Huh Bring On The Rain Won't Yeah: Tuesday Arriving in Sardinia Rained Off. Wednesday Rain. And Thursday Raining Again! - Lookin For John Fairweather - CycleBlaze

March 27, 2014

Huh Bring On The Rain Won't Yeah: Tuesday Arriving in Sardinia Rained Off. Wednesday Rain. And Thursday Raining Again!

The ferry has already docked on looking out the window after straightening myself up, having slept in the lounge seat until seven. There's the docks of coarse and rugged hills all-round the bay meet with dirty grey low cloud. The quay is wet from recent rain and there are beads of rain on the outside glass. Passengers sit awaiting an announcement for disembarkation.

The waiting is over and all rise to return to their vehicles. Below in the ship's bowels trucks hum forward down the ramp and I follow the convoy of cars off into a drizzling wet morning. Most seem to be local cars, knowing the way, driving onto the island's road-system at an interchange by the port-gate, leaving me cowering against the rain into town for shelter and breakfast.

The rain has quit when I stop at a café by the waterfront. Inside is classy like an expensive hotel café, but a cappuccino cost a poultry one euro. Together with two apricot croissants and a second cappuccino the bill is four fifty. Looking out it hasn't started raining again, so I think of getting on the road, but first as there is WiFi here, I go out and return with my netbook. When I look out again I see people walking by with umbrellas up. I remain put for a half hour, but still there's no let up. Its raining heavier than when I rode from the ferry. There's only one thing to do, apart from a miserable day riding in it, that is find a hotel and spent the day updating the journal.

While riding away from Olbia on Wednesday morning.
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I check the weather forecast last thing in the evening before lying down to sleep. Huh! The weather map shows clouds dripping rain for Wednesday too. Thursday is the same. Then Friday the yellow disc of the sun returns.

I don't wake-up until seven-thirty the next morning. When I open the French-windows and go out on the balcony, I see below the street is dry and the day is brighter although the cloud-cover remains. I pack my bags and take them out to the lift. Downstairs I expected breakfast to be nothing more than a croissant; but no, there's a full table with a buffet laid-out. There's salami, Parma ham, cheese. Cereals. A big bowl of fruit. There are juices and yogurts and two cakes which I carve a big slice of both. The woman in attendance asks what I wish to drink as I load my plate. The cappuccino I ask for come, which like breakfast is good and when I eat my fill, there's still a slice of cake remaining which I rap in a serviette for the road.

There is uniform grey sky as I ride away from town and I'm thinking the forecasted rain will perhaps miss this part. I'm on the island's main ring-road, a single-carriageway heading toward the rocky low hills beyond town and before long I'm among those hills, in a little valley with low bush clad slopes either side. There's a bit of a climb mid range, which accentuate the play in my bottom-bracket, with each pedal stroke making slow response until taking up slack in the chain. The effect of the chain-set not being held firmly in place. At least it isn't skipping yet, but will have to be taken care of soon when I find a bike-shop; as soon as I get to somewhere big such as in the South of France.

At a roundabout approaching Arzachena, a big group of racing-cyclists, all in the same white with green detail club livery, swoosh by, each with out fail give me the "Ciao" greeting. Then just as I enter town there's a big modern shopping-centre where I purchase the day's needs and in a foyer cafe have that cappuccino Is hoping to have for elevenses. The Italian coffee as always is remarkable, but it doesn't last long until I'm down to the froth in the bottom of the cup which I spoon feed myself on until the cup is empty. I decide to rid myself of some heavy change, counting out the one-thirty price of a second cappuccino in twenties, tens and five cent coins. Then return to the bar with a cylinder of gold and coppers held firmly in the palm of my hand.

On returning out to the bike with a bag of shopping, it is dripping spots of rain, so once I've everything on the bike, get the rain-jacket out. I have to use the pliers on my Leatherman to squeeze the zipper together as the zip is at the stage were it comes apart, leaving the front of the jacket open. The rain increases to a persistent dripping down while riding along the main through thoroughfare, so decide to call it a day and start looking for a hotel, but don't see any. I ride off up a steep street to a small square where there are market-stalls under awnings selling fruit and veg, fish. Clothes and watches, but still don't see any hotel as the rain gets heavier. I do find a café and sit down to another cappuccino. I drink the cappuccino and use the free WiFi to do some journal writing by which time it has faired. I have a second cappuccino and looking out the rain looks to be over for the day, so I decide to ride on.

I'm wrong about the rain as four-to-five kilometres out of town, it begins dripping rain again, building to a steady drizzle. There are lots of bed signs for guesthouses and I decide on one. I ride up a long unpaved and bumpy undulating laneway until coming to a big house in a walled garden, but the gate is shut. I ring the bell on the gatepost. A woman's voice crackles on the intercom and I ask for a bed for the night to a reply "...escusa!" Then she is heard saying to someone in the background "...englese" Then come back on saying "We are shut!" So I've to ride back out to the road again. The next place I try has a shut sign on the gate. I realise its most probably still out-of-season.

I continue to the port village of Palau, getting wet and miserable, which has lots of hotel and guesthouse signs on the way in. The first hotel I get to is shut. So is the second. I'm pissed off now and thinking what a day as I ride into the centre of town. Then I see a sign: Bed & Breakfast.

The shutters are shut except for on two windows upstairs and the front door is only pulled to. I ring the bell and a young man prematurely greyed opens the door wide. I ask and he explains he only has a double room for forty euros and will not come down. Then directs me to a hotel in the street round the corner, saying there is another guesthouse opposite. When I get there, it is no surprise to find the hotel shut, but the guesthouse opposite like the man said has the door partly open. I ring the bell and getting no respond ring again to which I hear a don't want to be disturb "che!" from within. Then a stout silver haired matron appears at the door and tells me she is shut.

I ride around miserable in the rain and decide to return to the bed and breakfast. This time the man is more willing to negotiate the price down to thirty. Then when I pay, gives me back a five euro bill, coming down further to twenty-five.

News Story: Search for wreckage of missing Malaysian airliner.
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Tea. Coffee. Torte. Plus much more.
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And pizza for lunch.
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I'm in there somewhere in that disturbing weather picture.
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The room is warmly decorated giving the impression of a sunny day even though its raining out. I shower and hang the wet clothes out to dry, then sit-down to journal writing with the TV on as company; could say like a radio while I work.

The red wine in Italy is good and cheap at one sixty-eight for a litre re-sealable carton. Drinking it this evening mellows me. I see things through rose tinted specs; putting to the side of my mind tomorrow, most likely to be wet too, and see what a wonderful world it is. The three plastic beakers I drink is akin to being whacked over the head with a blunt instrument; not doing much permanent damage, but enough to knock me unconscious, because as soon as I lay my head on the pillow I'm out like a light.

I don't wake up until near eight the following morning. Looking out there's no real change in the weather. Grey sky. The pavement is just damp, which means it hasn't been raining for quite a while. I breakfast on eggs and torte left by the guesthouse owner when he returned home yesterday afternoon. I pack everything in accordance to routine and with the bike and panniers all out in the street, return and make a final check that I haven't left anything behind, then leave the keys on a bedside table and come out pulling the door locked after me.

The chain on my bike has turned rusty overnight and no sooner have I the panniers and everything secured on the bike than it come on drizzle, like a cold shower being turned on. I grimace in misery following the street downhill. My brakes chewing up as they drag on the rim. Turn left at the bottom along a one-way to the quayside where the rain come in in a heavy scrawl. Then turn up a steep uphill street leaving town. The rain eases off as I ride away from the coast and I think for a short while it may clear up, until it starts raining again and my heart just isn't in it no more. At least its only eighteen kilometres to Santa Teresa for the ferry to Corsica. But on the way there's more gritty dragging brakes on down-hills.

The ferry terminal is signposted on the way into town. The sign send me down an extremely steep slope, with more chewing drag of the brake, into the mouth of a tunnel. The descent continues in the tunnel which is a few hundred metres long, curved and badly lit in the middle, so suddenly I ride into a blackout, but then further round the curve reveals the light at the proverbial end. I exit out on the puddled quayside where a small ferry is docked. I'm not sure of the sailing time, but it doesn't look to be leaving just yet and a ticket office is shut. Next door there is a café where I cower into shelter and for a fix of coffee.

The family running the café are all sat round the same table at breakfast. I inquire of the woman that come behind the bar to serve the coffee the ferry sailing time in Spanish, changing some words to Italian. She tells me there's a sailing in the morning and one in the afternoon. "Tutti dias?" I ask. "...Giornos!" she corrects me "si."

Now as I write I'm sitting on board the ferry. Its a short sailing of just under an hour and at the moment the cliffs of Corsica and port of Bonifaco are just ahead. One other thing to mention: I bough a good cycling scale map of the Island back in the shop next to the ticket office. At two kilometres per centimetre, it gives a three dimentional picture, showing mountain ranges and valleys. It looks interesting, if only this rain will stop.

Today's ride: 51 km (32 miles)
Total: 12,847 km (7,978 miles)

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