To Rimini - Balkan Dreams - CycleBlaze

October 17, 2020

To Rimini

Well, we didn’t buy our place in Pesaro yet because we have an appointment to keep two days down the road and have to move on.  Thanks to all of you that encouraged us in this idea though.  We’ll open a folder to keep your great input in for when we’re ready to take that next step.

Today we’re moving on north to Rimini though, a town we’re stopping at just because it’s the right distance for the day.  Our real destination is Ravenna and a chance to see its famous mosaics, but that’s too long for one day.  Rimini is just a waypoint about midway to Ravenna.

It’s a short ride and we’re in no big hurry, and it’s quite cold this morning - down to 41 when we woke up this morning.  We go out for coffee and pastries at the cafe around the corner and then head back to our room to keep warm until we have to check out at 10.  By the time we roll out of town it’s warmed up to 56, the sun is out and there’s no wind at all.  A beautiful day to ride. 

Leaving Pesaro for the time being, cycling past the Palazzo Ducale.
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Before leaving town, we pause to consider the flamboyant Ruggeri House, a villa built in 1907 as a private retreat for a pharmaceutical magnate. Probably more than we’ll need - we were thinking more along the lines of a simple 1 bedroom, 1 bath apartment until the special orders started coming in.
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Jen GrumbyThe Classens could have their own private suite here!
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Scott AndersonTo Jen GrumbyYes, and there’s plenty of space for a tent camp outside.
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Pesaro is a thriving fishing port, centered at the mouth of the Foglio River. As we bike past there’s a small fish market on, and flocks of gulls are swarming around keening for handouts.
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Today’s short ride has a split character.  The first fifteen miles are splendid ride down the length of Monte San Bartolo Park, a beautiful protected area that begins on the outskirts of town.  The slow road, Panoramica Adriatica, weaves its way up and down along the crestline as it crosses a series of low hills.  The views are fantastic - across the Adriatic, but especially inland to the gorgeous Marche interior.  And the riding itself is fantastic.  It’s Saturday morning, and the cyclists are out in droves.  We see hundreds of them racing up and down the hills.  It’s a ride you could come back to again and again.  One more weight to toss on the scale in Pesaro’s favor.

Looking back at Pesaro from the initial ascent into Monte San Bartolo Park.
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Chatting (well, as much as you can chat with someone who doesn’t speak your language) with a tandem team at the first viewing pullout.
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The Adriatic is stunning, but the Marche countryside is even more so.
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We are not alone. Bikes pass us frequently all the way through the park.
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It’s surprising to me that the Marche isn’t more of a tourist destination. It’s countryside is every bit as beautiful as in Tuscany or Umbria.
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In the Marche.
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Looking north, with the fortified village of Fiorenzuola di Focara atop the ridge ahead.
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We bike into Fiorenzuola, the first village we come to in the park, with lunch on our minds.  We’re afraid if we wait too long the stores will be closed for midday by the time we come out the other end of the park.

The little village is a mob scene.  Its streetside bars are packed with cyclists and motor bikers, and riders are constantly arriving or leaving.  It’s obviously a primary destination for a day ride.  It’s a charismatic place, a well preserved medieval village built around a thousand year old castle.  A perfect spot for our lunch, sitting on a picnic bench overlooking the sea and enjoying fresh, made to order focaccia sandwiches.

The portal, Fiorenzuola di Focara. The quote above the portal is from Dante, here for reasons unclear to me.
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Fiorenzuola looks like a fine place to explore more slowly, giving another reason to return some day. There’s also a walking path to the sea from here, where you could look back up at the impressive cliffs below.
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A lunchtime companion. Maybe the most interesting thing about this photo to me is the shadow across the blossom. The flower alternated between bright yellow and shaded as the butterfly opened and closed its wings.
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Bill ShaneyfeltMight be a large wall brown... matches images fairly well.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lasiommata_maera
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The view from our lunch spot, looking south to the port at Pesaro.
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Seven beautiful miles and a few ridges later, we come to the end of the park and drop back to the sea.  The remaining fifteen miles to Rimini are similar to the miles coming into Pesaro yesterday - flat, passing through incessant seaside resort developments, and on a bike path nearly the entire way.

Looking down from the north end of San Bartolo Park. Below us is the town of Cattolica. Rimini is out there along the coast somewhere.
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Approaching Rimini.
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Video sound track: Pavane, Performed by Pablo Segovia Gardel

 My mental image of Rimini is of a ten mile long beach resort.  It is that, but behind the beach is an impressive, attractive historical city well worth a visit.  We had a few hours before dinner for a brief walking tour, taking in its most impressive sites: the Arch of Augustus, erected in 27 BC and still in amazingly good condition; and the only slightly newer five arched Tiberius Bridge - begun in 20 BC and completed by his successor Tiberius, its one of the most impressive Roman bridges still in existence.

There’s much more to Rimini than I’d imagined.  There’s even a symphony hall.  It will make a prefect cultural getaway for us once the COVID crisis ends and life returns to normal - we can bike up the coast to Rimini for the weekend, take in a concert, check out the museum, try out one of its many fine restaurants.  If you’re in town staying over in the spare bedroom, you can join us.

The Arch of Augustus, from 27 BC. Originally the arch was crowned by a large statue of the emperor.
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The crenellations are a later addition, after the statue of the emperor came down.
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The Arch of Augustus.
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Piazza Cavour, the cultural heart of the city since the Middle Ages.
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Life goes on for the Italians, even through the pandemic. Here, the newlyweds are shedding their shower of rice.
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I waited a minute for these two to move on so I could take a photo of this bike with a nice wooden crate on the back, but finally got tired of waiting,
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Jen GrumbyThe bike is still clearly the star of the show. Nice!

And the bystanders make for interesting cultural information, especially the woman on the left. She is representing The Brand, and the mask has not fogged her glasses enough to discourage her Device from hijacking her attention. I hope she's just looking at a text message about what she needs to pick up at the grocery store!
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Crossing the 2,000 year old Tiberius Bridge.
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The Tiberius Bridge.
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Looking across the Marecchia River, just upstream from the bridge. There’s a lovely park below the bridge here, but this mural especially caught our attention.
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Below the Tiberius Bridge.
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Jen GrumbyFascinating and beautiful mural. Would love to hear the story behind it.
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Below the Tiberius Bridge.
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Jen GrumbyYoung people demonstrating how to spread Covid. It's not a mask .. it's a chin accessory!
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1 week ago
Scott AndersonTo Jen GrumbyNot a concern, since as you know young people have natural immunity.
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1 week ago
Not sure what’s going on here, but the crew seems to be rehearsing for some sort of event. Rimini is quite a colorful place, and worth a longer look someday.
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Ride stats today: 32 miles, 1,600’; for the tour: 1597 miles, 76,200’

Today's ride: 32 miles (51 km)
Total: 1,597 miles (2,570 km)

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