We were the last ones to leave the hotel in Comacchio (our favorite so far) this morning and we were the first ones to arrive in Ravenna. We know, it's not The Amazing Race or anything, but still...we rocked it today. We rode 72 kilometers -- about 45 miles, and a lot of those miles were on pretty tough dirt and gravel roads or paths -- on Bike Friday folding bikes, from Comacchio to Ravenna. Also, we stayed up until 1am last night working in our hotel room in Comacchio, then got up at 7am and did some more work before lugging our luggage downtairs and grabbing a quick breakfast and heading out on the bikes. Today's map:
This is the first time in over 10 years we've been able to work this little while traveling, thanks to our awesome team who is keeping the company running smoothly while we're in Italy. One of the big compromises we made in starting a company was that we are always working. In the 10.5 years since we started our company we have probably never had a single day completely "off" (including weekend days). It seems there's always some business to tend to, and usually several hours worth. While the kind of business we decided to start has been awesome in allowing us the freedom to travel, that's come at the price of never truly being "on vacation".
Okay, on to today's ride, which took us through the Parco Regionale del Delta del Po where there are hundreds of flamingoes! In the wild!
4 or so km of this two-rut dirt road...with many many sticker bushes pushing into your rut:
All those white dots out there (plus a zillion more out of frame)? Flamingoes. See, Airstream peeps...we're thinking about you!
More dirt and gravel:
Check out all these fishing cabins and shacks along the Reno River. There's a cool net system that is lowered down into the river where it sits for a bit, then is raised back up to check for fish. We stopped here for about 15 minutes to watch a fishing operation and almost every time they pulled the net up there were fish!
One of the more "fishing shack" operations. There's usually a metal frame over the dock and a tarp rolled up there at the front. If there are people there fishing, the tarp is unrolled and layed out and tied over the frame to create a shady place to hang out. I could see sitting here drinking beer, raising and lowering this net all day, collecting dinner. It's really quite zen to watch, even when you're not the getter of the fish!
River emptying out into the Adriatic Sea:
Another forested dirt path along the sea:
Taking the ferry across to the port of Ravenna...
...where we had to wait for an enormous ship:
Bikes, on another ferry (2 euros):
Arriving in Ravenna, at Piazza del Popolo. (That column, one of two in the piazza, was built in 1483):
Our hotel is just down this street on the left, the Hotel Centrale Byron:
Kinda "meh" compared to last night's hotel, but what a fantastic location!
We checked in and parked our bikes in the special Eurobike spot, rested a bit (all that off road riding today was hard after another 73km ride yesterday), grabbed some gelato (because OMG we missed a day yesterday), and then did some more work back at the hotel for a few hours before heading out for dinner and some wandering.
Dinner was at the Ristorante Bella Venezia just a couple doors down and it was really really good. We had the best spaghetti carbonara ever, gnochetti, and we shared one of today's specials: a veal dish topped with prosciutto, zucchni, and a white sauce with cheese...it was delicious. We ordered a bottle of local Sangiovese and it was great as well. After dinner we walked around a bit and we're going to hit the hay a little earlier tonight than last night.
Hotel Centrale Byron at night:
Oh yeah, and while we were out walking around we saw one of the Eurobike stickers that we've been following this whole trip, so now we know which way to head outta town in the morning! They look like this, and they're on sign posts all along the entire route from Venice to Florence. Makes it a bit like a big puzzle/video game/scavenger hunt. This one says, "Go straight!":