Stage 5.12 Italy. Bolsena to Sutri

4th May 2011  A tail of new routes and road kill!

On the way out of the expansive and empty Convento we see the administrator and her two small girls…with their dog. One of the girls has a suspiciously American accent.  The slightly pro-American attitude is explained.

We dive down the steep slope towards the lake, finding the SS2.    Along the Ss2 in traffic…some lovely meadows and olive trees.

There are some Germans in ROMA cycling uniform   – not a lot faster than us, although they are carrying nothing, and later on, are witnessed stopping at a supporting van!  Cheats!   However, they are also sticking to the SS2, and while we are mulling over the route before Montefiascione, they pass us again never to be see again.

Moral – sometimes the tortoise looses, and that’s fine.  Montfisacone is not really great…it is yet another Italian town despoiled by heavy traffic. In this case rsally heavy trucks etc.  Worse, it is basically unattractive too –  possibly more so since 1944..  Basically, the road in the centre of town is uncrossable.  That is not a way for a town to live.

Viterbo…what can be said.  Mal suburbs, and an old town of sorts gives way to steep climbs.  Never ending, as Regula inaccurately described them.

We go to St Michaeli al Pacino  (al chimono, or al minimo, can’t remember…) to get onto a quiet section and away from the  trucks.  The Frenchguide books has come into its own?  Al Pacino is a really lovely old town on a  steep slope – upwards.  It is really rather untouched, and full of bars with old men, closed shops, closed b and bs and anything else that might be closed.

I have no memory of the space between al Pacino and the Sutrium Hotel, except that just before the hotel there was a big wall, gate (typical) and charming square.  I think charming anyway – there were some very welcoming old men there, who made life seem either eternal, or nearing its end, depending on your view.

OK.  There are available memories, if not mine. After Viterbo, there was a lake. In the prevailing atmospheric onditions in the morning, that large lake produced thunder storms of a failry impressive nature.  Impressive for those indoors and in cars.  By the time we were at Al Pacino or whatever, these storms were really making the conditions.  So..we decided to wait rather than get absolutely soaked.  That waiting took on the nature of a key stone waiting for its building to be demolished.  The storms raged and rain fell.

Then, it stopped.  The building collapsed and we decided to brave the climb out of Pacino.   Hundreds of feet, if not meters up – guess what!  The storm decided it was still raging.  We find a tourists sign with a small roof to shelter under…and a local cyclist joins us.  He is big – huge in fact.  With a bike built for speed and at great cost – more that the 50 euros Regula paid for hers anyway.  He is instantly rebuilding it with tools produced from tight cycling gear…he knows what he is doing, and surprisingly talks to us as equals,  cycling wise.,  but disappears with dire warnings about the lethal down hill stretches past lake number two, through various lethal downhill sections through lethal forests.

Not all useful things are very expensive!

We set off on the aforementioned lethal sections, but fail to prove his point at some speed over 15 km downhill.

As I said,  we got to the Sutrium Hotel….


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