I woke up just after dawn, as usual (since we usually go to bed by 9 or 10) and sat up to begin packing up camp for our ride toward Pisa. Instead, I was met with an overwhelming dizzy sensation. I put my head between my knees and when it didn’t fade, I laid back down. Ten minutes later, I sat up again but this time the dizzy spell was accompanied by severe nausea. I bolted out of the tent and stumbled across the camping field to the bathroom facilities, barely making it to the toilet before the puking began.
Having emptied the limited contents of my stomach, I dragged myself back to the tent and grabbed the Pepto Bismol. Ben had already packed up half of our bedding for departure and I urged him to hold up for ten minutes while I laid down to see if whatever was plaguing me would go away. No such luck- my head just wouldn’t quit spinning. It wasn’t even 7:00 AM and our plans were already thwarted.
I crawled back in my sleeping bag and went straight back to sleep.
Given Bree’s state, it was obvious that we would not be going anywhere today. It was kind of sad to see how disappointed she was about not being able to ride, and even trying to convince herself and me that she could pedal 70 kilometers into Pisa. There was no way, though, that I was going to let her try to navigate a 70 pound bicycle when she could hardly sit up without dizziness and nausea.
Guess we’re spending the day at Camping River. The campsite is somewhat entertaining, since there are no signs in Italian (all English), yet the camp host was surprised to see that we were United States citizens. No one else here speaks any English, so we are a bit perplexed. Wherever we go, we are almost celebrities with our ridiculous bicycles and American passports. Apparently Americans don’t typically travel this way.
We spent the slow morning walking down to the very large and very unspectacular river (though it must be deep since full 25 foot lake yachts are docked casually on cinder blocks along the banks). Bree took at least three naps, and I spent time playing with our site’s back end. When she finally woke up, we spent the day lazily discussing future plans for our garden, making lists of things we want to accomplish when we return, and thinking about our families.
Bree: Aside from walking around a bit and napping, we also decided to try to make another half decent meal since after not eating all day, I was starting to get a bit hungry. We ran into yet another epic failure with the stove. I wish I would have remembered to take a picture, but by the time we gave up, Ben was covered to his elbows in black soot and no food ever got cooked. Our MSR Whisperlite Stove seems to have a serious problem becasue it refuses to work like it did at home despite numerous cleanings and we no longer have the desire to try to cook anything due to the time required and the enormous mess it makes. I’m pretty sure it will be headed home in a box in a few days time and hopefully we can find a nice, normal, white gas stove to replace it with.
Having given up on the stove and begrudgingly eaten a picnic style dinner instead, we headed to the internet point to check out some more route options.
As we look toward Tuscany as the next phase of our journey, we are beginning to foresee a very critical decision to make – namely where to go from here. Our original idea was to head east across Italy to Ancona, where we would take a ferry into Croatia and continue through Eastern Europe. As we continue to explore options, however, a few alternative are rising to the top. The first is to ride down Italy into Rome, and then across Italy and ferry to Croatia. The other altenrative is to ferry over to Corsica for a short time, and then to France where we would continue through Western Europe. We are really stuck with this decision. Does anybody have any input?
Even after being here for only 10 days, we have seen a shift in our desire to seek out the “highlights” of Europe being replaced by the desire to enjoy the subtler beauties and experiences which Italy has to offer. We have been forced to slow down and take a closer look at the the people and places which we visit. I suppose that is the beauty of traveling by bicycle – that you must move slowly and very deliberately.