We have had two days of intense rain with flooding and landslides in the Emilia-Romagna region throwing our plans into Plan B mode.
Yesterday was always destined to be a rest day in Split, as we were boarding our ferry to leave Eastern Europe after a brilliant three weeks.
The weather was shite, per the forecast.
We needed to vacate our little apartment by 10am and then kill time until the ferry embarkation commenced at around 5.30 pm.
The day was long, as it was cold and wet and we had two bikes and our luggage with us.
We ventured from cafe to restaurant, spending a few hours at one with outdoor heaters. Check out the size of the base of the olive tree behind me.
Do you recall the story a few days back of our Wolf Creek sports Jaguar driver? The guy who offered to transport us, and our bikes, in his Jaguar coupe? He was the guy who got really crabby with us for not accepting his offer. We have since ridden around 350 km since we saw him.
Guess who walked up to us and greeted us like long lost friends at this restaurant in Split? If I had been sitting on a perch, I would have fallen off in astonishment! I was gobsmacked! Split is a really big city….what were the chances of that?
After closing my amazed mouth, he told us he was looking for accomodation. We bid him farewell. 30 minutes later he reappears with a suitcase to chat again and eats at the same restaurant wanting to know if we were staying the night. We left pronto!
Wandering around the old town here are a few photos. Not many taken due to the rain and trying to find places to keep warm.
Split is famous for the Diocletian’s Palace, built for the Roman Emperor Diocletian in the 4th century. Today the remains form about half the old town of Split.
It is not a palace as you would normally think a palace looks like, but more if a large fortress. There are hundreds of commercial enterprises contained within. Tours are available but the bikes prevented that.
Here are a couple of photos showing parts of the palace.
We headed over to the Port of Split early….hanging around like a bad smell. We were there so long we got asked for Euros over and over and again by the same guys so they could buy cigarettes.
We were two of the first three to board the cargo hold. That was good as it meant we were not out in the rain like these guys. The third person was a German motorcyclist, who told us he realised he had boarded the wrong ferry! He was meant to be on the Jadrolinjia on the left. That is the Croatian government owned ferry company. We were on SNAV, the Italian based one. They run the same time and day schedules! Crazy!
The crew were far from ready for us, or the vehicles. They worked really hard and fast through their duties. 🙈
The second photo is of the wall some 10 metres from where these two are sitting. Maybe they should have gone to Specsavers!?!
Our bikes would eventually rest against the yellow parallel bars. The guy on the left tied them securely.
The guy on the right is new to the job but seems to be fitting in well. He told me he was from the Ukraine and wanted to know if we would cycle there too. Umm let me think about that…nope!
Our last daylight photos of Split taken on board the ferry. The ferry left one hour late as we watched the difficulties they were having with the main rear match door closure.
Plan B for today was activated when we awoke (being woken up at 5.30 am by the p.a.) to look out the window. Damn those meteorologists, they were right yet again.
We decided we would not hang around Ancona and ride north. It was bucketing down and the winds were a 50 kmh northerly (headwind). These photos were taken on route to the railway station.
Here I am googling train timetables and routes.
On the train at 8.42 am and we were heading to Bologna, where the Giro d’Italia had started only a few days earlier. Bologna would line us up with the next day’s ride in what seems to be an improved weather forecast. Not great, but hopefully minimal rain.
As we followed the coastline along what would have been our riding route, this was the consistent view. The Adriatic was smashing over breakwalls.
An announcement was made that due to a river flooding, railway infrastructure had been damaged on the line ahead, therefore there would be a significant delay as they took a longer option to get to Bologna.
5 hours it took all up for what was cited as a 2 hour rail journey. We later learned that there had been significant flooding and landslides in the region. We made the right call!
So now we are in Bologna. It is cold, but the heavy rain has stopped and now only occasional showers.
We are hopeful of continuing our ride, as planned, in the morning.
Bologna is a very interesting city and is the capital of the Emilia-Romagna region. Etruscan in origin, then Roman it is famous for its towers, churches and porticos. The world’s oldest university is here, established in 1088.
Some photos from our walking tour.
The army guards the San Petronio Basilica located in Piazza Maggiore.
The pillars are extraordinarily huge, with the gothic vaulting a feature high up. Construction commenced in 1388. It is the 10th largest church in the world (based on volume).
We also wandered into another local church. It amazes me how much money has been spent constructing, in the creation of sculptures, massive art works and the like. It borders obscene extravagance (notwithstanding my appreciation for the artisans skills). What that money could do for the homeless and impoverished in the world…..
Heading back towards our hotel, Tony ordered a caramel cappuccino. I said I’d try one. This is not what I was expecting.
A fortnight remains of our cycling journey. Fingers crossed for tomorrow.
My last picture is from Split, where there is a Museum featuring stuffed frogs! No is the answer in case you were wondering.
Thanks for reading,