Rieti: September 27 - 28 - jayrose

2014 France / Italy Ride Continued

We slept well on the ferry, but were disappointed with the breakfast…especially for the size of this vessel. The ship was enormous; dunno how many vehicles, but it had two decks and what appeared to be hundreds (well, perhaps not quite) of cars; impressive. We managed the navigation out of the terminal area and onto our track with little difficulty and were soon passing through the  countryside. It was beautiful and green with lots of land under cultivation. As we gained in altitude (only slightly) the greenery got even more lush, almost jungle like in some places. The first town we passed through was Tuscania; it was amazing coming up on the fort so we found an entrance and rode through. The streets were more of the same handlebar width variety and were probably restricted, but it was still early in the morning and we, after all, can be given a little slack as ignorant tourists. Fascinating , for me, to see these old cities. Ethel warned me, that every little town would have a fort and there would be many shinning cities on the hill and she was right. We did a couple more “drive throughs” as we passed through other towns just to experience the feel of the space behind those walls. As we rounded one corner, we saw ahead of us a cloud of mist or smoke or ?, but quickly realized that it was a huge waterfall coming down right next to the road; Cascata Maramore. We stopped (bought a ticket) and watched the water spill over the top of the mountain and felt the mist while we had a light lunch and waited unit the falls were turned off; dam controlled and for some unknown reason the falls “stop” between 1 and 3PM….siesta we guessed. Just (another) word here about Garmin; at the risk of pushing their stock even higher, I would like to say that for a trip such as this the device is virtually indispensable. From setting up today's glorious route, to finding one’s way through these ancient cities to extricating ourselves from seemingly hopeless urban tangles, and even finding hotels for the evening, the device seldom disappoints. We simply don’t know how we’d do this trip without it. We set a modest goal for today; since we now are on, more or less, straight roads (as compared to Sardinia) we can more easily cover additional ground, but wanted not to push today so after stopping, exploring, having lunch, etc., we called it good when we reached Rieti in Umbria, At first the city didn’t appear to have much of the charm we’d been enjoying in the towns we’d passed through earlier in the day, but we found the “inevitable” wall and got behind it and voila, the Hotel Europa right there in one of those tiny streets. We got the bike safety tucked away (in a garage), took showers and rested for a bit then had a look around the old city and found, as we have before, that there is new life inside those old walls. People congregate late in the day, wander about not really going anywhere, visit bars for coffee, cocktails, snacks, window shop and gather to visit. It looks rather incongruous really; modern people wearing modern clothes, holding smart phones all meeting in these ancient places. Dinner doesn’t happen until at least 7:30 (most restaurants don’t open until 8) so we also wandered until we found an eatery that suited us and had a light dinner before calling it a day.

We stayed over another day to rest, relax and do some laundry. During the day another guest in the hotel asked where the theater was and I directed her to the magnificent building (as I'm now so acquainted with the city...I could tell her immediately) . This caused us to be curious so we laster walked over to the theater and learned that there was  an opera to be performed  there later in the evening. We're not opera fans, but really wanted to see inside the place so bought tickets and put on our best opera clothes and attended (we asked the dude in charge if two moto travelers could come in the clothes we had and got an affirmative). It was something by Bellini and well attended, but the theater was beautiful in the classic old opera house style. We had a gelato after the performance and walked back to the hotel.