During yesterday's ride, we enjoyed the Amalfi scenery on our second trip through it's unforgettable coastline. Though it provided spectacular views once more, we'd forgotten how mountainous the area is. Today, we were hoping for something a little less strenuous. With a bit of searching, I was able to find an inland route heading back to Salerno. In addition to appearing flat (read: not clearly an endless series of switchbacks), it seemed to be many kilometers shorter!
Pointing out the mountains that surrounded our immediate vicinity, Tara was highly doubtful the roads would prove to be any easier. We are both normally consummate optimists, so I teasingly bestowed the title of "Mrs. Doomsday" upon her as we left. Though she disputed her newly given name, she still insisted we had a difficult ride before us. Thankfully, she was wrong. The route featured only two climbs (vs. six yesterday) and the rest was, for the most part, flat. I made sure to jokingly rub this in for most of the day, frequently moaning about how tired I was from all of our easy pedaling.
Early on, we stopped at a coffee shop called "Cafe Fashion" for our daily dose of tasty Italian cappuccinos. While we sat on contemporary stools, sipping our warm beverages, we had a good laugh at the array of fashion magazines available to read. They were full of malnourished runway models dressed in outfits that made them look like mental ward patients, extras from the Matrix, or aliens. The latest trends in haute couture seem to be large spherical hats that look like Pac Man trying to eat the model's head.
Later on in our ride, we encountered a long tunnel, very much like the closed one I'd hope to record yesterday! As usual, we disregarded the nearby signs forbidding pedestrians and cyclists. These admonishments would be a lot more effective if they ever indicated an alternative route. Where are we supposed to go, if we should not use what is often the only road leading in our direction? If we cared, this would be frustrating, but we don't. We opted, as always, to simply ride on through.
I was really excited as I heard a powerful humming the distance. When we found an emergency turn-off near a roaring exhaust fan, we pulled over. Tara stayed to take photos while I went to capture the audio equivalent of her snapshots with my new field recorder.
I don't really know what I'm doing. Yet. Basically, I plugged my headphones in to monitor the sound, affixed the wind screen over the mics, set the recording level as high as I could without the audio clipping, and then hit 'record'.
Unfortunately, the tunnel was much smaller than the one we'd ridden all the way out here to capture. The cars were driving very slowly by comparison and much of the chaos I remember (howling tires, a lot more fans, etc) isn't reflected in this, my first recording. It was a good learning experience though!
Back on the road, we cycled the remaining kilometers home to Salerno uneventfully save for a final bone-chilling descent.
Back in town, we took up residence at Caffe Love Story one last time to say goodbye to the friendly waitstaff. Over another cappuccino we sorted our photos, listened to our recordings, and uploaded some of both. Feeling accomplished, we hit the road a little later to head back to our camp just outside of town. We haven't reused a stealth camp since Cremona; it is really nice to have a reliable, free place to stay!
While I set up, Tara made pancakes which we ate with lots of butter and real Vermont maple syrup, sent to us by her parents. They were delicious! So Tara would be able to eat them while they were hot, I fed her bite sized pieces while she poured and flipped the batter. We had fun shouting "incoming!" when a bite was ready, and "PANCAKE PANCAKE PANCAKE!" when a new batch of flapjacks was ready to be placed in my bowl.
Before we went to sleep, I took another recording; this time of the ocean crashing just a few feet beneath our tent.