Trying to Look Local - 9 1/2 Weeks - CycleBlaze

November 2, 2019

Trying to Look Local

Benevento to Ariano Iprino

When we are on one of these cycle trips, I think one of Kirsten's favourite things, one that really makes her day, is a working heated towel rack or radiator. Having one of these guarantees clean dry  cycling clothes in the morning. In their absence, you have bike shorts and shirts hanging off your panniers drying in the (hopefully) sun.

Pretty much everyone in Italy hangs their clothes out off a balcony or window to dry in the sun, and Saturday looks to be a particularity popular day to do this. In this sense we fit right in today, except you have to stretch your imagination to see a bike as a balcony. Go on though, give it a try.

We were both pretty pleased to wake up this morning in Benevento. Our train arrived just after 10 pm and we had booked a B&B about 300 m from the train station. The proprietor was there to let us in, a very nice modernized apartment with a shared kitchen area and private bedrooms and bathrooms. 

We are still following, more or less, the Eurovelo 5 route, which for this stage is still in a very early developmental stage. We are also right on the west side of the Appeninnes, and we have to get to the east side. When I was checking out routes we had two broad choices. One would be to stick to the valley bottoms where the main highways run, and that's about it, for (probably) easier but relatively boring cycling with few towns or service. The alternative, which we chose, is to piece together a ride that takes in some of the old towns along the way. Since this is Italy, they are all on hill tops. Since we are also in the Appeninnes, the hills could also be considered mountains.

So today's ride of 43 km could be considered pretty modest distance wise, but our final destination, Ariano Irpino sits right at the top of an 800 m hill / mountain, and the roads to it wind around ridges and fields with outstanding views in every direction. By the time we arrives at the 'Grand Hotel Biffy' (Kirsten cannot say that with a straight face) we had put in a pretty honest 1000 m+ of climbing. Since this is the Appeninnes, some of that climbing was 'in the 'teen's grade' too.

We are still getting used to Italian hours too. We arrived in Ariano around 2 pm, and the old center was pretty much a ghost town. We found one Wine bar that was open and managed to have a pretty good lunch, and refreshing beer ... it was the end of the ride! ... looking out into the deserted square in front of the municipal building. However, on cue, at 2:55 people and cars started to emerge into the square, the steel roller shutters on the business started to open ... the town was back in business!

I'll let the pics tell the rest of the story.

Song of the Day,  Real Midnight by Birds of Chicago ... a great little song ... and it's just after midnight as I'm finishing this up ... works for me.

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Leaving the al Cortile B&B in Benevento. Nice place ... and hey, hanging out the laundry seems like a good idea!
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Still pretty hazy ... nice flat / rolling riding for the first 20 km's
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We came across a few fields of this ... think it's tobacco ... they smoke enough of it here so it would not be out of place!
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... and the harvest was in full swing
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very flat terrain for a few km's ....
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... then we got the hills
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The cloud ceiling lifted quite a bit by mid day giving us great views as we started to climb.
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Look down the valley west towards Benevento
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Kirsten just getting to the top of our first steep climb ... about 200 m elevation gain over about 2 km's. Lots of granny gear grinding on this one
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And that is our goal on the far horizon ... Ariano Irpino. Shot with a telephoto so it looks closer than it is. As the crow flies it's about 8 km's away but we still have about 20 km's or riding to do along the ridge (old caldera again???) to get there ... unless we want to do a full frontal assault on the farm roads again
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Beautiful views along the undulating ridge tops along the way to Ariano
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.. we are getting close now, only about 150 m of vertical left!
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The old castle ruins at the 'summit' in Ariano ~800 m elevation. Quite quiet at this time of year, there were maybe 15 locals wandering around on a Saturday afternoon
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I quite like this statue in this war memorial
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Amazing views from the summit ... This is looking south east .. where we will be headed tomorrow
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... and looking North ... windmills ... not many of these over the last few weeks
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... and looking back west towards Benevento
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The light fades pretty quickly now ... sunset was 16:55 today ... which means the nice late afternoon sun was out as we were making our way to our hotel ... looking north west
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... and finally ... the Grand Hotel Biffy ... looks like an 'event - i.e wedding' place. Quite nice and everything seems to work - quick WiFi for once! Cheap to, 63 Euro with breakfast, for a 4*
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Vainly trying to keep a straight face!
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Great dinner at The Biffy restaurant .... specializing in seafood ... octopus with hummus to start!
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Seafood grill as seconds ... one of the best squid 🦑 ever!
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Good night from Ariano
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Today's ride: 46 km (29 miles)
Total: 2,746 km (1,705 miles)

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