I’ve been home almost 3 weeks, it was a fiasco trying to escape Italy after it was officially “closed.” I had planned a 2 month tour of the Balkans and Italy, but Covid 19 squashed those plans. I was able to bike tour 3 cities in Italy, still killed it and lived to tell.
I typed in “what to see in Italy?”, Alberobello stood out as a must visit.
I checked for accommodation in Alberobello, to expensive for me. So I got accommodation in Martina Franca, for the difference in price I was able to rent an e-bike for the day. I rented from ebikePuglia. The bikes came equipped with an easy to understand GPS, that gave you the option of low traffic roads.
The Trulli were built by stacking, no mortar or cement. That made for easy disassembling if the tax man was planning a visit.
Matera is one of the first ever human settlements in Italy. I’m quickly learning Italy also has some traditions similar to Spain, siesta. Most shops are closed in the afternoon and open again into the evening. I wanted to go out for dinner, nothing opens till 7-7:30. So they had vending machine shops, you could actually get a beer there too! One dish they offer is from Roman times, crapiata it’s a simple dish of water, chickpeas, lots of beans, wheat, lentils, potatoes and salt (Vegan!).
I rented an e-bike from DISCOVERY MATERA and rode to the other side of the gorge. I saw several 80 year old’s riding e-bikes around town, my idols. I got to eat real Italian focaccia bread, great lunch. Most people staying at the hostel, cooked at the hostel. I enjoy going out to enjoy local cuisine while supporting the local economy too. I walked by several restaurants with 7 or 8 employees standing around and a kitchen full of food, no customers. Signs of the future for everyone, everywhere.
My first night here, the town was bustling, then Matera got it’s first 3 virus cases a few days later. It turned into a ghost town, overnight. Some photos of things I saw around town.
When I rented the bike, I was able to stop by local artist workshops. I wanted a certain artist ceramics. I came back the next day, 4 times, he was never there, I left the next day. So I bought this piece of ceramic at another shop.
I’ve always wanted to bike the Amalfi Coast . I found Europa hotel in Minori for 20 euro a night including a respectable breakfast.
I read the traffic in the summer is bumper to bumper. The bike shop doesn’t even take summer tours along the coast, they climb in the mountains. So I’m here in the middle of March. I rented my e-bike from CYCLING AMALFI COAST and asked for (& needed) an extra battery. I’m planning on biking 80 km (50mi) to Sorrento, with lots of hills.
I got my bike early and head towards Sorrento. Can’t bike here in the summer but Now? I had many 10 minute breaks with no vehicles. The coast is mostly rocky with a few sandy beaches here and there.
The donkey is symbolic to the Amalfi coast. There is a shop in Amalfi that sells everything donkey: pottery, t-shirts, bags. I commented to the women that she’s selling ass, we laughed. Lemons are a HUGE crop here, there was a little roadside stand selling everything lemon, I had a Limoncello!
I stopped at many of the ceramic workshops that dot the Amalfi coast. I love to support local artist especially if they have something I like. My limited luggage space is the only thing that prevented me from buying more.
CERAMIC POSITANO HAS THE HIGHEST QUALITY CERAMICS
Getting back to Slovenia was fun, as the Virus worked it’s way south I cancelled: Rome, Florence, San Marino, Venice and eventually Naples. I bought an escape airline ticket Naples to Trieste, that got cancelled. Then I bought a bus and ferry ticket back to Albania. In the next days Italy was shutting down, closing! At breakfast someone said they were going to the Bari ferry. I packed in 5 mins and left 1 day early. It’s the first day of Albania refusing to accept passengers from the ferry, trucks with drivers only, so no ferry escape. Then I got the 11 hour train the next day to Trieste. It’s now the first day that Slovenia has closed its borders. The Trieste bus station is closed, so no buses to Koper, Slovenia. I ask a Taxi if he could take me to Koper, he said he couldn’t go to Slovenia. Next taxi said yes, how much? 50 euro ($55), to go 25km (15 mi). Once in Koper, I caught the bus to Ljubljana. (10 euro-105 km). HOME, finally.
It’s going to be a LONG time till me or anyone gets to travel as freely as I have been able to do the past 7 years. The virus is nothing compared to the Climate Catastrophe, that’s lurking just around the corner. Please people, no/less meat, stay off planes and most of all? RIDE YOUR BIKE
Best wishes and Be Safe (stay home)
NEXT? Travelling to the store for now.