After our long night in the “wild boar” camp, I was pretty anxious to wake up and get out of there before the herd of boars who had paraded our camp all night got a second chance at us. Ben assured me that they sleep during the day, but my imagination had been running away with me all night! Gratefully, other than rubbing against our tent and playing a bit with our bikes, we were none the worse for the wear, but I was pretty nervous none the less. And to think we had been worried about human intruders!
As we set up camp we discussed the reality that our destination (the coast) was probably 4-5 days of riding away given the mountains we were now climbing. As we assembled our gear on our bikes, we headed up and up and up for another half hour until we stopped for breakfast and had a frank discussion. At the pace we were climbing, we would be another week before we reached the coast and we would probably have to free camp the whole way. With very few resources available to us since we were basically in the middle of nowhere, we were worried about camping and still a little freaked out from the boar encounter. We finally decided that to head back to Pavia was our best course of action. From there, we could catch a train from La Spezia.
I felt a little defeated by the mountains as we road down toward Pavia, now into a stiff headwind. Besides, were were exhausted from the previous day’s climb and from spending the night listening to boar calls instead of sleeping. The traffic was even worse than it had been the day prior and the cotton trees that Ben is so allergic to were blowing their cotton blossoms everywhere. He sniffed and wiped his eyes for our whole three hour ride and we took turns breaking wind. While the front rider had to fight for every pedal stroke, the rear could nearly coast along in the wide slipstream of the loaded bikes. I was so grateful to have a partner to be riding with!
It took us a bit of rolling around town to find the train station in Pavia, but we were relieved to find out that the trains could have us in La Spezia by 7:00 PM. Tickets in hand, we headed down the stairs with our loaded touring bikes and quickly discovered it was a two man job. I was quickly rescued by two gentleman who eased my bike down the stairs and kept it from rolling away with me still clinging to it. Whoever you are, THANK YOU!
Unfortunately we were told the wrong platform for our bikes which made boarding quite the process. We ended up in the middle of the train somewhere, sitting between cars with our heavy bikes precariously balanced and moving them every time someone wanted to pass. An hour later, we transfered trains in Genoa. Another perilous staircase presented itself and another kind man generously offered a hand.
It was a relief to finally board the correct bike car and sit back and relax, watching the steep mountains fly by and the ocean finally come into view. The coastal cities also melted away and we felt glad to know we were headed somewhere with a few more options for camping where we wouldn’t have quite so many logistics to deal with so early in our trip. After surveying our camping options, we decided to hop off the train at Levanto so that we could easily explore the Cinque Terre from our campground.
We found a number of campsites in quick range of the station got settled in long before it every got dark. Then we headed out for some groceries. The day after Easter also is apparently a holiday here though, and the store wasn’t open. We took a walk into Levanto and enjoyed the pretty coast and the nice town. Then we ordered a pizza (which was just ok) and a pesto lasagna (which was amazing) to share. By the time we got back to camp, we showered, collapsed and fell fast asleep, grateful for the lack of critters that would be visiting our tent in the night.
Km pedaled: 70