Giro di Mezzogiorno, take one - In the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies - CycleBlaze

February 4, 2019

Giro di Mezzogiorno, take one

Our first tour of southern Italy

We’ve seen some of this country before.  Sicily of course, but some of the mainland too.  Back in 2006, in the dark ages - after I quit keeping a written journal of our tours and before I began posting them online - Rachael and I took a spring tour of southern Italy.  Things being as they are, my memory of this tour is sketchy at best - other than the photographs, I’m left with general impressions and some specific highlights that stand out in my memory.

Still, there are the photos to jog my memory a bit; and the sooner I jog it the better.  What better time than now, while we’re sitting inside keeping dry waiting for spring?  I’ll post this as an embedded journal, giving a bit of historical context for the tour coming up. 

As background, this was one of the tours we took while we were both still working full-time as software development project leaders for SAIF, Oregon’s largest workers compensation insurer.  We were more than fortunate to have an employer who gave us space to leave the office for an extended absence each year, but 2006 was a real coup.  Somehow we talked them into letting us go twice: for this five week spring tour of southern Italy, and again at the end of the year when we took a six week working vacation in Australia, mixing short tours with stints where we telecommuted from Melbourne.

So, just the basics for now by way of an introduction.   We were on the road from April 28th through June 5th, flying into and out of Rome.  The tour had four subsections, linked by train and/or boat.  I’m a bit shaky on the details, but it generally looked like this:

  • From Rome, we caught the train to Taranto for a tour of Puglia, ending somewhere in Basilicata.  Maybe I’ll be able to remember the village we caught the train at by staring hard enough at the map, but it must have been about twenty miles south of Venosa.
  • We took a train from Basilicata to Battapiglia and then bicycled south along the coast to Sapri.
  • From Sapri we took the train north again to Salerno and biked up the Amalfi coast to Pompeii.
  • On the train in again, we continued north to Civitavecchia where we caught the overnight ferry to Cagliari, Sardinia.
  • From Cagliari we circled Sardinia clockwise, ending at Golfo Aranci where we caught the ferry back to Civitavecchia and the train back to Rome for a few days to visit the Eternal City before flying home.

As I said, my memory of this tour is sketchy at best.  It’s taken a bit of head scratching even to remember the connections between these segments.  I’m sure a lot will come back to me once we break out the photo album though; and when I can’t remember for sure, I’ll just make enough stuff up to put together a compelling narrative.

In the meantime though we’ll have to wait for Amazon to hopefully provide us access to the photo album, which is in here somewhere:

This is the external hard drive that contains photos from many of our older tours. We lost the charger to it in the move from our condo to storage, so we can’t access it until we get a replacement.
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Hopefully we will be able to replace it.  I took it down to Office Depot this morning, and they didn’t have anything to offer - not surprising, since it’s such an old, outdated model.  I found what looks like the right charger on Amazon, but it won’t arrive for another week or so.  In the meantime, while we wait we can at least enjoy the single photograph of this tour I still have access to:

This amazing rock is Pan di Zuccero (sugar loaf), off the coast of southwestern Sardinia. It’s enough to make me wish we were going back to Sardinia on this tour too.
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So, what else is there to say while we wait for the key to the photo album?    We were both riding Cannondales then (we didn’t get our Bike Fridays until 2009), we were still finding our way around with paper maps (we finally got our GPS devices the next year, to help keep us from getting hopelessly lost on our tour of Japan), and I think we were still carrying around a small library of novels because we didn’t have Kindles yet.  I can’t remember for sure whether I had a digital camera yet or was still shooting film, but I should know once we see the album.  And we were still carrying considerably younger bodies and riding longer days.

That’s about it.  Hopefully there will be more to come once the mail arrives.

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