Day 12: Viadana to Modena.
So, waking up in the cold, with frost lining the tentside and a tractor noise way too close to comfort was less than awesomesaus. Luckily, the tractor was in field option #1, and we only had to deal with the grunting and groaning of moving our bikes back uphill. We went back to our sunning spot of the day before, to dry our the tent fly and make breakfast.
Breakfast was to be pancakes. Except we needed eggs. So instead, we had mostly cooked pancake goo. Mm Mm Good Enough. A lady asked us if we had slept there (which was reasonable, as we had exploded our stuff across the pathway). Of course, we answered "No, just stopping for a nice light snack" as stealth camping is illegal in Italy. A small dog was exceptionally concerned for his master's wellbeing as he passed the drying tent fly. Apparently large brown flapping objects are to be feared.
Cycling in the morning included two looong bridges. The first had a path to the side, which would have been fine, except it felt like I was going to hit the railings or fall off the side into the river below. It was an exercise in balance. The second bridge was just as extensive, but crossed over a valley and had no escape side. Instead, it was a fast stressful crossing, ending in a roundabout and the relaxing sideroads.
A while on, we came to Naggy's suggestion of a highway. We recalculated a route, and ended up at a dead end (near a dead bird). Luckily, a gentleman from the water-power-pumping-plant place we were at drove up and let us through. This led us to a canal side gravel path (dubbed "hot mess") for a few clicks. Which in turn led to an osteria for the best lunch ever. Soft zucca filled tortelli pastas (invented nearby and my new favourite), local cured meats (including the headcheese I vowed never to eat) and polenta.
It's always hard getting going after lunch. Stomachs are full, and legs are too rested for much work. This time though, we had a decent direction to head, and off we went. Naggy provided her first "great solution". Small roads, newly paved and unused. Quiet villages and blooming trees. Until, of course, the outskirts of major towns. We passed over the north of Reggio Emilia, towards Modena. We got caught in an industrial zone, and had to go along transport truck laden roads. These were not highways, technically, but might as well have been. Awful. Somehow we found a bike path.
The bike path was well signed, and we followed it for kilometres into the centre of Modena. We sat briefly and ignorantly in the Enzo Ferrari Park. Once in the centro storico (historic centre), a quick look-see showed us another beautifully scaffolded sight. We needed to sort out the iPhone Italian internets at a Vodafone, and also to find somewhere to stay. Camping was out of the q, and that left us looking for cheap accommodations. While Matt and the Vodafone dude farted about with his iPhone at the shop, I used their demo Android phone to book us a hotel.
After exploding our stuff in the hotel room, we had to find food. Google maps led us the 3 kilometeres there (Naggy iPhone, fail!). Then sleep. This time, not cold and no tractors.