Bicycle, bicycle, bicycle! (Noci – Gioia del Colle – Altamura – Matera – Corato)

I want to ride a bicycle.

As mentioned previously, the disadvantage of walking is that I am not mobile at all. If I want to see something 4-5kms ahead, it takes me one hour… and back as well. I was thinking about this in Alberobello. In about 2-3 days I would be in Altamura. From Altamura I want to go North across the Murgia (a range of hills), only the first place to sleep would be to far to walk. Plus I wanted to see Castel del Monte -and loads of other things- that were way easier to get to by bicycle.

In Gioia del Colle I decided to see if I could find an old bicycle. My plan was to buy the cheapest one I could find and see how long it would last. I bought a citybike without gears, maybe not the best plan, but the rest was really a lot more expensive.

Murgia

La mia bicicletta.

I baptized my bike the next day cycling through a rain shower. Actually it was more like a wall of water. Instant wetness. But it felt great being on a bicycle again. Coming from Holland, I basically grew up on a bike, we use it to go almost anywhere. Only, Holland is flat. No mountain whatsoever (at least not in the place I live and cycle). I believe we are very proud of the one “mountain” we have, altitude: 50m above sea level, or something like that. (Now is most of Holland based 5m below sea level, so you can add that as well.) And Italy does have some kind of mountains and hills. But I would worry about that later. Now I was just really happy I got a bicycle.

So I nearly drowned, but I arrived in Altamura. An old city of which a local legend says they are the descendants of the Trojan population. After they lost the Trojan war they allegedly fled to Altamura. The guy I was staying with in no way resembled a Trojan war soldier and if he was indeed a descendant, I could understand why they had lost the Trojan war. But he was very nice, showing me around Altamura and the next day he took me to see Matera.

After this resting day it was time to cross the Murgia. Here it soon became clear that indeed it wasn’t the best plan to get a bike without gears. Roads sloping up become heavy after some time, especially when they are accompanied by a stormy frontal wind. Luckily seeing Castel del Monte was one of the best rewards I could get. Weird, weird castel. But extremely cool! And afterwards I could relax on my bike going downhill to the Adriatic coast. Because going downhill, bicycles are awesome :).

Castel del Monte

In front of Castel del Monte (also depicted on the 1 eurocent coin of Italy).

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