Vignettes in Tuscany

After crossing the Cols from France into Italy (http://piecemealadventurer.com/2022/09/06/three-col-passes-to-italy/) I headed south to the Mediterranean coast and then east to Tuscany as I had a little time before I wanted to be at Lake Como.

From Savona to Lavante the road winds from coastal Mediterranean and over the headlands and through the sprawling city of Genova.

How lucky was I when this lovely young Swiss couple couple asked my to join them for dinner in Trigosa.

Next day it was a long ride along the coast to Tuscany and the village of Altopascio.

Murals around the town mark that the village is a stop on the pilgrim trail with many walkers in the village.

A day in Florence gave me a taste of the beautiful city and a plan to return.

Over the mountains from Altopascio is the other iconic city of Bologna. Famous for inventing Bolognese sauce, lasagne and mortadella so a city famous for its food and for its porticos.

And towers

Bologna is on of the oldest cities in Europe and home to Europe’s first university. In many ways Bologna is still a university city.

But it’s history shows through with Roman artefacts all around like this statue in the corner of the entrance to the University Law School.

And of course Bologna is the home of Ducati. The other great Marque in the north of Italy.

From Tuscany it was a pleasant day ride over the mountains to Lake Como

And the story from Lake Como you have already read.

A day in Cinque Terra (Five Villages)

Vernazza

The early autumn weather on the Italian Mediterranean has some of the intense heat taken out of it. Perfect for a day for exploring the Cinque Terra.

The easiest way to explore the five villages of the Cinque Terra is by train and foot.

There had been a storm in the Mediterranean overnight with gave a cool breeze.

And some uncommonly wild waves for the Mediterranean. Both at Vernaza and Riomaggiora

There is a series of walking paths the connect the five coastal villages of the Cinque Terra.

I chose to take the coastal walk from Vernazza to Corniglia and enjoy the coastal views

And the views were worth it.

I visited three villages.

Vernazza

Corniglia

And Riomaggiora which I think was the most beautiful

This was really the last part of this adventure as now a tired piecemeal adventurer and a tired mighty Breva wind our way back to England.

An overnight in Boccadasse a little piece of the old Mediterranean in Genoa.

Before catching the ferry to Barcelona

And the sun sets as the ferry says goodbye to Italy for this trip.

In and around Lake Como

I arrived at one of northern Italy’s nicest camp grounds Rivabella in Lecco a couple of days before the start of the Moto Guzzi 100+1 anniversary.

What a view to have every morning.

And every night.

The Moto Guzzi factory is in Mandello del Lario on the shores of Lake Como. The 100th festival ran from 8-11 September. But that’s for the next blog. This one is about the setting.

Lake Como and Mandello del Lario are just beautiful. This was my fourth visit here 2016, 2017, 2019 and 2022 and each time I’m taken by the beauty.

The Lake is surrounded by high mountains. Mount Muggio is just under 1800 metres high and provides spectacular views of the Lake of Dreams.

It’s a bit of a climb from the carpark. 4.4km return trip and 260 metre elevation climb. But as the video shows worth every step.

My dream to come to the 100th anniversary in Mandello del Lario was the impetuous of 5 years of motorcycle touring adventure in Europe and Morocco.

On my last morning at the camp site it was grey and still and the reflections were sharp on the still water. It’s my last time here. So goodbye Lake of Dreams, dreams can come true!

Have you heard of the Moncoutant photographic exhibition.

Moncoutant sur Sevre is a beautiful village in Deax Servages and each year it hosts a amazing outdoor photographic exhibition.

I’ve been lucky to be to 4 exhibitions.

It’s not just the quality of the images but the curating in placement around the Village. I have tried to capture both aspects of the exhibition.

Near to Montoucant is the Fortified Farm B&B. A fantastic place to stop take a break when heading east across France toward the Alps or beyond.

The rain had started when I arrived in France. A friend suggested I might be made a saint for breaking the drought!

I was happy to have a bed rather that putting up a tent, thanks to my hosts.

It wasn’t all wet and Jazz the whippet enjoyed the sun.

And me a walk in the forest.

At cloudless night and the low light of rural France gave a clear view of the Milky Way.

A perfect way to finish a stay with the most hospitable hosts in France.

Photo Sketches in Spain

Travelling in Spain is one of my joys. I love the people the culture the landscape.

This year it seemed different. Traversing Spain between the intended destinations of Morocco and Portugal and the UK. A day or two here and there as I moved north and south through the country

The sketches are places I stopped along the way.

Jerez de la Frontera

Jerez is a couple of hours from Tarifa. It’s also the sherry capital of the world so a good place to stop on the way to Morocco. Who would have guessed there was a Flamenco and Sherry festival on!

Such a difference to 2020, Andalusia already in tight restriction and the the whole of Spain going into lockdown.

Cadiz and Rota

While Cadiz is quite the tourist centre Playa Aquadulce is a quiet Rota beach and a restful place to stop after hopping off the ferry from Morocco.

And in Cadiz the covid delayed carnival gave the old city a certain buzz

Stops in Aragon

Caspe is on the Mar de Aragon a huge dam in the mountains of Aragon. Lake Caspe camping is a fantastic camping ground right on the edge of the lake.

The lake is wonderful for swimming, boating, exploring and birdwatching. Sighting Egyptian vultures, peregrine falcons, and grey cranes.

Why stop in Calanda one might ask. The answer is it’s 2pm and the temperature is already 39c! The surprise is a pretty little village in the centre of great motorcycle roads that is the birthplace of Luis Bunuel

Then to find the site of a miracle in the village.

The miracle of a regrown leg. I dubbed the church the house of the holy legless. I wish I had known about this miracle in my younger years when I was more likely to be legless and in need of redemption!!!

Finding little villages like these is the joy of taking the back roads on a motorbike with a loose plan of where and when to stop. Serendipity as a guide book.

Finding the first communion parade in Tomelloso in Castille de La Mancha. Or Goya’s birthplace

Truly serendipity has been my wonderful travel guide.