Cryptic - 9 1/2 Weeks - CycleBlaze

November 1, 2019

Cryptic

Caprancia to Rome ...and then

Today was All Saints Day, an important day in most Christian denominations where it is traditional to honor the deceased  with visits to cemeteries. 

It was a little prophetic that within the first half hour of riding on a cool misty fall morning we came across some very well preserved ancient burial crypts right beside the road! This being Italy, where folks have lived, and died, for millennia, there were also lots of traditional cemeteries and the flower sellers were doing a brisk business outside all of them today. Sort of like the flip side to the lady we saw in Regensburg in 2017 selling 'Bubbly wine' to all the wedding parties outside the Rathaus. Know your market!

Yesterday I signed off with a bit of trepidation about riding into Rome. These fears turned out to be unfounded as we had an excellent day of biking on a combination of very good and quiet roads and bike paths. Lots of hills still, but net down hill into Rome and the really steep and nasty bits were downhill for us today!

We made a couple of design changes today too. First, we were within traversing distance to the BI-1 cycle route, a national cycling route that runs from the Austrian/Swiss border all the way to Rome. We have ridden big chunks of this already and it was always good to excellent.  We've found that the Via Fancigena is more suited to hikers and devout pilgrims than cycle tourers. Nice country and historically interesting, but lots of rough paths and gravel / mud. 

Both routes meet up in Rome and follow the same way in along the Tiber river. Turns out this was a great choice as once again the BI-1 was a great route along (98%) paved rural roads with more cyclists than cars. The countryside was equally interesting too.

The second design choice was that we decided we would not stay in Rome tonight but rather catch a train out to Benevento, some 200 km SW of Rome, and 3 days closer to Puliga! We will spend a day in Rome at the end of the trip when we fly out, and it's just too damned big and busy to negotiate by bike. The ride in on the BI-1 was excellent, but there is no equivalent way out in the direction we need to go. There are a ton of places we want to tour around in Puliga, and a quick and cheap regional train to Benevento will a) get us out of the Rome catchment area and more importantly b) buy us 3 -4 more days of biking in Pulgia. Done deal!

So, all in a very good day of biking, and if we were Cathloic, we would get multiple brownie points by ending our ride at the Vatican on All Saints Day ... almost like we planned it that way! We are not, and we didn't ... but we did get the picture!

Song of the Day, what else ...No, not All Saints Day by Van Morrison, he got a SOTD a while back ... All Souls Night by Loreena McKinnett.  I'm skipping a day ahead, but the crypts and ghoulish road side art we saw this morning makes this one appropriate for today! It's much more about Pagan's than Christians, but I like to mix things up! Enjoy!

We took a dog leg east to tie up with the BI-1 bike route rather than the Via Fancigena. The BI-1 tuns all the way from the Austrian & Swiss borders to Rome. Having ridden both the VFB and BI-1, the BI-1 wins hands down!
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Leaving the simple but clean and friendly Hotel Capranica inn the cool misty morning
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At Sutri, about 7 km south of Capranica we came across these ancient crypts in some road side cliffs.
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The burial coffins are quite visible in this chamber .... coincidental that we came across these on All Saints Day ???? All of the cemeteries we came by today (lots) were doing a brisk business with visitors!
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Riding along the BI-1 route south of Nepi (on the very quiet and rural SP38 road) we came across several piles of sticks and road debris that had been gathered into what looked like cairns. This continued for about 100 m when we came to the entrance to a farm yard. The 'piles' took on an very artistic form and displayed sword fights and battle scenes
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At first we thought thee were set up for Halloween, but they have obviously been in place for many years. Both K and I were very intrigued and amused by this road side stumble upon!
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Very 'other worldly'
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Ok, you've seen enough, now bugger off and keep pedaling
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I made a small navigational error that put us back on the Via Francigena for a few km's. It has far more unpaved and path sections, not great for riding in the wet ... but better for farm animal close ups! These guys were grazing down the road as we came by.
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The geography was giving way to some steep gorges with karted limestone. As we were riding through one in the Valle die Treja park we came around a corner and break in the trees we spotted Calcata Vecchia - very cool - and about a 20 minute climb away!
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The road / bike route through Valle dei Treja park . very little traffic and quite dramatic country
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Finished the climb and now a close up with a wide angel shot of Calcata Vecchia. Very dramatic setting for this town!
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Lots of roadies for company today .... nearly all of them giving us encouraging shout-outs as we ground up the hills! This guy came by as we were at the hairpin turn at Calcata Vecchia
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About 30 km's north of Rome we were riding along a ridge top descending slightly through field of Hazel nut bushes ... every wonder where half of you Nutella comes from?
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Glenna JefferiesI miss our backyard hazelnut bushes from Arvida :(
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Looking East towards the Appeninnes ... we had a very nice day of mixed sun & cloud offering some great views of the country side north of Rome
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Very pretty country, more pasture land than cultivated crops ... with a few volcanic cones as well!
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Big cities always pose a challenge for cyclists! This is a screenshot of navigating through the autoroute ring road around Rome. Our route is the green line and I am the blue arrow. The red lines are multi lane very busy highways!
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Once inside the auto route ring road that circles Rome we were on dedicated bike paths beside the Tiber river for ~12 km all the way to the Vatican! Tremendous ... but you only get this if you come into Roam from the north!
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We are truly in Rome now, simple little statues providing some decor for a bridge across the Tiber
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... and here's his buddy on the other side of the bridge
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... bike path all the way along the Tiber. We missed the ramp to get up onto street level a few km's back. Had to hump the bikes up the stairs to the left! Rookie mistake
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... got a nice pic of the bridge from an unusual angle though!
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... and we finished off the Via Francigena like you are supposed to ... at the Vatican ... even better, on All Saint's day
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.. Requisite shot of St Peters, shooting above the several thousand people in the streets and square in front ... and on cue it started to rain on us pretty hard right after this pic ... that ended the photo tour of Rome
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This is the second time we have been to Rome ... the first time about 16 years ago with the kids ... when we emerged from the train station there was a huge Pride parade just finishing .... today when we get to the train station ... there is a huge Kurdish parade / demonstration! When in Rome ... be an activist!
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Once the parade passed by, and the rain had stopped, we were right at the Fontana delle Naidi .. one of about a bazillion beautiful fountains in Rome
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... I thought only toddlers got Hangry!
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... fed now, and at the train station for an evening ride to Benevento .... Rome is not the place to bike from! This is going to buy us an extra few days in Pulgia too!
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Signing off from Rome - we are bugging out by train and will start biking again tomorrow morning from Benevento!
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Today's ride: 83 km (52 miles)
Total: 2,700 km (1,677 miles)

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