Pontremoli - Riding the Via Francigina - CycleBlaze

September 19, 2009

Pontremoli

Slept reasonably well waiting for 6.00am as we had to be out by 7.00. Our man arrived about 6.50 and watched TV. We were packed and off on an empty stomach at 7.10. The first 1km was a fast downhill - then an hour or so of pushing uphill. there was a bar for coffee and an apple tart. Then at Bercetto we met an America man walking. Had a yarn with him and thought that he was probably a priest on his way to Rome. There was a village to get bread then on again. It was basically a fine day with light rain on the top. To our surprise we could ride the last 5 km and were going over the pass at about 11.00 - it was 1040m

The country changed, it looked moister, all the way up there were no grazing animals. There were lots of little fields of hay but nothing but 2 deer eating grass. It must be because it is a park. Once over the Cisa Pass there was grazed grass and a few fences, later we got into chestnut forests.

The descent was amazing, an hour on the brakes. It felt as long as the St Bernard Pass descent. Finally we came to one or two villages.

Then on to Pontremoli, we suddenly came to a sign that put us off the road, under an arch and into a tiny narrow street where we pushed the bikes. Little alley ways going off it then around the corner and entry to a massive crowd in two squares with a huge Saturday market which was mainly clothing. In the middle of this I spotted an Information and while I minded the bikes Tricia went in. All the cheap hotels were full and we ended up in a rather ghastly overpriced place with charmless staff (80E). So we ate the lunch we had carried all the way - bread, cheese, pears, figs and the rest of the 1L carton of Vino Rosso. Didn't worry as much as usual about the crumbs seeing we had paid so much for the room.

Later we explored the lovely little medieval town. We found the Supermarket and got supplies for a room meal. Then into town there was a beautiful Duomo were we went to a 6.00pm service with beautiful organ music. Met the American we had seen earlier and we are now sure he is a priest as he went up to communion on his knees.

The Cisa Pass 1040m
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Lovely country
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The market
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Today's ride: 39 km (24 miles)
Total: 1,691 km (1,050 miles)

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