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I was fairly sure I would throw in the towel on Corsica.

Mom and Dad squeezed me a quick hug goodbye at the port in Cannes, and while the short ride to Nice was… wait for it… nice, a dark cloud of dread threatened in the wings. How many more miles? Where am I going? Why am I doing this?

The threat was kept at bay knowing it would be only a few days until my solo became a duo, and after a few days hanging out in the steep, windy coast of Napoleon’s birth island, I ferried back into Italy to ride toward Genova and Greg.

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The dread threat is gone, my friends.

Firstly, Italy is a delight. The casual attitude and ubiquitous smell of pizza and pasta dough puts me at ease (and ever capable of inspiring an appetite). The coast was marked with occasional bicycle only paths running through tunnels, a continuation of Japan tunnel joy. I saw a wild pig on the way to buy our morning focaccia yesterday, snuffling for grape like fruits off the ancient brick stairs up Genova’s steep westerly side. The coffee is a euro again, the bus drivers are ambivalent about paying for a ticket, and the squalid decadence of impressive architecture makes for rich modern anachronisms. Construction workers enjoy a 10AM cone of gelato. Motorists give you space and slow down to facilitate the free form inner city traffic.

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And then there’s Greg.

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Having someone to spend three hours talking over dinner is a joy I could not have fully imagined. Being used to talking to myself, I certainly will evade the utter insanity I was plowing into with his presence. We walked all through town, from our hostel in the mountains to a bike shop to buy pedal clips (thanks Marco and the bici shop Genova, totally legit bike guru, who sold Greg his bike!). We’ve planted many seeds of inside jokes within a short 24 hour period. Today we head south, in the direction of Pisa, for our first ride together. Wish us luck, especially Greg as he tries clips for the first time.

I found this fabulous little site called Italy-cycling-guide.info with an impressive spread of cycling suggestions and well-described points of interest and valuable information. We expect to make a loop to Pisa, across to Florence, to the Adriatic coast and back up to Venice. That’s as far as the plan goes.

Love, gelato, and rock and roll.

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