot slower. Me and Jelle made pasta for dinner and then I made a campfire while Jelle did the dishes.
Henry and William showed up at 9 or so and Henry was not too functional. They basically got there, at the food we made them and then went to bed. We were supposed to watch Eurotrip but they ended up going to bed. Jelle and I were up for another hour or so just sitting by the fire and then we put it out and went to bed.
The morning was very slow. We had gas now so William was making oatmeal again for him and Henry. Then Jelle dropped his shoe down the hill and it was barely hanging onto a leaf about a foot over the river so he was trying to get it up with a stick. When William gave me my stove back after he finished the oatmeal I went over to the hill to laugh at Jelle and I ended up dropping my stove and it was barely on a leaf at the bottom of the mud hill one inch over the river. So I had to carefully slide down a mud hill and get my stove. I did it but it took a while.
We left at 10:30 and got back into the dike trail. We just spent the day biking and talking as a group on the road. We camped in Calamaggiore.
For dinner we got frozen margarita pizzas and cooked them with tin foil on the fire. Then we watched Eurotrip on Henry’s phone by the fire while eating the pizzas.
I woke up in the morning and got all my stuff packed and I was cold so I started the fire back up. Then I noticed Henry didn’t eat his pizza last night. So I cooked it for myself and had it for breakfast. Then everyone slowly came out of tents and hammocks and we sat by the fire for a while to warm up before we started getting ready to go.
The goal for today was to go a longer day since we were almost to Venice and wanted to turn 3 days into 2. We ended up at McDonald’s to use the electricity and we stayed there for a few hours to charge up. This was about 25 miles down the road and we only had a few hours left of light. We booked our hostel with the wifi and then William picked a camp spot 15 miles away.
We got pasta again in the last town of the day and made it at camp. We got to camp at 6. This spot was clearly on someone’s land. We had to lift our bikes over a gate to get there. But it was far enough away from roads and houses for anyone to notice us.
It was a nice spot right off a creek. There were mosquitos there for the first hour but then they went away. After we ate we watched Cars on Williams computer and then we went to bed.
Henry woke up in the morning to the farmer walking by our camp spot with a huge gun. But they just nodded at each other and went back to their business.
Today we actually had to do a long day because our hostel stay started on the 14th and we were about 100 miles away from Venice. So the goal was 60/70 mile day so tomorrow would be easy into the city.
We made it to Curtarolo which was 71 miles in total for the day. We took the first 30 miles without a break then we stopped for an hour at Lidl for lunch.
I got so much food I couldn’t finish it. But I was super hungry. I got pizza pastry’s and a donut and meat and cheese and a sandwich and ice cream. I ate the pastry’s and the donut and the meat and cheese and half the sandwich and half the ice cream.
We were originally going to stop after 60 miles but then I convinced them to do the next 11 miles too.
We ate dinner at this little pizza place and the guy was super nice. He gave us free appetizers and let us use the electricity and even offered for us to stay in his yard.
He didn’t have any spots for hammocks so we had to go find our own place to camp. The second we stepped out of the restaurant it started storming. So we had to bike through the rain and then find a spot to set up our tarp and then stack hammocks underneath.
Oct 14 (Venice)
I woke up at 8:30 thinking it was 6 because I had the tarp over my head so it was all dark in there.
I threw the tarp off me so I wouldn’t fall back asleep and then I started getting ready for the day. It was pretty wet that morning because of dew and rain overnight. Luckily I put rain covers over my stuff so I was fine.
We left at 10 and started the 29 mile trek to Venice. We had to stop pretty soon in because Jelles bike was making funny noises, but we fixed it and moved on.
We made it 5 miles then stopped for breakfast at a grocery store. We were already on the road into Venice and cars were flying by so I proposed taking the train because all the roads within this 15 mile radius of Venice will be like this.
So after breakfast we went and got tickets into Venice.
We arrived at 2:30 and wheeled our bikes over all the canals and right roads of Venice to our hostel in the middle of the city.
We went out for dinner at a pizza place and when we got back the hostel manager told us that it’s illegal to have bikes on the island and we could get fined €500. So he told us to meet him again here at 11PM. So we did and he took us through a secret way across the island into the area with no cops so that we wouldn’t get caught with our bikes. He was a super cool guy and our place was so nice.
We went out to a bar and made some friends that night and then we came back around midnight and went to bed.
I woke up in the morning and decided I’d sew another patch to my bag. So I emptied every single thing out of my bags and put it on my bed and then picked a good spot to sew.
45 min later I was finishing my patch and I look at William who’s taking photos of the wall so I asked him why he was doing that and he said he found bed bugs.
All my stuff was spread out everywhere. So I had to go through everything and spray it with bedbug killer. Then after that long process we got a refund and moved hostels. We switched to Anda hostel which is off the island but only a 15 min train ride away.
First thing we did was shove all our stuff into a hot cycle dryer to kill the bugs. Then we went to our room and showered.
By now it was 3 and we had dealt with all the bed bugs and sneaking our bikes off the island. On top of that my shifter cable snapped on the ride over the bridge so I couldn’t shift my bike and had some repairs to do.
We got to the hostel and all the worries went away. This is probably the best place I’ll ever stay and it’s only €17 a night.
We got all our stuff settled and then went out for pasta. When we got back we went to the back yard where they had live music playing. So we spent the rest of the night dancing in the garden of the hostel and getting cocktails. Me Jelle Henry and our roommate max all bought a round and the rule was it had to be something we had never heard the name of before. They were interesting. My first time having a blue drink and my first time having a green drink.
I got up and ate breakfast in the hostel then I went to replace my shifter cable.
After I finished my repairs I took the train over to the island and spent the day walking around the island. I’ve never seen anything like that. I didn’t really know much about Venice before, but I assumed that there were real roads and not just canals and walking streets. But that’s really all it is and it’s great. It was pretty weird to hear like 70% of people there speaking English though.
I got some Gelato and some Pasta. 🤌🤌
I took the train back to the hostel at 4 and went to get some food and drink from the store. Then I came back and showered and laid down.
At 7 William texted us and told him he was on the island and had gone out with some Belgian guys to get drinks and now he didn’t know how to get home. William had never drank before. So after I finished my pasta we had to take the train out onto the island to rescue William and bring him home.
When we got back around 10 everyone was in the lobby of the hostel and there was a DJ playing. So we went in and met up with Jelle and our roommates and spent the rest of the night at the party in the lobby.