To Cremona - An Autumn by the Sea - CycleBlaze

October 9, 2018

To Cremona

Our B and B in Brescello is nice enough, but the WiFi is pretty awful.  I manage to upload photos for yesterday’s journal entry, but it’s very slow going. With no real reason to hang around this morning, we get an early start and continue upriver along the Po to tonight’s destination, Cremona.

Our ride gets off to a slow start though, because we don’t have a GPS map base that covers the first few miles of the day.  In planning this tour, we didn’t envision veering this far south in our transition from the Dolomites to the Lake District, and as a result didn’t include the quadrant that includes Brescello.  We’re so close though - the map ends just on the other side of the river, and we only have about two miles of today’s ride uncovered.

Rachael offered last night to try to download the missing quadrant, but I talk her out of it.  We’re only missing two miles, and there are very few roads to contend with before we’re back in terra cognita.

Two miles out of town, we find ourselves just a few hundred yards from our map.  Unfortunately, we’re on a rough dirt path atop a dike, with a streambed to the north and no evidence that our path leads anywhere good.  Fortunately, we can bring the map up on the cellphone, and see that we’re at a dead end.  After Rachael reminds me of how much smarter it would be to download more map than we think we need, we backtrack and pick another road.

Finally, about an hour after leaving town and advancing a net of about two miles toward our day’s goal, we’re back on map and on route.  

A shot from last night, that I left out yesterday. We’re on our way back from the pizzeria, tripping out on our flashing headlights reflecting off the bridge.
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Ron GrumbyWow, far out! This photo is giving me a flashback to the 1970s when I....no, wait, that wasn't me.
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2 months ago
Don Camillo gives his blessing to his little flock.
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Ron Grumby"I hope that their first child will be a masculine child."
-Luca Brasi, The Godfather
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2 months ago
Peppone, Don Camillo’s foil the communist town mayor. Suzanne Gibson, who also passed this way back a few years back, pointed out a nuance I’d missed - Peppone and Camillo are at opposite ends of the village square, giving greetings to each other.
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Please, please, please: can’t we just download more map coverage in the future?
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We’re saved!
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For the next eight miles, we continue west on the right bank of the Po.  It’s just like the last three days have been - exceeding flat.  We are going to be in a world of hurt when we come to a real hill again.  Like yesterday, most of the ride is along levee tops, and a balance mix of paved, traffic free lanes, loose gravel, and dirt.  Just the same old same old that we’re getting used to.

Until we come to Colorno, a small town we’d never heard of and I hadn’t even known was on our route.  Colorno, as it turns out, is an important site - the location of an imperial palace, referred to as the Versailles of Parma.  It’s expansive, impressive, and even more interesting because there are young chefs scurrying everywhere.  The palace is now the home of ALMA, the famed international Italian Cuisine school.  As usual, the Wikipedia article gives a better description of  he palace and its history than I would.

This is one of the greatest things about travel, in my opinion: stumbling upon something like this that is a complete surprise.  We didn’t arrive with any preconceptions or expectations of seeing something noteworthy.  We’re just surprised, and delighted.

It’s still pretty flat today. Nary a wrinkle.
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Crossing the old bridge into Colorno
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There’s more than one interesting attraction in Colorno. Before we visit the palace, Rachael browses through the market and comes out with a new pair of jeans.
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The Ducal Palace of Colorno, built in the XVIII century on the foundation of an older castle, was styled after the palace at Versailles.
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On the grounds of the imperial palace
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Suzanne GibsonPerfectly placed bicycle!
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2 months ago
A wing of the imperial palace
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The palace is the home of ALMA, the leading international school of Italian cuisine
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Chefs on lunch break
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The rest of the ride to Cremona is a continuation of what came before - another thirty miles along the right bank of the Po, climbing ever so imperceptibly.  It is a very pleasant ride, and well mapped out for us - we’re on the Parma Po Cycleway, and its excellent signage keeps us out of trouble.

This whole route was great. We enjoyed riding a bit above the surroundings for the views. Most of the time we were on pavement, but the unpaved stretches were fine too.
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Hay there!
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Another great lunch spot, this time in a grove below the levee.
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We have really appreciated the well marked bike routes we’ve followed over the last several days.
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For about fifteen miles we were back on the pavement, making good time.
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Some Charolais
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Shootout with cameras at three hundred paces
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He’s on our bike path, but it seemed prudent to give way.
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Steve Miller/GrampiesThe guy in green seems to be weighing his options as well.
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2 months ago
Scott AndersonTo Steve Miller/GrampiesOh, yeah. That guy. He’s the guide, walking backwards and keeping the driver on track. Not much room for error.
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2 months ago
After fifteen miles of smooth asphalt, it’s time to shake things up a bit.
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Entering Cremona, we cross the Po on this long, ruler straight bridge. It clattered loudly as we biked along. I tried taking a hand held video so you could hear too, but it didn’t really work. No sense making you all feel sea sick.
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Ron GrumbyBe careful with hand held videos. You might end up looking like youre lip-syncing a yodeling cowboy.
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2 months ago
Scott AndersonTo Ron GrumbyYou better believe I’m careful. I hardly ever do this, but it seemed safe enough - guard rails on both sides, no one else around.
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2 months ago

We arrived in Cremona a bit after four.  Not much time left in the day to see the town, so we’ll do that tomorrow morning.  What we saw though looks wonderful.   The historical core is really beautiful, and surprisingly quiet - there really aren’t many tourists in evidence.  Just people going about their daily lives in the shadow of greatness.  The town is surprisingly cycle friendly too - a well developed network of bike paths make it easy to get in and out of the city, and the drivers are quite courteous and patient.  This is the best country!

Cremona has more attractions than you can imagine. It’s a splendid place to just sit and look.
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Jen GrumbyThis photo made my morning!

Love all the descriptions of cycle-friendliness, too. A tad different than Denver Metro!
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2 months ago
Scott AndersonTo Jen GrumbyI know. I was disappointed when I took it, until I looked at it later and saw her expression. Moments before she had been sitting against the lion, but then her mom showed up.

Denver now!
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2 months ago
There’s a lot to be happy about here. Among other things, it’s still warm enough to dine outdoors.
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The bell tower of Cremona’s cathedral is astonishing. At 370 feet, it’s the third tallest in the world.
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Steve Miller/GrampiesObviously you will need to visit the Museo del Violino. Our account of it starts here:

https://www.cycleblaze.com/journals/rideagain/day-49-cremona-amati-guernari-and-stradivari/#7025_2440307_DSCN4351_by_stradivaris_grave_zed20150908_185010_30p

p.s. We are hoping Jeff will soon provide for ULs like this to just be given as links, like in the main text.
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2 months ago
Scott AndersonTo Steve Miller/GrampiesThat’s a good suggestion for Jeff. I gave him my own feedback too of course, but didn’t think of that one.

Can you believe it? We didn’t go to the museum. One more reason to come back here. We’re thinking of just repatriating to northern Italy.
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2 months ago

Ride stats today: 46 miles, 600’

Today's ride: 46 miles (74 km)
Total: 1,416 miles (2,279 km)

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