|Journal for 17-September-2004 : Chambery|
Did some shopping, visited the post office to post home the Greece and Thailand Lonely Planet guides, and ... repurchase the France maps we'd already sent home.
We contemplated what went wrong with our little sojourn into Italy. We've never met anyone who's actually toured Italy. Those that we know who have traveled by bike have got the train, or “we got the first ferry we could outta here”. The only cycle tourists we saw in Italy were at Milan train station.
We also realised that once we decided to stop cycling, the bikes became a huge liability. We didn't just need to find a hotel room or camp ground, we needed to find one with somewhere to securely park the bikes. To book a train ticket we need to find out how they can take the bikes as luggage, the answer varying greatly depending on who we ask. Or we could try and fly with them, with the European E20 ($A35) per kilo weight surcharge for anything over 20kgs (with the bikes we have ~30-35 kgs each, so about $A800 per flight excess baggage).
I honestly don't know if we just chose a bad route, or the whole country is terrible for cycle touring, or we just didn't have the patience to work out how to do it properly. It seems to take us up to a week to find our feet in a new country, but with Italy we just turned up and expected to be able to cycle on as if nothing had changed. The bottom line is, we weren't properly prepared, and we were probably equally unprepared for Greece and Thailand.
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