This morning after breakfast we unfolded the bikes and headed south toward Comacchio. Here's a map for you to get situated:
We went off-route today at Lido di Volano. We opted to head out to the beach to grab some lunch and ended up following what looked like a road on the map but in reality was mostly dirt and sand, and in some places, full on single track. So. Now we know what these bikes can do! It was totally fun riding along the coast of the Adriatic though. Our total mileage today was over 73 kilometers, and I think the official route was ~65 kilometers, so we got a nice bonus!
Anyway, here are the photos!
We strayed from the map/path and explored the town of Ariano Nel Polesine a bit and ended up stopping for espresso at this cafe:
Older Italian men mostly walk like this, with their hands clasped behind their backs. We were walking behind three in a row the other night but I didn't get a photo. I've started collecting them now though, so prepare to see more.
We made some Italian/English small talk with two older women in the cafe about what we were doing (bikes, Venice, Florence, etc.) and they were so sweet and one of them kept touching my arm saying "Bellisimo!! Bellisimo!" They were so pleased and excited about what we were doing. We returned to our table outside and one of them (likely in her late 70s) hopped on a small bike and waved "Ciao!" as she rode away. There are so many people who ride bikes in Italy. So. Many!
Somewhere along the way (not too far from Ariano Nel Polesine) there's this cemetery. I know, I'm a bit of a graveyard junkie, but it's super interesting to see the customs of other cultures when it comes to the deceased.
In this cemetery, it's all about the marble, the flowers, and the photos of the deceased person. OMG the photos!!
I know, I took a lot of these (more than I posted, even!), but aren't they cool??
Alright, back to the landscape.
Hang on a second. A truffle B&B? And why exactly are we not staying here?
Here's where we took our detour out to the beach at Lido di Volano. I think this whole area must be a very happenin' summer destination but now, in May, bicyling through it (and south of it) felt a whole lot like bicycling through post-zombie-apocalypse.
We came to this little spot with a big "Aperto" sign by the road (that means "open"), so we went to check it out.
We were hungry and ordered shrimp ravioli and some spaghetti with clams and both were delicious. We finished with another caffe (fuel!!) and hit the road again. Here's where we really deviated from the prescribed map. According to our GPS, it appeared we could continue down the Lido and eventually hook up with our route about 6km south of where we were. However, much of this 6km "road" was dirt and sand (so we sometimes needed to walk the bikes).
And for about 4km, it was single track (this is no wider than about a foot!):
But most of it was right along the Adriatic Sea and SO WORTH the detour. (I know, those clouds! We were hurrying!):
We finally hooked up with our road and rode the rest of the way into Commachio as prescribed. We found our hotel (Hotel Locanda La Comacina) and it was incredibly charming…right on the canal, beautiful rooms, great view, and a killer restaurant downstairs as a bonus! (We made a dinner reservation for 8pm.) When we checked in there was a man who took our bikes (for us!) to the locked bike parking garage around the corner from the hotel. Check him out, riding my bike, ghosting Kevin's:
We went up to our room on the second floor and our bags were already there and waiting for us. (This whole Eurobike tour thing is definitely something we'll do again!) And guess what? Free (and pretty fast) Wi-Fi…which also meant we needed to spend a couple hours working before we could go explore this new place. No worries. Here's the view from our room:
Out exploring Comacchio:
The men all seem to gather after work (?) and talk animatedly out in the street. I really want to know what they're talking about:
We sat right behind where the men are standing in the photo above and had an apertif while we people-watched. Chatty men, from the other side:
Another hands-clasped man:
Dinner downstairs was fabulous: a "gift from the chef" of razor clams…
…antipasti of octopus salad and branzino carpaccio…
…risotto for two with white fish and eel, and a mixed fish and shellfish plate to share. We couldn't resist the almond cannolo with ricotta cheese on a pear smoothie dessert and we're so glad we didn't. It was the best dessert by far that we've had in Italy.
Back in our room after dinner I stood at the window watching the town quiet down. It's midnight now, and we have another 65km day tomorrow, so I think I'll get this post published while the internet is good and then hit the sack.