Brescia Day 1 and 2 - Italian Reconnaissance -- Lombardy and Lakes - CycleBlaze

July 23, 2021 to July 24, 2021

Brescia Day 1 and 2

Brescia is a huge city. We are here because of the Roman antiquities, the castle and the biking. We get two of the three done. To avoid the tension — no riding because Ken is missing a nut and sleeve from one side of his rear axle. The nut on the derailleur-side is in place and tight, and the design of the bracket means that even without a nut the axle is held tight in a fork. But once the problem is known about it would be foolish to ignore. It’s a measure of how rattle-y the cobblestone streets have been, however — bad enough to rattle your rear axle-nut right off. 

We arrived midday and started out looking for a bike shop. The hotel is on the way so Zelda got checked in and Ken set off. He found the bike shop, and worked out a number of intriguing Italian words — “dado” for nut, “filetti” for threads, and “pollice” for an inch. That’s the problem: Brompton’s use fasteners measured in inches, not meters. So, European bike shops don’t carry those fasteners. The bike-shop owner recommended a hardware store across town that might have English as well as metric nuts. And it did! But with the wrong threads for the Brompton axle. The hardware store owner said many words that flew over Ken’s head, but his gestures and eye-rolling expression were all a combination of “what do want me to do about?”, “what did you expect?”, and “are you kidding me?”.  He was a good communicator.

Luckily we can walk to the castle and the antiquities. They are all close enough that the afternoon and evening is spent indulging ourselves in walking and an occasional radler. 

The biggest century plant we have ever seen is on the inner ring of the castle grounds.
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This bench looks out over the city and over the roof of the main church. It is a good reminder of the work to be done.
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One of the many castle stair routes in Brescia.
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If you come this way the Santa Giulia Museum is worth a visit. It is an impressive collection and preservation of the many city layers. It stands just to the east of the ancient Roman forum, temple and theater complex,  which have their own museum. The temple now houses an extraordinary find from the site, a 1st century AD bronze statue of a Winged Victory, slightly larger than life. It is a beautiful piece of sculpture in its own right, and made more precious by the rarity of such a find: while marble statues were often left lying where they fell, bronze was far more routinely melted down. Look up “Vittoria Alata” on the web for better photos than we could take. 

The cast of the bronze statue.
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Wall work — faux marble in the land of marble all within a fresco.
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Retention of an entire house and the mosaics in place is incredible. The ability to see how they were arranged next to each other and what each room’s purpose was is something a book or video can never capture.
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More ogling of mosaics.
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There is a bike route nearby that is one of the Italian east-west routes. We see a number of cyclists coming through the piazza, none stop. They clearly have another destination in mind.

Interconnecting piazzas.
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Ken heads into Milan on Saturday. Good train service means that he loses the morning, not the whole day, to the errand. The Brompton shop has the needed parts and he turns around to catch the next train. 

The trains are very full. The Brompton is secure on a luggage rack.
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Brompton arriving in Milan Centrale. Ken too. Off on mechanical errand and back again.
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This one is for Martha. Turns out she might not be in Minnesota.
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Bikes learning to hang on the hooks away from the rest.
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Brescia recent history is not altogether happy. Rally against facism in 1974 ended in deaths of 8. Right-wing extremists were charged and a long series of court cases resulted. Last verdict and appeal completed in 2015.
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Alas not much biking other than around town looking for the right part. Tomorrow we head to Trento to ride down the Adige (pronounced like “a DJ”) for a few days. Hoping to get a bit cooler weather and less urban cycling.

Today's ride: 20 km (12 miles)
Total: 257 km (160 miles)

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