Sat 3rd Aug.
A day on the beach.
I had a bad night sleep in the field and got up early, mobbed again by mosquitoes. I headed to the beach and decided to take most of the day off as I hadn’t had a day on the beach and if I didn’t now, I probably wouldn’t.
I found a beach chair (among a colony of beach chairs) and locked the bike up to a beach-hut nearby. I brought all the things I needed for the beach, got changed and had a quick dip before returning to the chair. I sat in the sun, dozing and listened to some radio shows. There were lots of people out, the beach full of people lying on towels and enjoying the sea. It wasn’t too busy which was nice given the time of year. No-one came to take a payment for the chair and there was only the occasional person selling you tat only available from strange men on the beach.
I stayed for half of the day, sun bathing and listening to some good shows (RadioLab), went for another dip and got going. I stopped in the supermarket on the way out picking up the new favourite, fruit yoghurt, while getting attacked by what appeared to be a friendly dog in a basket.
I got onto a small river and went east. After fifteen minutes the river came to another which meant a dead-end for me. After exploring the marshland, I backtracked to the start and rejoined the road I came in on, spoiling my plans to cycle long the coast.
I was on the road by 4pm, it hot, but past its peak. I’d got into the habit of stopping at every petrol station I came across for a 1.5l bottle of cold water, as water in the cycling bottles was always warm. One of the bottles I had is designed to keep water cold with some thermal material. It always kept water cold a lot longer then the other bottles, but in this heat it only took time to make it lukewarm or borderline hot.
At one station I stopped at had two attendants filling cars for customers went in and paid, the old-fashioned way. I got my water then started drinking outside, when the chap serving me came out and pulled up an extra chair to go with the two he had there, inviting me to sit with them. A third popped out from a garage and joined us. They were all probably in their fifties. We shared a few words, but we knew little of each others languages. In those moments it’s amazing how people try to their best to interact, regardless of failure. The few words that you know, become invaluable as they are the only ways you can express yourself in a language that’s understood.
I got as far as; drink, water, bike and sun, also telling them where I had come from and the cities I;d been to in Italy. They spoke to themselves in Italian, surprised by what I was doing and the heat. Although we were limited by communicating, there was a bond and a respect between us. I sat with them finishing the water, then left with ‘ciao ciao’ and a wave as I pulled out of the gas station. They were the only people I’d spoken to all day.
The few hours I had cycling I got thinking about the puncture and realised the new tyre was on the back where of the majority of the weight was, probably that causing the puncture from the inside. I decided if I got another puncture I would have to switch the tyres and see how that worked. If I still had problems I would replace the tyre altogether.
I’d started to look for a place to pitch up. I left the road and found an area densely populated by trees and moist ground. Not bad. I think it was part of a farm, so I was incognito. I got in setup, this time leaving the outer sheet to the tent off, which is what keeps the heat in, meaning I was sleeping in a tent-shaped mosquito net. I had a few more bites as I was setting up, but managed to get in and evict any unwanted tenants. I had the best nights sleep I’d had in a while.