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Europe 2004

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Journal for 9-September-2004 : Avigliana (Italy)

Woken early by the couple in the next room making their bed squeak.

A nice long hard climb out of the valley we'd been tracking for the past few days, with spectacular scenery leading up to Mount Cenis. Lots of wind, lots of cow bells chiming, but mostly lots of photo opportunities!

Nice cycling and more great photo ops by the lake that spans the summit.

Amazing switchbacks on the descent. At times the road folded back on itself seven times.

Crossed a very non-descript border (the boom gates and guards have been removed – there isn't even a sign anymore) into Italy, the most significant marker was the roads became smoother.

An incredible decent into Susa. We dropped 1500m twisting and winding our way down a steep descent that went on for only about 20kms. Our hands were killing from grasping the breaks.

Got to Susa for siesta, and waited around for the tourist office to open.

It started off OK (we had three roads to choose from, the freeway, the highway, and the local road), but became a nightmare by Avigliana. We crossed the river three times trying to work out which was the “quiet” road. The back road on our map into town simply didn't exist, and I still don't know how we found the centre of town. I had to walk to the railway station to find a town map (also inaccurate), then a supermarket, before we could brave the rush hour traffic (it always seems to be rush hour on Italian roads, except at during siesta of course).

Well past the supposed location of the camp ground amid increasing traffic we ducked up what looked like a narrow back road. Only half the traffic followed us. With the sun setting while we contemplated which of the nearby mansion grounds to break into to set up camp, a couple of cyclists out for an evening trundle in the traffic asked us the usual stuff. Thankfully for us they broke into English when I spluttered my “Non Caprisco Italiano”. Even more thankfully they told us the camp ground was only 200m up the steep, narrow busy highway (marked as a back road to no-where on our map). Gratsi, Gratsi!!

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