I was to spend the days before my return in Verona and Calcio, I had the intention of visiting Padua as this had come highly recommended by Simona before leaving Lake Garda. I unfortunately got side tracked by food, I called into a little cafe on the straight road to the train station and had some lunch, followed by a stroll and a waffle stop. I used the cafe’s free Wi-Fi to use Skype. I chatted with my mother for a good half hour about my plans and when she should expect me. The Wi-Fi was excellent and the Skype call was really clear, I sent a few emails and updated Facebook. I decided to buy my train ticket for my journey tomorrow back to Calcio where I would spend a couple of days with the Belotti family. My train was to depart at 14:40 and go via Bressica, I had to pay for the bike but only one way as my plan was to give my bike to Matteo as a thank you for the wonderful hospitality Davide and Daniela had given me.
I called back in to the cafe which sold those delicious waffles again to check my flight details grab a macchiato and make a final decision on what I would return with. I needed a cheap bag to check in as I wasn’t going to throw my leatherman wave away just because I couldn’t take it in my hand luggage. I headed to Caprisca a luggage shop I had passed several times when roaming the streets of Verona. I picked up a folding bag, the quality looked good and as it folded in on itself I could pack it away until needed, I also bought a new wallet as mine had fallen apart plus it would be a good memory of my time in Verona. I also find it funny that once you buy a new wallet you then have no money left to actually put in it.
I returned to the campsite via the river and had pasta, meatballs and a becks. I was gutted that my journey was coming to an end but felt determined to finish what I had started, all I needed to do was save up enough to complete the adventure and plan a lot better. I retired to my tent and watched a movie to take my mind off the cat and rat incident from the night before. I slept fairly well only waking up twice to blow up my inflatable mat, luckily the cat was nowhere to be seen or heard. I was woken at 07:00 by my neighbours packing their tent away, I was relaxed and just lay there listening to them until I was ready to start my day. I planned my day, sorted out what I was going to leave behind. I went for a coffee and croissant before packing, I checked Facebook and Gmail, put my power monkey on charge as I wasn’t leaving that little gem behind. It didn’t take long to pack everything away, lots of things went in the bin, mainly clothes. I donated all my camping gear to the campsite so any travellers who were missing stuff could use it. My tent poles had shattered but still worked, my tent was a little mouldy but I was positive someone would use it. The sleeping bag was ripped and the mat was punctured so they went straight in the bin. I’ve packed my hammock and tarp but I’m unsure whether to take them home. I sorted out my gopro gear most of it I hadn’t used, I had a second breakfast which was now a common thing with adventure cycling. I collected my bike and cycled out of the campsite which felt weird as the bike was extremely light. The staff were busy with people checking in so I didn’t say goodbye but I’m sure I’ll return. I rolled down the hill to the river over the cobbled arch bridge into Verona. I had been looking online for a new watch and discovered it was a little cheaper to buy here, I hadn’t worn or needed a watch for 2 years, I bought 2 £10 watches from Argos for the journey but the first one broke before leaving the UK and the second fell off my wrist somewhere in Northern France. So I cycled and pushed my bike through Verona’s main shopping streets until I arrived at the Swatch watch shop, where I treated myself to a new watch. I had a snack in the waffle shop close to the railway station this time no waffle just a rustic pannini, which turned out to be a toastie, coffee and water. I then headed towards the railway station, as I was early I sat next to the city walls before heading into the station.
I pushed my bike into the station, it was really busy and I found it difficult to get my bike through the crowds. I checked the departure screens but my train wasn’t yet on there, mine was 14:40 and the last entry was 14:32, so I made my way along a busy corridor to the main ticket office where the screens displayed the trains well into the night. The platform I needed was No:3, I was to get on the main line train to Milan but change at Bressica to a branch line to Calcio. Luckily for me Verona railway station has a lift to the platforms but as I had ditched so much luggage I could’ve carried my bike up stairs, I still opted for the lift. I was unsure where to board the train so validated my ticket, as I had been told off for not doing this on a previous trip, I made sure I didn’t break the rules again. I watched other trains and tried to figure out where I should board my train with my bike, I needn’t have worried. There was an announcement that a train would be arriving late and this turned out to be the train I would be catching. Once it did arrive I had plenty of time to figure out what carriage I needed. I loaded my bike onto the last carriage which conveniently had a big sticker of a bike on it, I still needed to lift the bike up some steep steps into the train but the bike was a lot lighter. I locked the bike to the train and sat on the first seat, right next to the carriage door. The carriage I was in was very quiet, the train was old with blue leather seats and a blue marbled patterned vinyl floor. The windows could be pulled down halfway for ventilation, as it was a hot day I opened the window. Opposite the train I was sitting on was a bright red snow plough, I sat and watched the driver prepare the train and eventually drive off.
The doors on my train closed with a dull thud and within a minute we set off, I had my tablet switched on so watched on my navigation app our speed and progress and tried to gauge how long it would take to Bressica. The Italian scenery was stunning in the afternoon sun and although we were travelling at 148kmph the landscape seemed to pass slowly. We stopped at 4 stations before Bressica one of them lake Garda, it had taken me 4 hours to cycle from Garda to Verona but the train took only 15 minutes.
Bressica station was an old well-worn place but luckily for me the train to Calcio was waiting patiently on the next platform, so I didn’t have to negotiate any stairs other than the ones to board the train. I presented my ticket to the conductor who was stood at the front of the train and he indicated that I was to board at the door where he was stood. Once I had my bike on the train I settled in for the short journey to Calcio. I was joined by an elderly man all dressed in lycra and sporting a very nice new carbon road bike. I stayed with my bike for the journey and chatted with my fellow cyclist. It took only a fifteen minutes to arrive at Calcio where I would spend a few days with my new Italian family, as we pulled into the station the gentleman I was travelling with corrected my pronunciation of the name Calcio, I had obviously butchered it and was glad to have been corrected. On the platform I adjusted my bar ends as I already scratched my new watch on them and if I went over the handlebars the bar ends would have contributed to a broken wrist. I looked around the station before setting of to ensure I had the correct time for my return train.
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