Day 109

Sun 4th Aug.
More problems, Trieste and nearing the border.

I awoke to the sound of a tractor in a nearby field around 6am. I snoozed, but given the cover was off, the sunlight started to wake me up too, it was the most pleasant way of being woken up. I hadn’t slept well again, given the mattress was broken.
I usually slept with all panniers in the tent, but this time left two large ones on the bike, giving me more space. I heard noise throughout the night and thought someone was trying to steal them, probably induced by lack of sleep. From now on I would sleep with the two panniers in the porch area and two in the tent.
Nearby there was a part of the road that was widened for parking. Some boy racers had been hanging out there last night and when I went past I saw red bull cans and condoms wrappers. The perfect trophies of adolescence.

On a closer inspection of the map, my plan to cycle along the coast wasn’t all lost. There were a few more towns along the coast and after Monfalcone, the road overlooked the sea from a cliff side. It took me most of the day to get there, but once there, the views were spectacular. The sun was strong and for miles around you could see the beautiful aqua-fluorescent Mediterranean sea stretching out around the coast, with boats on the surface below. In the distance I could see Croatia.
This perfect high followed the coast for about 20km before I got to the outskirts of Treiste. Here there was an extended path, as a place for people to come out of the sea and relax, or there was the small stretch of beach below. There were a lot of people there, enjoying their day off in the sun.
The bike began to feel sluggish and quickly deteriorated. My worst fears had occurred again and I had picked up the third puncture in a week.
I pulled onto the side, shaded by some trees, out of public view and began to change the tyres. The puncture was on the inside of the inner tube again, leading me to think it wasn’t a usual puncture but some infliction from the wheel caused by the weight.
While making the switch over, I decided to cook dinner to save some time. An unusual thing to do in the street, but it saved doing it later. As usual I had a large portion of rice, tuna with mayonnaise and sweetcorn. The same meal I had every day while camping.
The switch over took a long time, but with patience the job was done. If my theory was right, this should cut the punctures dramatically. I had started to wonder if the new tyre was made of some kind of rubber-like paper. I had a quick shower to cool off in the open air shower over the road and got moving.

I went into Treist, looked around, went up a hill, around the city into a dead-end. Backtracked then tried to find a McDonald’s for internet. I got dumped in an awkward part of a frustrating city. I stopped in a bar and had some water and bar snacks. The city reminded me of Marseille, although it was nowhere near as unpleasant. It was a shitty port city and I didn’t want to be there any longer then necessary.
The sun was coming down, time to move. Getting out of the city was close to impossible. I went out via the back, up some hills into a residential area, down a hill and then up another. Then I was on a highway network that regulated traffic in and out of the city. This was a major problem. I should never be on highways and especially not when it’s getting dark, and I didn’t know where I was going. The GPS was confused by the condense network of roads. I took a guess on a road and kept moving. I seemed to be getting somewhere. Then, with all the luck in the world, I saw an opening on barrier-laden road onto a spacious, grassy patch that overlooked the city and industrial landscape behind it. Perfect.
I situated myself behind some bushes, out of sight from the road. I left the outer-sheet off again, keeping the tent cool. That network of roads, could’ve easily had me for another hour with no hope of anywhere decent to camp, reminding me that camping was always a gamble, but it always seemed to just pay-off.
The Slovenian border was a few miles east.

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