Friday, October 8, 2010

Finally! A Bicycle!

I never realize just how unhappy it makes me to be away from a bicycle until I am forced to be away from a bicycle.

The titanium bike Experience Plus! has for me this week

RandoGirl and I left Rome yesterday afternoon. We had a blast -- riding the Metro, seeing the sights, hanging out in the piazzas, eating good food -- but were ready to leave. Rome is a great city, but it's still a city, with all of the pollution, crowding, noise, and general hubbub that comes with it. And, to be honest, how many ruins can you really look at? I mean, I get it: It's old. Cradle of culture and all that. Art out the wazoo.

Can I leave now?

Anyway, we got to Sicily, and after a crazy taxi ride got to our hotel. It's very pretty.

View from out hotel room, towards Palermo

We walked back to town to try to get dinner, but found that this is "The South." Now, I'm from the South, but this is a different South, and here in this South nobody even thinks about dinner until after 8 pm. They then stay up till about midnight, sleep later, and then maybe get to work when they feel like it.

They say it's The South, but those of us in America would call it what it is: Key West.

RandoGirl by the Sea

Eventually, we got somebody to say something other than "manana" and feed us dinner, and rambled on back to the hotel. It's much warmer here (in The South ... duh) and the air conditioning in our room was not up to the demands, so we had a fitful night. This was followed by a lazy morning of breakfast and hanging out on the patio. Since we are in Sicily, it only makes sense that there would be a convention of drug dealers at our hotel.

Just before noon, we walked into town for a nice quiet lunch. When we returned, it was finally time ... to get a bike!

And so we did.

We got fitted by Igor, Fabio, and another guy whose name begins with G but nobody could pronounce or remember. Most of our fellow travellers were there, and I will introduce you to them and show their pictures in later blogs. This one is all about the ride.

Igor and company had marked a short 25-kilometer route. It was about five kilometers or traffic as we headed towards Palermo, and then we turned left onto the mountain road and climbed for seven kilometers.

RandoGirl early in the climb -- our hotel is behind her

Just beyond, looking towards the top

Even higher ... 

RandoGirl lovin' the climb

On the way up, we got passed once or twice by local racers out training. I held back ... but it was hard.

We weren't sacra enough for this zona

At the top was a lovely monastery, but we weren't allowed to go in there. We were wearing shorts and lycra, and those are "of the devil."

We went a little past the monastery to get some pictures of the other side. I kept going until I found a decent place to pull out and get a picture of this neat fort stuck on the side of the mountain.

Safe from invading cyclists

While I was taking this picture, a local racer came up from this side. He asked something in Italian that, I think, was "Do you need any help?" I replied, "No, grazzie," and then jumped on my bike to try to race him to the top.

Obviously, Max Watzz came on this vacation with me.


  1. Sorry you didn't like Rome, but you got some great photos, Dad! The scenery looks amazing (and warm... geez, we could use some of that right about now). I'm taking a break from working on a paper right now--an epic paper, I might add, and one that I will probably tell you about when you get home--but I just wanted to check up on you two and tell you that I love and miss you both.

  2. I wouldn't say that I didn't like Rome, RandoDaughter. Having a bicycle there might have made things more fun and/or interesting, or it might have gotten RandoGirl and I killed.

    Looking forward to your Homerian epic.