Stage 20: San Salvo to Lido Campomarino

Distance: 32.7 km

Time: 1 hours 37 minutes

Speed: 20.2 km/h

Ascent: 121 metres

Total distance: 1105 km

Total time: 58 hours 49 minutes

Wordle scores: Captain 4, Stoker 2

Word of the day: “torre” (taw-rrrreh) – tower

The Stoker writes:

Our lodgings last night were simple but well-equipped, in a sort of ‘faded elegance’ complex of apartment blocks. We had everything we needed, it was cool, and we even managed to juggle the air conditioning, the washing machine and the oven without tripping any breakers. The washing dried outside in about five minutes flat!

Having looked at today’s temperatures, and knowing we had only thirty flat kilometres to ride, we awarded ourselves a lie-in by recent standards, and left at 9am, almost immediately crossing into Molise from Abruzzo. We have now ticked off every Italian region!

After yesterday’s sublime cycle path provision, we knew today would be more of an SS16-slogfest. It being Sunday, it was fairly quiet, and efficient but rather boring. There was really no alternative, there’s not much space left for a cycle path, given the autostrada, the SS16 and the railway, all piling south together.

When there’s not a great deal to do, in terms of driving the tandem (Captain) and navigating (Stoker), your legs go round largely automatically and your brain sort of coasts too, coming up with all sorts of random thoughts, some of which I reproduce now for your entertainment:

“What does [random Italian word on sign] mean?”

“Ooh, that smells nice”, or it may be “Ugh, that smells awful…”

“I need a bum rest”

“This road is awfully straight. Did the Romans build this road?”

“Why do Italians always drive round with their car windows open in the hot weather?”

“I wonder what’s happening in the cricket”

“I need a bum rest”

“What shall we have for tea?”

“Where were we last night again?”

“What day of the week is it today?”

“I need a bum rest”

After twenty kilometres whizzed by in contemplation, the town of Termoli showed up on the horizon, and short section of cycle path took us in to see it.

We’d originally planned to spend a night there, but it had been a casualty of the heatwave replanning. Yesterday’s supermarket was displaying a huge model of its famous Schwabian tower, and we’d resolved to try to see it and the rest of the ancient part of the town, rather than just riding right past.

The tower was very impressive, robust, absolutely square.

The view from the old fortified walls was spectacular.

We must have ridden along a lot of what we could see, although it’s never as far as you think you’re looking at.

A quick water stop in a café with under 8km left, a “we’re with you in 30 minutes” message to our host for tonight, and we were on our way. Anna Maria and Gino let us into the lovely apartment, it has a little garden and an outdoor shower! Good for rinsing off the sand after a beach visit, Anna Maria explained.

We’ll stay here for two nights, as tomorrow is forecast to be over 40 degrees. That might even be too hot to contemplate a beach visit, we’ll have to see how it feels. We then have only one more day of heatwave Charon to cope with, they say – our plan is to get up VERY early and do our thirty flat kilometres to Lesina before 9am. That then positions us well to start our navigation of the Gargano peninsula in much cooler weather. Fingers crossed that the meteorologists have got it right.

Here’s today’s route and a short video

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