The Good, The Bad and The Ugly - 9 1/2 Weeks - CycleBlaze

November 4, 2019

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Candela to Vernosa

I don't think any of the classic Sergio Leone spaghetti westerns were filmed where we rode today, however it certainly looked like they could have been. The only exception would be the technology march of the 21st century and the massive windmills that are everywhere now. If there were any around in the 60's and 70's they would have been made of wood and pumping water, not electrons. 

Any way, back to the point ... the terrain we rode through today was once again quite different than previous days. Broad arid plains with much more gently inclined hills. Add in remote. 

From the time we started in Candela until we finished in Venosa we didn't come across another town or commercial business, and we could count the vehicles we saw on our hands. At times it actually seemed a little spooky .. are we really in Europe?

Our sun came back today, the wind remained but it was at our backs for most of the day ... think 47.8 km/hr on a very slight downhill without pedalling. Sun, tailwinds and the almost complete lack of any other vehicle traffic on our entire ride is the good.

Oh, and no dogs chased us. Another tick in the good column!

For the most part we were on good to decent roads, however  our descent from km 7 through 12, where we really thought we were going to see Clint Eastwood on a horse around every turn, was alternating between pavement and washed out gravel or  mud, turning what would have been a thrilling descent onto a game of ride fast, hit the brakes, maneuver through pot or mud holes, then repeat about 20 times. 

This was the bad, and in the grand scheme of things, it really wasn't bad but I have to have something to go with the theme. :)

The ugly came when we got to Vernosa. It's a decent sized town with a (newly discovered to us) very good wine pedigree. As with everything else around here, the town centre is multiple centuries, if not millennia old and there are a number of historical buildings, churches, forts and monasteries. We even got here at before 2 pm and had time to check it all out. The very nice hotel we are staying at is in a 15th century building but very updated. Everything works. So what's ugly about this?

Well, everything works, except on Mondays.  Today is Monday.

There are a number of restaurants in town, and several of them looked quite good ... according to Google. However, Mr Google got the names, locations and opening times wrong for just about all of them. On the last point, opening times, it turns out on Monday, all the restaurants bar one on the very outskirts of the town, that we were physically able to locate, were closed. 

Tell two people on a bike tour that they can't get anything to eat and things get ugly!

The one place that was open, Il Brigante was sort of like the Denny's of Italy. This is Italy, so the food (pizza) was actually pretty good, but the anticipated ambiance of a family run trattoria with tables filled with multigenerational families just was not there. 

As with the road rant though, we did get fed, it was pretty good, we did get a bottle of good local wine ... and we got a lame story out of it. That's the ugly!

Song of he Day, Liar by Chinese Man ... and a tip of the hat to Google ... almost none of the information about any of the restaurants in this town was correct .. wrong names, locations, open/closed status. Google (Maps in particular) does not present you with information that allows you to make  your own decisions. It presents you with a blue dotted line leading to a commercial establishment that has paid Google, in one way or the other, to lead you to them. Even then they get it wrong! OK, Google rant over .. great song, and as seems to be the way with French artists, a video that's a bit on the dark side. Works for me!

Pics tell the rest of today's story.

Short day on virtually abandoned roads!
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Starting the day in bright sunshine in Candela
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Less than one km into the ride (that's Candela in the background) we come to this ... we know what to do. Unload the bags, ferry them around the fence, pass the bikes through, scrape mud out of cleats, reload and keep going. This is not our first rodeo for this! Upside is that there is zero traffic except us after this!
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First climb of the day with a tailwind assist. This is the countryside that got us thinking about the Spaghetti Westerns, even more so on the descent on the other side of the climb
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Starting a very nice 5 km descent into a very remote looking High Plains Drifter landscape. The road conditions on the way up were very good, as was the very first part of the descent shown here .. after this ... not so good!
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riding with our constant companions, the windmills
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Glenna Jefferiesno yeehaw'ing horse riding cowboys, just the constant swish of the mills! You said it was windy, so assume they were turning.
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2 weeks ago
most of the next 25 km's was like this, some asphalt, some broken up asphalt, some dirt / rock track turned to mud. Very sticky mud, lots of clay in the soil. I guess there is a reason we saw NO other vehicles other than two cars coming out of a field on this section. Overall, a nice ride that would have been exceptional with a good road all the way
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I should have taken this with a sepia filter .. and then Photoshoped Clint Eastwood riding up to the church on a horse ... would have completed the feel for the day
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Scott AndersonYou’re right about this country - it really feels other world is compared to the north. Basilicata and Calabria still both feel so remote, so untouched by the modern age. I’m anxious to see tomorrow’s post to see which way you continue south.
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2 weeks ago
Made short work of the day with help from the tailwind and we were soon in Venosa. Kirsten's trying to get some material for fresh OJ
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Parts of Venosa look very much like Puglia ... white buildings and paving stones, others wave a more western med feel like these buildings
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Roman era Mutt & Jeff ... some bas relief carvings in the Complesso della Santissima Trinata church and monestary ruins in Venosa ... i just liked the look of these guys
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The plain but beautiful light in Complesso della Santissima Trinata church
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looking north from Venosa ... very different landscape ... more plains with a few scattered hills ... you can see for miles
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Lovely bell tower at Complesso della Santissima Trinata church
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Classic street conversation in Venosa as the sun is starting to set and the town is coming alive again
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classic white paving stones for streets. Worn very smooth over the years
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This is the window display for a mens clothing store ... this is not the first time we've seen vintage motorcycles used this way ... seems to be a thing in Italy
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one of the streets in Venosa that you can't get a car down ... but I'm sure someone has tried
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lovely evening light on the old Fort in the center of old Venosa. It's under renovation so there is not much more than this to see at it
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We had beautiful blue sky and warm temperatures where we are ... but something is brewing in the next valley!
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just a random street scene that caught my eye
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... and another one at night ...
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This is the wide part of the main street that our hotel is one. Two way traffic for both cars and pedestrians
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another night time door picture ... I just like the light and textures
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Good night from Vernosa - from our Italian Denny's .. very nice local (from Venosa) Agliancio del Vulture and pretty good pizza too!
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Scott AndersonWhat a shame. Venosa has at least one really nice restaurant, if you arrive on the right day.
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2 weeks ago

Today's ride: 48 km (30 miles)
Total: 2,847 km (1,768 miles)

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Rachael AndersonWe had a similar problem finding a restaurant on our trip last fall in France. I’m glad you found food.

https://www.cycleblaze.com/journals/dubrovnik2018/lagrasse/
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2 weeks ago