Context – Beyond a Bike Adventure
The usual meaning of adventure in a vacation context is enjoyable excitement. But any physical adventure has some risk. There are insurance policies to deal with missed flights (critical plane changes can occur), lost baggage (may be quite inconvenient, especially if in a new city each night), and unforeseen events of any type (including medical emergencies).
Unfortunately, as we set off on the next leg of our journey (Vicenza to Padova), one of our riders fell. Some falls are not serious: a scrape; a loss of bike paint; a minor scar to remember the wet cobblestones of a particular city… But, this fall was serious: a broken femur requiring surgery with two pins. Non-trivial for a young person; serious for a woman in her 70’s.
Did I mention that most of us are in our late 60’s or early 70’s?
Vicenza to Padova (Padua)
Unaware of the accident, a delightful ride with minimal navigation difficulties in the relatively flat area of Italy. As we approach the coast, the Austrian influence fades: gone are the snow-capped mountains; no more German-speaking towns; and palm trees replace fruit trees. (By this point, 24 riders have separated into individual groups of 4 to 7 members – identical riding pace; collaborative navigation styles; complementary sense of humor when temporarily lost.)
Given a relatively short distance (34 miles), we arrive in Padua in time for lunch, an opportunity to settle into a new hotel, a brief wander about the city, and preparation for our tour of the University of Padua and its famous medical theatre.
The spirit of scientific inquiry in the fifteenth century extended to investigations of the human body, despite the opposition of the Church to the practice of dissection.
Extraordinary progress was made in an expansion of knowledge in this university, and our tour was permitted a view of the famous (initially clandestine!) Anatomy theatre of Fabricius ab Acquapendente.
Even a few moments to visit the Basilica of Saint Anthony of Padua.
Padova (Padua) to Venezia (Venice)
The “R-Word” returns…
Despite a weather forecast of only 10% chance of rain, the day dawned cloudy, cold and bleak. Some of us donned rain gear; some did not.
And, the ride was longer than most: 45 miles to ride and two ferries (with a connecting ride) to the island of Lido, just south of Venice.
Given the desire to arrive as early as possible, we decided to eat a quick breakfast and get on the road. Soon, the dark sky soon began spill a few drops of cold moisture. Then, a steady rain created cold puddles on the bike trail. But, fortunately, a bike path with easy navigation – not slippery cobblestones in a maze of city streets.
Eventually, the sun returned. A bit of warm food at a ferry stop. An escape from the wind. A new mode of travel for the next few days: boats.
More on Venice soon!