Although I’m sitting inside a fast food joint in Montagnana, my breath is coming out as steam. Even so, I am feeling warm for the first time in two days. Last night I failed to maintain warmth despite my layers: beanie, neck warmer, gloves, three merino wool long-sleeve tops, riding tights, legwarmers, shorts, thermal leggings, pants, and five pairs of socks. My feet ached with the cold all night and my upper body slowly froze as the night wore on. This was despite cocooning myself completely (head too) in my down sleeping bag and despite being in my tent within a closed shed. Nonetheless, I got through the night alive and left my hiding spot without any issues.

I donned socks over my two pairs of gloves to keep my hands warm as I rode my first leg of 50km. I faced two major navigational challenges today. The first was getting through the Venice/Mestre area and the second was getting through Padua. Like other days, I haven’t really seen very spectacular scenery, just typical farmland and relatively bland settlements. Of course, I am sure that if I had the time to stop, then each place would reveal itself as a fascinating home to wonderful people. I really began to tire after I got through Padua, even though I still had about 40km to go to reach my planned destination.

One thing about not planning/researching ahead too much is that it can feel incredibly delightful to stumble across unexpected surprises. Before my arrival, Montagnana was just a name on the map a convenient distance away. As I rode into the town and came across the old walled city, I realised I’d found a little slice of Italian magic. An ancient fortified wall surrounded a beautiful little village. The sun had just disappeared but the day still retained some light so I could see the twinkling of decorative Christmas lights against a faded blue sky. I stopped in the main square for a photo and had a couple of enthusiastic old men stop and ask me where I was from. I discovered the joy of being told ‘Well done!’ in Italian. I made my way through the fortified part of town and out the other side to my B&B. My first choice of B&B was all booked out. My second choice gave me a luxurious room. It’s far more than I want to spend of course, but after such as exhausting day even my mind couldn’t be bothered stressing over it.

Beautiful Montagnana

Accommodation $ B&B
Distance ridden today 118.23km
Average cycling speed 18.3kph
Total distance ridden 28,878km