When we groggily awoke to rain pattering on our tent roof, we promptly rolled over, slept in, and let nature run its course. Thankfully by 9AM the gray sheet of clouds had drifted out to sea, taking the rain with it. We swiftly packed our camp under what what was turning into a promising clear sky. Tyler did most of the work while I made breakfast.
We've had an abundance of lemons (which Tyler threatened to throw away if we didn't use TODAY) from when we were sick (hot water with lemon and honey always helps) and from when we were in Amalfi (and I couldn't pass up purchasing a GIANT lemon) so this morning was the time to use them up.
With the huge Amalfi lemon (it ended up being mostly rind) and one normal lemon, I made a tasty jelly by cutting the innards up and cooking them with a little water and lots of sugar until they thickened into a nice, sticky jam. We ate it with our free croissants. YUM!
By the time we left our secluded park it was 11:00 and Tyler was feeling antsy to get somewhere, to make progress, to put some miles down. We finished pushing up that STEEP hell of a hill and got back on the highway, expecting it to be flatter. It wasn't! Mountain climbing is usually no big deal, just a slow process in our easiest gear. The switchbacks are generally smooth, and the grade is rarely too steep to handle. Unfortunately, today the highway was as steep as the hill we'd just climbed! It was nuts! We received many honks and waves as we tackled this one:
Finally the terrain leveled out to a more reasonable grade and we proceeded to slowly climb for about 10 kilometers. Just as we were getting back into the swing of slowly ascending over long distances without even the slightest downhill to relieve our legs (which we haven't done since Switzerland) the road finally took a turn downwards and we sped, FREEZING COLD, all the way back to sea level (shouting and shivering and singing at the top of your lungs seems to make the cold more bearable).
We rolled into town, chilled to the bone, and found a pastry shop/coffee shop where we could settle in and warm up. We tried a delicious Sicilian cannolli and a lemon cream filled pastry along with our now standard cappuccinos (neither of us drank coffee regularly before we left). After some journal posting, we headed down the road to "go home" and almost immediately I spotted a promising gravel road leading out to the sea. Sure enough, it was perfect. Right behind a walled, gated cemetery we made our home for the night and enjoyed the picture perfect views.
As the sun was setting we took some time to look back on our old journal entries. We had a good laugh reading ourselves saying we were "getting the hang of things" barely a week into our trip! We agreed it is more accurate to say that now, after six months, we are getting the hang of things. After all, we didn't leave until 11:00 this morning and we still managed to bike 50 very hilly, mountainous kilometers, then stop for a rest at a coffee shop for an hour and a half, end the day under budget, find a free-camp in record time, and have a full hour and a half of daylight left before the sunset. That's a little more like it!