May 25: Verona
As we were retrieving our bikes this morning, we saw Howard madly working on Bud's wheel. The one thing he was missing was the freewheel puller, which thankfully Adrienne had. So with that in hand, Howard put the finishing touches on Bud's wheel, and it looked as true as true can be. Bud rode it the whole day with no hiccups. Howard truly was amazing and did a masterful job!
We started out from Sirmione by ourselves, thinking that we would try to get to Verona as fast as possible so we'd have a lot of time to see the city. We ran into Joan and Adrienne on the way out, and together took a few wrong turns and then righted ourselves before we parted ways.
We tried to follow the cue sheet, but I'm certain we didn't go the way that was intended, because we saw no one else we knew out on the road until Pozzolengo. Since most folks got out the door before we did, we expected to run into a few people along the way. In Pozzolengo, we found Bill and Ellie and Tom and Natalie, and together worked our way out of the town, having to ask directions a couple of times.
Getting lost is more fun than going the right way because you get to ask directions of complete strangers in a foreign language. Typically, I'll ask directions, and the person will give me the same directions several times, complete with lots of hand gestures. At the end, the direction giver (especially if it's a guy) may want to shake your hand. I think that in some of these small towns, having foreigners there is not so common... it's really very neat and enriches the trip that much more.
Nothing much of note happened on the way to Verona. We just rode hard and got to the hotel by noon. Only the van and John and Birdie got there before us.
We stayed at the Hotel Due Torri, a beautiful old hotel near the Adige. (That river keeps following us around!) Our room was on the fourth floor, overlooking the rooftops of Verona. It had parquet floors, in the bedroom, and our bathroom was capacious with marble tile. It was simply lovely.
After having a nice lunch at a cafe in Piazza Erbe, Kurt and I set out for a bike store. Kurt's shoes, 12-year old Duegis, were falling apart. The sole was separating from the uppers and he really needed to get a new pair. The hotel had directed us to a bike shop near the Castle in Verona. Of course they didn't reopen until 3:30, so we walked down to the area and walked around admiring the shops and the buildings until they opened. We went to Piazza Bra, looked at the Arena, went window shopping in all the pedestrian vias. Verona is really quite a beautiful city.. we had been here before, but I would really like to come back again.
That bike shop had nothing to sell us, but the shopkeeper directed us to a shop just a few hundred meters away (further away from our hotel). They were able to outfit Kurt with a nice pair of Northwave shoes, and while we were at it, a jersey from the local shop. They didn't have a jersey in my size, and I really wanted to get one. So the store owner directed us to a shop that was quite close to our hotel. (Why the hotel didn't, I don't know... I guess they're not cyclists!)
At Chesini, just on the other side of the Adige from the hotel, I was able to buy shorts, jersey and wind vest with the shop logo on it. The guy was very nice, and it was fun to do all these transactions in Italian.
We came back to the hotel for our nightly meeting and dinner, and retired to bed after using all the hotel towels we had to dry our laundry. (Tip from John & Birdie: roll your washed laundry in the towels (after wringing by hand) and step on the towel to get the towel to soak up all the excess water. Try it, it works!)