180609-Retrospective

29 years ago, failing out of college, I took a year off, worked to earn money, and flew to London to cycle in Europe. I had no plan. No destination. No GPS. No phone. No bicycle.

When I crossed the Swiss Alps that July, ice still floated in the lake. The truck behind me at the border crossing still followed me when the main descent ended. I had smoke coming from my brakes. I stopped in Verona to rest and recover. Verona was hot. Low on money, I turned around to cycle towards Austria and home.

Today, almost thirty years later, I crossed the path of that wayward soul. It provides a strange sense of completeness.

In the late evening last night Cameron rolled into the campground. From California, Cameron has toured in the US, and backpacked in Europe, and is on his first European cycle tour. We stayed up late into the night talking.

When I awoke this morning, I decided to forego visiting the castle (more an administration building) to get an earlier start for Verona. As Cameron had theorized based on his ride from Verona, I fought headwinds all day, making the day more dreary than yesterday. Still, small roads and dedicated cycle path predominated.

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Even so, I still had the occasional traffic problem.
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The campground in Verona rests inside the walls of the local castle. On top of a hill. After the long day, I considered a hostel, but camping inside the castle walls prevailed.

After setting up camp, I descended and explored the city. Another beautiful city. If you’re somewhere that most of the shops sell tourist kitsch, spend more time traveling outside the mainstream – it’s well worth it.

I emailed four bicycle shops today in Venice (technically Mestre) inquiring about a bike box. Tomorrow I’ll explore the castle before I depart in the direction of Venice. In theory with tailwind.

I spent the evening chatting with two Dutch hitchhikers who have decided that for this trip they need three things. They need their passport. To have enjoyment. And to feel their soul.

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