Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Day 9 – Viterbo to Sutri

We woke up, again assisted by Lou’s wind, although I’ve grown used to it now. Lou put the panniers in the lift whilst I ran down the two flights of stairs to meet them at the bottom. I didn’t want to get into the lift as it struck me as a small ready meal container, just ready to go into the oven to bake. After paying the receptionist pointed to a breakfast room so we went in. It was juice, croissant and packaged toast. Lou ate the pack of Nutella with a spoon whilst I ate carbs galore.

We set off out of town in morning traffic with a short decline and then rolling hills, no flat at all as we pedalled across ancient lava flows now covered in forest, farmland and retail parks. After a few miles we stopped for Lou to pee at a bar which had ‘bar’ written in beer caps on is mat. We bought Pringles and I got another juice – trying to compensate for yesterday’s vitamin free day.

From there it was a climb, and another and then a really long one. We climbed for the best part of 8 miles. It was getting hot and the road was new so black and sticky. I was glad I’d eaten breakfast. After two map chevrons worth of climbs it was over. We began a fabulous descent, again 8-10 miles but with barely any pedalling. It was windy but not so bad we needed to slow below 20 mph for corners. It was beautiful, through forests and we arrived at Sutri in no time.

We could easily have carried on but decided to stay. We wheeled into town and found the tourist office which was closed, not just for lunch, but the week. It was only open Friday – Sunday. Instead we walked back to the sign for the Hotel Sutri, where we are now.

Lou got showered and went to sleep. I did the same, but woke up after an hour – frozen by over enthusiastic air conditioning. Lou is still asleep and snoring, three hours on. I’m watching MTV and airing the cyclists ‘nappy rash’ on my bum. It’s really sore and is my main impediment to cycling. Overall I’m pretty uninjured. I have blisters on three toes, but don’t feel them. My insect bites are just itchy spots, some of which bleed now and again. I have a few bruises on my shins and calves. My left ankle is sore, I think because I over compensated when I ‘surprised’ my right one. My leg muscles area little achy but not painful, my skin is fine, except for my nose which is still cherry red and starting to peel. I put a lens back in my right eye today, with no problems. My wrists are a little swollen and that’s it. I’m injury free!

We got up and went for a mooch about. Sutri is beautiful, with some excellent churches. The cathedral is quite spectacular with lovely frescoes on the ceiling. We went to another church which was clearly old and had not been restored. The frescoes had crumbled off but I really liked it.

We sat in the central piazza drinking Peroni, eating home made ice cream and watching the world go by for a couple of hours. Kids were playing on bikes and scooters and the local policeman was attending his station. It was really relaxed. We went for dinner at Ristorante “Il Vescovado” but it wasn’t open. A bloke sitting on the doorstep further down the road shouted at us to come back in ten minutes and it’d be open. We sat down the road then walked back using baby-steps to kill time. Despite having stopped back at the room to get my credit card, the restaurant didn’t take credit cards. Boo. We ordered carefully as the cashpoint didn’t accept our cards. I had porcini pasta – big super fat spaghetti with porcini and truffle oil topped with herbs and more oil. Scrummy. I thought I’d ordered baked cheese, but meat on a stick arrived. Jack Nicholson, our waiter/cook agreed to give me a big plate of cheese and bread instead. He seemed to be greeter, cook and waiter despite having four hangers on who just brought bread.

Oddly we were the only diners for quite a while then two blokes arrived, another who ate alone then five men who ate together. It was boys’ night out.

Back to the hotel to apply more cream to my cyclists bum. My bott has appreciated the short days, it has been really sore and seems to have bursting spots.

There was blood all over my left sock when I took it off. I’d caught my leg on a pedal earlier, so I suppose the scab came off. I’m watching Juventus play Roma then it’s bed time.

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