From quadruple digit distance to travel to triple and now only double digit! My how distance diminishes quickly when you're having fun. Left the sleepy hamlet of Berceto after having the Francigena passport stamped by the local priest. Also paid my respects to the local lad honoring all those who travel through the town.
The climb out of Berceto is short gnarly and very steep but no sooner had I re-joined the SS 62 than Mother Nature rewarded me with a glimpse of her beauty.
I thought I had done with all the climbing yesterday and from Berceto it was a roll down the hill / valley to Aulla. WRONG. The first hour was spent climbing to the Cisa Pass where I stopped to enjoy a morning Espresso and Torta (cake.... yea check me out and my grasp of Italian now!).
En route to the top I rode past a few more abandoned "Canontiera's" which are fast becoming my favourite derelict buildings. Full of character these were once home to the caretakers of that particular stretch of road and also mile markers for travellers. This was until the 1980's when the development of auto Strada's and centralisation of road work depots killed them off. Some have been restored to become BnB's and some private homes. The majority have been left to ruin.
Someone had forgotten to write to the weather gods and ask if it was possible after 24 days on the road to have cloudless skies and cool temperatures for my last 48 hours.
No sooner had I crested the summit than it was on with the heavy duty waterproofs and turning on of all available bike lights for the freewheel ride to the bottom.
Hairpin turns ..
......on a descent are great in the dry but become a little more requiring of your attention when it's bucketing with rain and your vision for most of the downhill roll looks like this ...
Once at the base of the roll out I was at Pontremoli and from there it was a "easy" remaining 20km to Aulla. My final sleep stop of the trip before commencing the last 27 km tomorrow to Fosdinovo. Which incidentally the last 11 km of the ride are straight up. You couldn't script it.
I inserted one of these photos only because I have passed one of these signs every 1-2 km ever since I entered Italy a week ago which means about 250 of them. Seems like there's a whole lot of advertising space for sale in this part of the world. 1 observation of many from the last 4-6 days. Italians can drive a semi trailer - push a pram - serve you at a petrol station or in a shop or in a bar or in a cafe - drive a car - ride a scooter- ride a bike - have a conversation with you - drive a tractor- carve meat - lift crates of produce - drink wine, beer, coffee or water- walk their dog or children - play kick around in the park with their mates - flirt with each other around the town fountain - mow their lawn - hang their laundry - argue with each other ...do all of this and/or 1000 or more other things .......whilst simultaneously talking on a mobile phone. I kid you not.