Day 15: Sirmione – Verona

Distance: 39.45 km

Time: 2 hours 7 minutes

Average speed: 18.7 kph

Cumulative distance: 753.89 km

Cumulative time: 35 hours 43 minutes

Word of the day: ‘temporale‘ (tem-pore-ah-lay) – thunderstorm

Our rest day was fabulous, the sun shone, we enjoyed a lie-in and then a wander round Catulla’s Roman villa, right next to our hotel. It must have been quite the place in its day, beautiful views, baths, olive groves. Much of it is still standing, which is a testament to the strength of Roman concrete. Apparently no-one knows the formula for it, but it’s way stronger than anything modern.

A small lunch in a shady restaurant near the port, an afternoon by and in the pool, a lovely dinner in the main part of Sirmione and we were restored.

This morning we shared breakfast with the many sparrows of Lake Garda. Very cheerful little birds. Very fond of croissant!

The clouds were dark and foreboding, and as we loaded up the first clap of thunder sounded. We rode to the peninsular gate behind a couple of cars, and then out along the lake road, quite quiet, maybe because of the weather.

We’d tried to adjust the route today, just forty kilometres to Verona, to avoid larger roads and use the local roads wherever possible. That worked well to start with, pretty villages and a little up and down, but then we turned onto a very gravelly track. There was some whimpering from the rear motive unit, who is really not keen on those kinds of surfaces!

On the plus side, it was traffic-free, winding through vines and cherry trees. One set of vines had actual bunches of tiny grapes forming, and the leaves were much darker green than most of the others we’ve seen.

After a scant few kilometres (phew), we rejoined the tarmac, and began a 16km descent into Verona. We joined the Verona cycle way, along the canal, which was an excellent way to enter the city. The canal could not have been described as attractive in any sense, but the cycle path was smooth and fast. The last five kilometres were proper city roads, not very busy, but we were glad to turn into the road where tonight’s apartment is located, just along from Castelvecchio and its bridge over the Adige.

We showered and got the first load of washing on (it’s such a joy not to be hand-washing!), and then walked into Verona centre for lunch, in Piazza Erbe. Whilst we were having coffee afterwards the heavens opened and there was more thunder. Everyone scuttled inside, but it was quickly over. We’re not doing the tourist sights this time, as we’ve been to Verona a couple of times, but it’s impossible not to marvel at the arena.

Tomorrow we’re going to Este, which is pretty tiny – it’ll be nice to be away from crowds after these last days in the throng of such popular places.

Here’s today’s track.