Stage 18: Pineto to Ortona

Distance: 43.8 km

Time: 2 hours 30 minutes

Speed: 17.5 km/h

Ascent: 202 metres

Total distance: 1022 km (yay!)

Total time: 54 hours 43 minutes

Wordle scores: Captain 5, Stoker 4

Word of the day: “presto” (press-toe) – early

The Stoker writes:

After our lovely swim in the sea, we nipped out to the supermarket for dinner provisions, then back to the apartment to shower the Adriatic out of our respective hair. The apartment was sparsely furnished to say the least, and a little chaotically managed. It did have a washing machine, oven and so on, if a complete absence of cleaning products, cloths, oven gloves etc. After dinner we washed up with shower gel 😳

This morning was forecast to be hot again, so we’d planned to cycle early to Ortona. The alarm went off at 6:30, and we were all packed up out of the apartment very efficiently by 7:30. At our usual café breakfast this morning I had a ‘girella’, a bit like a pain au raisin, but with chocolate chips instead of raisins, delicious, and literally translating as a ‘swivel’!

Then it was straight off down to the ciclovia, sandwiched between the railway line and the pines for which Pineto is named.

There was not much to report from the road for the first hour, the cycle path took us smoothly along in the growing heat, with only a couple of short diversions to the SS16 where necessary.

We stopped to drink a bottle of water in a beach-side café, and the Captain reported that it looked like we night catch a little rain before we got to our destination. That seemed fantastically unlikely, given the recent temperatures, but sure enough there was a bank of cloud catching us up.

We cycled over a couple of bridges around Pescara, well separated from the traffic.

In one case the bridge had been built exclusively for pedestrians and cyclists. As we rode up that one a chap out for a jog caught us up, and then gave us a good push to help us up the hill!

The skies behind us became darker and darker, then there was a ominous and very loud rumble of thunder, and the rain started. It was glorious! This is my ‘hurrah, it’s raining!’ face!

We were soaked in seconds, but we loved it. It was so good to be cool, we didn’t think for a moment to put on our rain jackets, we just enjoyed the sensation of being refreshingly damp!

The rain continued, albeit more gently, until we reached the outskirts of Ortona. The cooler temperatures made the short climb into the city very easy, and before long we were rolling up outside our apartment for the night. The tandem safely stowed and the luggage dropped, we wandered into the centre for a cup of tea while they finished setting everything up for us. A local engaged us in conversation while we drank our tea – he was horrified that we put milk in it! He asked lots of questions about our trip, and was impressed when the Captain showed him our route so far. He then solemnly told us it was possible to put your bike on a train very easily in Italy. We’ll bear that in mind if we get stuck!

Here’s today’s route and a short video

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