Day 18: Chioggia – Crespino

Distance: 58.6 km

Time: 2 hours 36 minutes

Average speed: 22.6 kph

Cumulative distance: 952.35 km

Cumulative time: 44 hours 42 minutes

Word of the day: ‘tranquillo‘ (tran-kweel-oh) – peaceful

So, how to describe Chioggia. In many ways it shares characteristics with Venice – there are no gondolas, but there are small canals and Venetian style bridges, there’s some fine architecture and there’s a strong smell of fresh fish (in a good way!). It’s more of a real working place, though – tourists, while present, are fewer in number, and there are plenty of Italians.

We strolled out, yesterday evening, to find the place where we moored on our boating trip, years ago. Then, it was almost full, and we had a difficult forty-five minutes trying to wedge our large boat between sets of briccole. Yesterday, it was empty, and we could have moored in five minutes!

Chioggia, though, was unchanged, a charming, bustling place where preparations were underway for a mediaeval festival. We dined between Corso del Popolo and the Canale Vena, and after a good meal, followed up with a visit to the gelateria. After yesterday’s experience, we were determined to make sure that we were well-fed for today’s cycling. It was a struggle, of course, but needs must.

We awoke to clear blue skies and searing heat. It took us a while to leave Chioggia, because of the heavy traffic, rather than navigational difficulties. We were in for a treat, though, a glorious day on riverside roads, almost bereft of traffic. Firstly we headed due south, towards the Po delta, across the fast-flowing Adige river. A feature of the last couple of days has been the presence of cicadas, for the first time this trip. We’ve also seen countless white herons, standing stock-still in the fields until we cycled past. Today’s only new crop, we think, was carrots. For the most part we had a soft tail-wind, which made the process of pedalling seem serene.

After little more than an hour we arrived at the banks of the Po, and joined the “Sinistra Po” cycle way along the argine. The surface was fully metalled, if a little rough in places, and we relaxed into a steady tempo, with the wide blue/brown waters of the river on our left, and to our right an arable landscape, separated by attractive villages, each with a church spire.

After a while the Euganean hills came back into view, to the north-west. It already seems a long time since we were climbing the hills – in fact it was only yesterday.

We stopped for a simple lunch in the town of Papozze, taking our time over it as we were going to be very early for our check-in at our destination.

Back to the argine, then, and a very enjoyable cruise alongside the river, until the town of Crespino hove into view. Still early, we descended from the argine into town and stopped at a bar for a well-deserved beer. Well, the Captain did – the Stoker was more virtuous and drank fizzy water!

Tomorrow we have an easy day planned, to the city of Ferrara. Here’s a picture of some cheerful cyclists:

Here’s today’s track.