To San Pietro In Bevagna - Skipping About the Continent - CycleBlaze

April 7, 2022

To San Pietro In Bevagna

Here we go!

I woke early, a little nervous and anxious to get started. The weather prediction was cloudy with chance of precipitation – light rain early with more significant storms later this afternoon. Though it was only 32 miles to my destination in San Pietro In Bevagna, I wanted to get an early start so as to avoid any downpours. And I wasn’t sure if/how my ankle might slow down my progress.  

Early morning on the Little Sea
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Early morning on the Little Sea
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The Old City shines in the early morning sunlight
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Morning activity along the quay
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The morning was full of mis-steps, a sign that my head as well as my body was not in full touring mode – or maybe this is my normal touring mode. My sister had given me an Apple AirTag for Christmas, in the hopes that I would not lose my wallet on this trip. Instead, I lost the AirTag. It apparently fell out of my wallet somewhere in the room and was found by the cleaning staff who returned it before I’d finished packing up the bike. If only I could use it to keep from losing my head. The reason I took so long loading the bike was that I lost, then found, my riding gloves. And, just as I was ready to swing my leg up and over the top tube, the light misting turned into a steady drizzle. Better put on the rain jacket. All the while, I was being hit up for cash by a rather nattily dressed street beggar.

At long last I was off, back on the bike and navigating through early morning traffic to the bike/bus lane that took me across the Ponte Girevole and the canal separating Old and New Taranto. Crossing into the New City was like being transported to a completely different town – one with an expansive promenade, modern art work, well-developed bike lanes, and scores of people bustling about. Taranto is certainly a city of many faces.  

I debated whether to wear the brace, but opted for the proverbial ounce of caution
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Aragon Castle from the New City
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My first sighting of a submarine in action - and a flashback to The Hunt for Red October
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A monument to the sailors, sculpted by Vittorio di Cobertaldo, sits along the New City promenade
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A dedicated bike lane took me along the promenade and through the city
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I followed the bike path about 4 miles to the outskirts and SP100, a provincial road with a good shoulder that travelled inland through a series of small nondescript towns. The rain had stopped but threatening clouds persisted. I was anxious to reach the coast and head south. The cycling was easy, my ankle felt great and I was keeping a pretty good pace. I reached the coastal road coastal road, SP122, near Leporano Marina and turned south, aided by a light northwesterly breeze.

Despite the cloudy day, the ride along the coast was sheer delight. I am not a beach person, but like most people I love a coast line. Too often though, coastal roads are crowded with beachgoers and/or those enjoying the sight of waves crashing along a rocky shore. Not today. The beaches were empty and there was very little traffic. For long stretches I was alone with just the sound of pounding waves and the occasional shore bird. I stopped for photos, but mostly kept pedaling – reveling in the rhythm of the ride as I passed through town after town shuttered for business. This, I thought, is a great time to visit the coastal towns of Puglia.

Along the way San Pietro In Bevagna
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Along the way San Pietro In Bevagna
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Along the way San Pietro In Bevagna
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Along the way San Pietro In Bevagna
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Empty roads and beaches were typical of the day
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A spot of sun along the way San Pietro In Bevagna
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Scott AndersonNice coating of sand on those tires!
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4 months ago
Along the way San Pietro In Bevagna
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The sun broke through occasionally and the temperature stayed around 60°F, all very pleasant. I reached Campomarino around noon and had my lunch along the marina, ham and cheese on a hard roll that I’d taken from breakfast this morning. It was only five miles to my lodging for the night, so strolled around the marina and up onto the sea wall.

Along the sea wall in Campomarino
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Marina in Campomarino
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I’d booked a room in San Pietro In Bevagna for no real particular reason other than distance. I’m not sure why I chose this particular establishment, but in hindsight I should have been paying more attention. I’d mapped the location on my gps – it seemed to be just outside of town. Therefore I was a bit surprised when I found myself miles from town on a rutted, rocky, gravel track and staring at an abandoned building. This clearly was not my home for the night. I rode up and down the road, using both google maps and the advice of local tradesmen but failed to find the establishment. I was on the right road, but there were few places that would warrant an 8.6 rating on Booking.com. I still had a couple of hours to check-in so I made my way into town, along roads that were in even worse shape. I eventually came across a house that might have been my booking - it had the correct street number but was in the wrong place and there no signage. I kept going.  

Riding through town, past all the shuttered establishments, I began to wish that maybe it was a little later in the season. I finally found an open bar and with coffee in hand sat down to consider my options. I thought of phoning the booking, but at this stage I was not keen to stay that far from town as it would likely entail cycling back from dinner along dicey roads in the dark. I made a couple of phone calls and found a B&B in town that was available and so cancelled my booking in the countryside. I tried asking for a refund, claiming I was lost and with an injured ankle, but my request was denied. I had been at the right location and was spotted by the proprietor who had tried calling out to me as I slowly rode away. On the upside, I have a wonderful little place with a terrace in the sun. I’m in town and it’s a short walk to local restaurants.  

Is this my booking? Bad road, nice flowers.
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Rachael AndersonThat’s unfortunate! We use booking.com and sort by distance from town. That may help in the future.
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4 months ago
Where I finally settled in San Pietro In Bevagna
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Suzanne GibsonGood solution!
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4 months ago
Late afternoon sun - with predictions for sun tomorrow
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Despite the lack of commercial activity on my earlier run through town, a google search indicated that several nearby restaurants would open for dinner sometime after 7 pm. I chose based on distance and menu headed out on foot for Il Riccio, about 400 meters down SP122. I was encouraged to see a light on and someone who appeared to be setting tables. The restaurant did not open for another 25 minutes so I had a nice walk along the beach. 

A restaurant with a light on inside - a good sign.
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Heading to the beach
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Looking south along the coast
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A view to the north
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I wonder if sea urchins are on the menu
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On my return to the restaurant I was informed that no, no dinner tonight – I’m not sure why, due to the lack of common language between us. I did understand, however, that the next open restaurant was 6 km down the road. I pleaded for a panini or some bread, but to no avail. He then remembered the Hotel Byzantine, just 200m further down the road. I had half a mind to go back to the B&B for a Clif bar, but I’d skipped dinner last night and thought it best to not make missing meals a trend.

The hotel was quite impressive and a bit formal, almost a throwback to another era. To my delight, the restaurant was serving dinner, but not until 8 pm, another 25 minutes. The front desk clerk confirmed my spot with the kitchen, checked my Green Pass and gave me a mask. At about 5 minutes to 8 I was ushered in to an expansive dining room, with cloth-covered tables and full place settings for upwards of sixty people. I was seated at one of the smaller tables and told to scan the menu while the waiter turned on the TV, for my enjoyment I guess. The menu was all in Italian and it took a while to realize that I was in for a four course meal with limited, if any, options for each course. It was turning into bizarro night at the Byzantine – I had a feeling of being trapped in an episode of the Twilight Zone.

Eventually I was joined by one other diner, then two more, each taking a table immediately adjacent to mine. The other 56+ place settings remained untouched. The first course was ham from nearby Martina Franca, followed by pasta with mushrooms, pumpkin and bacon. Third was a fried course - fried calamari, fried prawns and French fries. Finally some type of ice cream cake with strawberries. None of the fare was remarkable, with the fried calamari and prawns topping the list of “I wouldn’t order again”. Finally, after almost two hours, the meal was finished and I set out for the B&B, 700m along SP122 in the dark of night. I was hoping that someone akin to the former South Dakota Attorney General Ravnsborg was not out careening through the streets of San Pietro In Bevagna to run me over and leave me in a ditch by the side of the road. Spoiler alert, I made it safely back to the B&B.

It was quite the first day – I can’t wait for tomorrow.

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Today's ride: 36 miles (58 km)
Total: 52 miles (84 km)

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Scott AndersonWonderful. An exceptional adventure, and only one day out!
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4 months ago
Bob DistelbergI agree, coastlines are wonderful. Looks like a beautiful ride.
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4 months ago
Suzanne GibsonIt was many years ago, but in May it was also hard to find anything open.

Bad food is better than no food, which has happened to us a couple of times.
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4 months ago
Tricia GrahamWhat a first day! The really good news is that your ankle held up
Stay safe
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4 months ago