It should have been easy cycling on the national route. The gears on my bike gave up again and we got help. It turned out that the gears took a knock that misaligned the front and once that was corrected, they were fine.
But it was brutal climbing up 300m from the caldera to Montefiascone with jamming gearing. It was still only 20 degrees and hard work. Truth is that my bike is much less suited to this journey than Chris’s steed.
I stopped at yet another WW2 graveyard beyond which is one of two volcanic islands that people like to swim to. Just the 8km and presumably, they swim back too.
An aside for petrol heads: there was a rally on someplace close because we saw about fifty 1970s vintage rally cars coming towards us. Including 3 Lancia Stratos – cars that won several world rally championships so it’s amazing to see them driving by 45 years later. I was taken for a spin in one back in 1977. Around local roads at 2am not something you can forget. The noise must have woken the whole of Leinster. Anyway, back on the road today, one Porsche 911 did an F1-style manoeuvre to overtake just where we’d passed carabineri with radar guns. Don’t know what happened next.
Made it to our hotel just south of Sutri, some 50 km from Rome. We actually flew along today despite needing repairs, the heat and the hills.
The hotel was designed as a wedding venue and today, it was eerily deserted. We got great rooms though mine had to be changed when the door hinge broke. Beautiful designs had several dysfunctional features but suffice to say, I got washed, so did my clothes and I hung them to dry from my bike. Discretely so. However, garden waste was being burned and the wind changed. My clothes got woodsmoked, very badly woodsmoked.
Dinner was fabulously extravagant. The chef had created a vegetarian tasting menu and apart from a mistaken amuse bouche with pork, the meal was artistically presented and tasted brilliant. It took two and half hours which was just about as long as tired cyclists could handle.
Tired, we retired talking about entering Rome smelling like Joan of Arc. Just to be clear about the tasteless link, her statue in Reims is the cover image for the Via Francigena guide.