‘See Venice and Die’ they say; The meaning being that after such a peak experience, their is nothing left to do but die, and happily, but perhaps not quite yet.
Venice feeds off tourism which in turn consumes the city. Recent local anti-tourism demonstrations seem to say, “We want our quality of life more than we want your money!”
Cruise ship traffic, a hefty slice of Venetian tourism is also a major source of atmospheric pollution resulting in the premature death of some 50,000 people every year in Europe. See Venice and die indeed.
Cycling the Sile (Silent) River we quietly leave Venice, taking in the fragrant aromas of tangy sea tinged wild rosemary, feasting on abundant autumn figs and pears.
At Aquileia, in a shady grove of plane and oak trees, we make camp right alongside a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It’s one of the most important archaeological locations of the ancient Roman period, where it’s not too difficult to imagine legions of centurions, merchants or artisans going about their everyday activities.
Remnants of the past are strewn about everywhere. In fact, it’s not uncommon to dig up your own piece of antiquity whilst setting up your tent! A small piece from a terracotta pot perhaps?
Climbing into Trieste is exciting if overwhelming. Taking in the breathtaking scenery of the Adriatic, while concentrating on navigating the crowded roadways, seemingly full of excitable, impatient sports car drivers, we arrive exhausted but elated in this classical harbour city.
Cycling out along the Parenzana Rail Trail we happily leave the road entirely. Getting lost frequently, we push on riding out of Italy into cycling crazy Slovenia. Riding through repurposed railway tunnels and inadvertently becoming part of a MTB Marathon bicycle race!
We are greeted warmly at the Croatian border, in contrast to the gathering storms.
I’m not ashamed to say that I was more intimidated by the close lightning strikes than the fire hose horizontal rain and thunderclaps.
Soaking wet, we are turned away. Summer has ended, camping grounds are either closed or closing. We cycle on heading south seeking the sun.