January 3

Well, that plan didn’t work at all.  Woke up this morning and the tent was bloody soaked.  Tonight will try to close off any and all ventilation – I think that the issue is we make a little puddle of warmth in the tent and as it cools down, the condensation gathers on the inside, leaving us dripping in the morning.  Tonight the plan is to close off any and all ventilation so that all moisture at least gathers on the outer shell, and not the inner.  Time will tell if this plan works. 

Today was a day of ups and downs.  We woke up to another frost – not as bad as the night before -and were off in a little over an hour – Ryan’s gears are causing him problems and as of now he only has the ability to change between low, medium and high.  Not great.  We tried to get to a bike shop in the morning, but it was closed as it’s Saturday, so decided to hightail it to Ravenna.  Upon the way, we jumped into a Spar to get some provisions for the evening, and made friends with a couple of black hustlers outside, who seemed pretty incredulous about our entire venture.  My left knee was hurting after a few days cycling, so Dr Charlie diagnosed it as something being inflamed – two ibuprofen and it’s quietened down, I’ll keep dosing if it re-occurs as there was only the occasional twinge today. 

Ravenna is an interesting place – for a fair few stints over the course of the Roman Empire it was the capital, as Rome itself was too full of senators and plebs for the emperors to be happy, and Ravenna was far more defendable.  Well we had about five hours of beautiful, relatively warm, cycling, and I was down to just a thermal, a t-shirt and my jacket flying open in the wind.  The roads just opened up to us and we breezed through villages with ease.  We made it to Ravenna about 3pm, and upon escaping the continual assault of roundabouts and slip roads that the Italians seem to love, we found a nice little park which turned out to be the mausoleum of Theodoric, one of the kings of the Goths.  Well, he seemed like a lovely chap and he had a beautiful mausoleum so we sat and took pictures for a while and snacked on some apples and tarts. 

An idea came to me, as I was sitting outside this 1600 year old gravestone, of a warm bed and shower, and maybe even WiFi, so after raising the idea with Ryan of a hostel, he managed to one-up me with the idea of a beer.  We were sold, so pedalled into the centre of Ravenna to search for a hostel, but none was forthcoming.  I thought it would make sense to get to the station to try and find some free Wifi (which was forthcoming) and I found a five star hostel only ten minutes away.  After arriving there, it became clear to us that it was closed, and there was very little chance that it would be opening in the next few hours.  Back to the station we went.  Ryan went off to ask at some hotels if there was anywhere cheap in town and they mentioned a hostel Kiribini around the corner, but this turned out to be a red herring. 

Now Ravenna, although being a historically significant town, feels a little… rough.  There were lots of people staring at our bikes, and some dodgy people around in general.  We met our hustlers from the Spar on the way back to the station, and it made me start to think we should probably get our of here while the sun was still shining.  So, once the second hostel failed to materialise, we decided to get right on the Via del Roma and head out of town as fast as possible.  The road was suitably mental for an Italian road and I ended up cutting up a good few cars on a number of roundabouts as I was frantically changing direction to make sure we were headed for Rimini – Ryan was able to keep up and after an hour of night cycling we were able to find a nice spot to set up our tent just beside a motorway overpass. 

Dinner tonight of bread, ham and cheese, followed by chocolate.  Delicious.  On a more positive note, the sunsets here have been incredible, with each night the sky being painted a hazy pinky gold for at least forty five minutes.  It leaves it a little difficult to cycle as you keep craning your head to stare.  Makes it all worthwhile really.  Tomorrow hoping to get as close to Ancona as we can tomorrow, looking to break the 100k barrier.

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