Genoa to Sestri Levante (45.06 miles, 4 hours and 50 minutes moving)

Today could be summed up by one word. Climbing. I got a late start, after having to find someone from the campsite to let me pay and get my driver’s license back.  The sky was dark and cloudy, and it looked like rain was going to be something with which to contend. My plan was to ride 56 miles, rain or shine, so I set up my bike with the tarp tied on top of all of my bags for an additional water-protective layer.

Right away, there was a big climb out of Genoa, which gave me beautiful sweeping panoramic views of the town (again, and again as the switchbacks kept coming). I had decided that I was going to try and eat a little healthier on the bike today, using bananas instead of candy-bars when I needed an extra boost of energy (also, I had run out of candy-bars) and I had to stop halfway up the climb for a break and some sustenance.

Sori, Italy
Sori, Italy

The ocean was a different sight from yesterday. Where yesterday it calmly lapped at the shore with the naivety of a teenager’s first kiss, it now slammed against the pebbled beaches and the rocky cliffs with an intensity reminiscent of pure animal lust.

The clouds stayed close all day, giving the ocean a haze which made it difficult to tell where the ocean ended and the sky began, on the horizon. I biked up and down for most of the day, passing through little towns every so often (most stores conveniently still closed, as if to confirm my theory from the day before).

Because of the clouds, it seemed much darker than the time of day would suggest, and my mood seemed to darken accordingly. Even without a drop of rain, by early afternoon, I was already starting to abandon plans for making it the fifty-something miles to the campground, out of fear that it would once again be completely dark when I arrived. I have started to notice that my mood becomes very dependent on the weather and other little difficulties that pop up throughout the day, and the clouds weren’t helping. Thank goodness I didn’t have a headwind with which to contend.

Sailboat near Zoagli, Italy
Sailboat near Zoagli, Italy

It was almost 7:00 p.m. when I reached Sestri Levante, and saw signs to about five different campsites. I had expected to go 14 more miles, but having learned from my earlier mistakes of trying to “finish out” the day, I decided I should just pick one and get the tent up before dark. I stopped at the first one that I was able to find, and it was actually open. Using a mix of English, Spanish, and the four Italian words I know, I was able to get checked in with the proprietor after which I sat in the vestibule of my tent and enjoyed another late meal of bread, cheese, yogurt, and bananas.

After supper, I stalked the bathroom for a working power-outlet but my euro adaptor didn’t seem to fit quite right.  I found one that worked on the front steps of the campsite office and set up shop.  After about an hour or so, three gentlemen stumbled by, visibly intoxicated and excitedly tried to tell me something about Barcelona, though I wasn’t able to understand.  They proceeded to go over to the proprietor’s trailer and bang on the wall until he came out, so that they could share their good news with him.  I liken their behavior to the low-tech version of a drunk dial.  They didn’t bother me anymore though, and I continued to enjoy my convenient cell-phone internet connection.  I lost track of time a little, and soon had used more than the 5 hours-per-day that had been advertised, but the connection didn’t cut me off, so I figured the real limit was 150 hours in a month.  I was wrong, as I would soon find out.

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