We got up this morning to meet our Eurobike guy Jozef (who, by the way, is completely adorable) downstairs for the initial meeting before he sent us all off into the Italian countryside to get lost have an incredible journey to Florence by bike. There were maybe a dozen people doing this tour, but the cool thing about this kind of tour is that you don't have to stick with the group. You can if you want to, but it's not required. (This is the tour we're doing, if you want to know more about it.)
Bikes on the ferry from Venice to Lido:
These bikes are a HUGE hit in Italy. Here I thought we'd fit right in, but they get so much attention — maybe even more than in the states, which is interesting. It makes sense though I guess…the way we've outfitted them feels very stylish, and therefore: Italian. 🙂
Passing the San Giorgio Maggiore:
While we were waiting for the Lido ferry we chatted with a couple of cool women from the UK (doing a different tour that loops back to Venice so they're only with us the first leg to Chioggia) and we rode with them part of the time on Lido. The four of us stopped at a cafe for espresso and a snack before catching the second ferry to the island of Pellestrina.
Bikes on Lido sea wall, with sailboats in the background:
On the ferry to Pellestrina:
(There was a guy on that bus there who got out and stood staring all over our bikes for most of the ride on this ferry.)
Pellestrina is 7 miles long and, well, amazing. Less words, more photos. This was our ride:
There are so many bicycles everywhere we've been so far, and the number of Dutch bikes was a bit of a surprise. It feels a lot like the way people use bikes for transport in Holland…mostly city bikes or Dutch bikes, no lycra or helmets, and so far a really good system of bike lanes (both on regular streets with cars as well as dedicated separate bike lanes). And I've seen no sign of those "crazy Italian drivers who have no regard for bikes" at all so far. Really. Okay, more photos:
We got to the end of Pellestrina and the ferry landing and I said to Kevin I kinda wanted to turn around and ride back through it all again. It was incredible — charming, colorful, smelled of the ocean and home cooking and fresh seafood and it was just the most perfect ride.
My bike on the vaporetto:
So, here we were, coming to our stop for the day, and we were both kind of disappointed to be finished. The riding felt like nothing. It wasn't that long a ride (about 35 kilometers or 22 miles) but the scenery and that "We're on our bikes! In Italy!" feeling was just so amazing and I could have done today twice. Good thing we have tomorrow!
On the ferry approaching Chioggia:
We were the first ones in our loose group to arrive in Chioggia, but we thought we might want to ride around more so we opted to stop for lunch before checking in. Right across the square from our hotel was the Ristorante Mano Amica and it was busy and looked great, so we parked our bikes and ourselves at a table outside and had some prosecco and some seafood.
View of our hotel from lunch:
For lunch we had an antipasto crudo sample plate — tuna, shrimp, oysters, clams, branzino, and a delicious cheese and tartar thing there garnished with dill, also known as "Degustazione di crudità (carpaccio di tonno, carpaccio di branzino, scampi e ostriche):
We had prawns and tuna as our mains and they were both fantastic.
Gamberi imperiali al radicchio di Chioggia con aceto balsamico:
Filetto di tonno (tuna over greens, and those are tomatoes and onions I think…it was so amazing):
Oh yeah, and some regionally local prosecco:
After lunch (which turned out to also be dinner) we checked into our hotel. Eurobike gets an assigned parking area for the bikes, but since we were the last ones to officially check in, the area was fairly full. We opted to fold our bikes into their carry bags and take them up to our room. It hadn't rained at all today, but it looked like it could and it would be a bummer to have wet bikes in the morning. (Good call in the end, because there was a crazy thunder and lightning storm this evening with some serious rain!)
After we checked in we did a little work and then headed out to explore. We walked all around Chioggia, and then headed across a few bridges over to Sottomarina.
Tomorrow morning we're headed to Adria! Here's hoping that storm was just passing through!