Day 48: Marina di Casalvelino – Marina di Camerota

Distance: 40.92 km

Time: 2 hours 28 minutes

Average speed: 16.5 kph

Cumulative distance: 2480.29 km

Cumulative time: 124 hours 43 minutes

Word of the day: ‘frana’ (frah-nah) – landslide.

We breakfasted this morning in a café on Marina di Casalvelino’s lungomare, and enjoyed some of the best cornetti of the trip. Usually we try to have a decent sized breakfast, particularly on “climbing” days, as otherwise it’s easy to run out of fuel before lunchtime. Sometimes, though, in the high temperatures we’re experiencing, it’s difficult to eat in any quantity.

The start of today’s route involved a flat section of about five kilometres, heading slightly inland. Our front disc brake seemed to be sticking slightly, so we stopped to adjust it, whereupon a friendly local decided to have a long chat with us. For only the second time on this trip the conversation turned to the benighted subject of Brexit. He was bewildered that the UK wanted to leave. We replied that we were as bewildered as he was, very cross about it all and most certainly not in favour. The topic then moved on to Italian politics, which served only to bewilder all of us! When he eventually drew breath we took the opportunity (politely of course) to leave, telling him that we had some important hills to climb!

Almost immediately we did indeed begin the first climb which, consisting mainly of a sequence of hairpins, wasn’t too difficult. This was helpful, as today was turning out to be rather hot. On reaching the summit in the town of Ascea the Stoker spotted a viewpoint which also had a water fountain, so we paused to cool off and drink two bottles of water before refilling them for the next section. Here’s the tandem, resting under an olive tree.

We descended steeply from Ascea and could soon see our next climb on the other side of the valley. It looked particularly steep, so we made sure to enjoy the luxury of not pedalling during the descent.

Once we started to ascend the road was partially blocked off, warning of a risk of landslides, and of a restriction to emergency vehicles only. This, of course, had no effect whatsoever – all the cars squeezed through the blockage and continued. Having no other option available, we did the same.

Soon we encountered a massively steep section, of mixed surfaces, obviously a repair of a previous landslide. As soon as our tyres started to slip on the horrendous surface we realised it was better undertaken on foot. Fortunately it only lasted for about three hundred metres, after which we were able to remount and continue with the remainder of the climb.

The hill surmounted, we enjoyed a lengthy shallow descent towards the town after which the peninsula is named: Palinuro.

It wasn’t exactly on our route but, as we were making good time, we decided to head there for lunch. Firstly, though, we cycled through the town towards the port area, where we saw crystal clear waters.

It’s a beautiful place, and after finding the centre of town we settled down outside a small osteria and enjoyed some bruschetta (with tomatoes for the Stoker and porcini mushrooms for the Captain).

We returned to our planned route after lunch and enjoyed a gentle ride of around ten kilometres by the sea. The cliffs to our left were striking, and we had to go through three short tunnels cutting through the headlands.

Once we arrived at Marina di Camerota we turned sharply uphill towards our lodgings which turned out to be a sort of Italian mini-Butlins! We went to the pool and resisted the cajoling of the, well, red-coats I suppose, pointing out that we’d completed our exercise for the day! What a journey of contrasts and exciting experiences this is turning out to be.

Tomorrow we start with a five hundred metre climb, which should be fun, en-route to our destination at Sapri.

Here’s today’s track.