I knew today would be long, and I knew it would be hard. But I also knew it would be possible. I managed it in the end of course, but it wasn’t without a mighty battle. I faced a slight headwind yesterday and it was present again today, a little stronger. I was able to stay on the same road all day without any major turns, so I didn’t have to muck around with navigation. I rode about 60km without stopping to reach Mantova, where I parked up in a main square to have lunch. I had to get up and move around a bit as I ate though, because it was so cold.

Much of the day was spent riding through a shroud of mist. The sun remained a faint glow, hidden behind a curtain of thick cloud that never lifted. As I got into Mantova, a guy riding past stopped for a chat. He has done some touring in Europe and in a couple of months’ time will ride home from Norway. A few minutes after chatting with him, he came rushing back on his bike. Out of breath, he asked me if I needed any help with anything. When he rode off the first time, he realised he had never asked this question and he felt bad, so he had busted his gut to catch me up so he could check.

The afternoon saw me racing the sun. I lost and it had just gotten dark when I got into Cremona. Fortunately, by this time there were enough cycle paths around that I didn’t have to worry much about riding with traffic in the dark. I reached the hostel at 5pm, the same time the reception opens according to the sign on the door. I waited for fifteen minutes, ringing the bell every now and then, before deciding to ring the contact numbers listed on the door. As I waited I began to shiver with the cold. Two numbers went to message bank and the third was picked up. I was promptly told the hostel is closed. I suggested they should put a sign on the door saying so! I jumped on my phone to check out alternative options and had to resort to a hotel. Luckily, the one I chose wasn’t far away, just twice as expensive as the hostel. The girl at the counter was super nice and storing my bicycle was no problem. I showered and chilled out for a bit before heading out for dinner. The only options I saw within an easy walking distance were pizza places, so yet again I had delicious pizza for dinner. Back at the hotel I ate some of my own food supplies before sitting in a tired daze in front of the TV. I was at that point of exhaustion where you can’t even be bothered going to bed, so I stayed up a little too long like a zombie.

Approaching Mantova

Accommodation $ Hotel
Distance ridden today 127.69km
Average cycling speed 17.9kph
Total distance ridden 29,006km