Day 60: Train to Paola to Cosenza - Racpat Morocco to Holland 2023 - CycleBlaze

April 16, 2023

Day 60: Train to Paola to Cosenza

To Cosenza Via Trenitalia

Today is the perfect day to be on the rain...chilly drizzling rain!

The train is scheduled to leave at 10:18. We wait until 9 to set out for the train station just as the rain starts again. We maneuver the bikes down the stairs through the tunnel and then up to the train platform. An Northern-Irish man travelling in Italy talks with us that helps pass the wait time until he leaves on a train.


Patrick goes to check at the ticket counter about where the bike will be loaded on the train. The ticket person speaks English very well , looks up the train configuration and tells us: carriage #3. The same carriage we have our assigned seating. So we move our bikes a little further down the platform toward the front end where the train will stop.

We just came down the stairs and through the tunnel and up the stairs
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Recycle bins are everywhere....and so is all the trash not in the bins
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We have great luck with the trains. First train, Manual, an Italian touring cyclist from Milan will be on the same train. He helps us get on and off. He is going further so we say goodbye quickly. We had shared information about previous routes that we have done and exchanged emails. He is a magician, when we were talking about how we met in 1993, he says “that’s the year I was born,” he says with a grin. 

Manual, an Italian magician and cyclist.
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Sharing information with Manual about good routes to do
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In Paola, we have an hour wait for the train to Cosenza when two older touring cyclists, Oscar and Natalie, from Rotterdam arrive. We have a very nice visit with them while waiting. They are headed to Sicily to meet up with their son and then to Sardinia and Spain, hoping to be in Scotland before returning home in August. When the train to Cosenza arrives, they help us getting our bikes on quickly.

The cycling community is pretty awesome. There is this automatic connection and a willingness to help each other in whatever way possible.

Oscar and Natalie from Rotterdam, he's Dutch and she is French. On tour until August
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“What is this, lunch?” Patrick asks the train attendant handsmus paper bags labeled “Courtesy Kit”. “We are late,” the gal who checks the tickets is quickly handing out the goody bags. “Is this even edible?” we both say as we nibble on one of the very dry snacks. The bottle of water is nice and so is the gesture. The train goes through a very, very long tunnel. “That would be through the mountain we would have had to climb”, Patrick points out. In 20 minutes we are in Cosenza with just a sprinkling of rain.

A courtesy kit because the train was late. A bottle of water, a package of wafers, and a package of some kind of cracker that we questioned whether it edible.
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The train station is huge and vacant. We turn on our phone for internet and book a hotel room nearby. In our experience it does not pay to go haggle at a hotel anymore, the best rates are typically found online. Patrick navigates us to a bike path and then to Hotel Europa. We are just east of the city that will make for an easier exit tomorrow.  There is a big shopping mall behind the hotel and we walk there to find some lunch and again later for dinner. We are ashamed to admit we have KFC for lunch and McDonalds Fish Sandwich for dinner…. Sacrileges, we know, but just like in Morocco we are tiring of Italian food.

Making it out of the train station and navigating to the Hotel Europa
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Back at the hotel, we need to figure out our route to Bari. The first thought is to get to the coast in one and half days and take the train to Taranto. That is until our research shows there are no trains that take bikes on this stretch. The reason to avoid this stretch along the coast with the new interstate there are sections that don’t allow bikes. “I’ve seen the signs with the fines if cycling on the interstate,” Patrick says. This forces the cyclist to go inland to a bridge, which typically means a climb up and around at several major rivers. Added to that is several reports from other cyclists that the coast really isn’t that great to cycle. So the next thought is why stay on the coast and why go to Taranto, why not stay inland?

As Patrick is working on an inland route we hear from Scott about a route they had done in 2019. Interesting some of this route is what Patrick is working on. Rachel had searched Cycleblaze for the town Bernalda and nothing had shown up. She must have spelled the town name incorrectly because when Scott sent a link there it is in their journal Bernalda - In the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies - CycleBlaze 

Shout out to Scott for all his help researching our trains and routes the last couple of days. Even though they are in the middle of their own tour not that far away from us they have been a very good information resource.

Today's ride: 5 km (3 miles)
Total: 2,038 km (1,266 miles)

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Jacquie GaudetWe are into our second month in Sicily and not tiring at all of the food. We avoid salads, though, as they have been sad every time. We find sharing two or three (or four!) courses works well because we get more variety that way.
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1 year ago
Rachel and Patrick HugensTo Jacquie GaudetPerhaps we this is not the best way to express being tired of the food. It's more the lack of variety that we are used to: Chinese, Indian curries, Vietnamese, Thai, Mexican.....
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1 year ago
Jacquie GaudetI can hear all the Chinese and Indian people saying they have many different cuisines and they shouldn’t be lumped together. Italians would say the same.

Even though we have many cuisines available to us at home in the Vancouver area, we rarely eat out. So perhaps we aren’t as used to variety as we might be.
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1 year ago