Day 2: Sportyland to Trieste

Total distance:  2374km:  Today 110km

We both slept well and set off after a pleasant breakfast where coffee was some mind blowing dregs of espresso served in a tiny paper cup.

The morning was flat through rich agricultural land. Some headwind but in our peleton of 2 David goes at the front and I get the benefit Chris Froome style. We had a mid morning coffee stop by a river as temperatures began to build. 30 degrees seemed ok but by lunchtime and 38 degrees was feeling pretty hot. We left the Garmin out in the sun and it registered 44 degrees which we felt but did not believe. It was actually cooler cycling where you create your own breeze than as we lurked under a tree to eat our picnic. We found that there was a fairly unusual approach to signposting with Km to Trieste varying between 33 and 60 within a few km! The best was 49km to Trieste followed by 3km about 2km later but then 39km a few km after that. You pays your money…
After lunch we cycled through the non-descript city of Montefalcone then swung from north-east to south-east as we turned the top left hand corner of the Adriatic. Flat suddenly ended as the mountains came down to the sea. A climb took us onto an amazing road high on the cliff above the sea with views across to Trieste and back the way we came. As we gently descended the Italian ‘beach scene’ appeared with lines of scantily clad (men and women – and all shakes and none – lots of none now we think about it) crammed onto narrow strips between the road and the sea.

We arrived in Trieste in good time, although we had already done 64 miles. I (Bernie) had reserved campsite ‘on the outskirts with views over the city’. Sounded nice at the time but we fiddled around trying to find the right road as each left turn seemed to take us up a precipitously steep road. Eventually found the road – and it was STEEP. So much so that for large parts of it we had to get off and push – not something we resort to except in extremis and we were tired at the end of the day. Round every corner we kept thinking the gradient must get less but the mountain still loomed ahead. This was meant to be an easy flat day to test out that my back was ok – who was the idiot who booked this campsite – oh… me… one else to blame!

An hour and half later we got to the top and found the campsite. I’ve never seen David look so tired as he was taking more luggage than usual to protect me. I don’t know how he made it. The campsite was fine, nothing special but a flat pitch and good showers. That hot water had never felt so good. Our camping routine fell right back into place so we didn’t have to think too much – and a small pleasant bar meant we could relax with a single beer and get some internet so we could let family know we were alive before crashing into our tent.

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