After the busy, dull ride yesterday, it was refreshing to roll out of camp to blue skies and very quiet farmland. The silence would have been almost perfect except for our new constant companion as of late- a headwind. With the gusts whistling by, we made slightly slow, but pretty good time. With no traffic to dodge, I had plenty of time for my thoughts to wander.
We’ve been on the road for what seems like a long time now, and sometimes I wonder what it was at home that we ever considered to be stressful. Finding food and water was a non-issue and we always knew where we were going to sleep. We had comfortable day jobs and family close by. On a windy day like today, I would simply have stayed inside. At times our modern life was tiring, but I don’t think I ever knew what exhaustion truly felt like. These days, I feel it almost every day. My legs are in a constant cycle of tiredness and at times the stress of the weather, finding a grocery store, and wondering where we will sleep weighs on me as well. I’m no good at trusting that things will work themselves out. Still, I think we will look back on this experience and know that the fact that it was hard was what made it great.
En route to Venice, Ben had scheduled us to stop through a couple of walled cities, namely Citadella and Castelfranco. We had hoped to make the ride a bit more interesting by breaking it up with some sights. It does seem that the novelty of travel has worn off a bit and these cities which would have certainly excited us at the beginning of our tour seemed routine almost and we dutifully stopped, looked, snapped a few pictures and then rolled on. We are trying hard not to be too jaded as we pedal but certainly a bit of the wonder in every day has disappeared as this has become our full time job. As we passed through however, we witnessed both a funeral and a wedding, giving me a good reminder that people live, marry, grow old, and die in the places we pass every day and that we are lucky to have right now together in such beautiful places.
Around lunchtime we stopped at a local bakery for some bread and as we ate our snack outside in the shade, an old Italian man came to talk to us. He was very impressed with the load on our bicycles and when we found out we were heading toward Venice, he had lots of advice for us on how to get there. He was amazed at how far we were riding and kept telling us congratulations. I was pretty impressed at how much of his chattering I was able to catch from my years of college Spanish, but as always, there was a fair bit of miming going on. Eventually, he headed in to buy his bread and we headed on our way.
Gratefully, by afternoon the wind had let up a little bit, instead replaced with the humid, hot sun. We were getting a bit tired of being on the bikes (we don’t seem to have the muscles required for flat riding anymore!) and were anxious to get settled in for the evening. The traffic stayed nice and quiet through the suburbs of Mestre right until we rolled into camp. I ran across the street for some ice cream and groceries while Ben met our neighbors from Holland on a motorcycle tour. They just came in from Greece on a ferry today. They were pretty entertained with our entire tub of ice cream and told us that we fit the American stereotype of loving ice cream and wanting everything to be big! They laughed when we told them that the cartons of ice cream are half the size of the ones at home.
Since we will be here a few days, we ran a huge load of laundry in an actual washing machine hoping to get a fresh start on having everything really clean again. It only took a half hour and we didn’t have to do anything while it ran. We were so amazed at how dry they got from the spin cycle compared to when we wash by hand. I couldn’t help but laugh at what things have become such luxuries these days!