Fadgen's Adventures

Fadgen's Adventures
Green Creek Lake

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Spoleto to Norcia?

Link to previous day

Bruschette Mista
I know, I know, more wine and cheese right?  We'll today we had a bit more adventure than just wine and cheese, though cheese did play a big part in it.

For some reason I have had the desire to visit Norcia.  Norcia is known in Italy for their meats, salumi, prosciutto, etc.  Don't know why, but I wanted to go there.  When Antonella and I were planning this trip she suggested a mountain bike ride along the old Spoleto to Norcia ferroviaria route.  After a bit of research to find out that this was an old railway, I agreed.  Unfortunately, nature intervened, causing a landslide about 20km from Norcia a couple of months ago.  Not to be deterred, Antonella offered to shuttle us around this landslide.  Damn, you have got to love Gira l'Umbria.

She had mentioned yesterday about there being a "festival about cheese" in a small village with 600 inhabitants, Vallo di Nera.  Sounded like fun for a couple of Idahoans!
Leaving Spoleto

The first part of the trip was uneventful, a gradual climb up a gravel two track for about 10km.  Once on the summit ridge, things became fun.  The first spot was a 2km tunnel.  Antonella supplied us with headlamps, "fronte lanternas" that were definitely needed.  She had mentioned that it would be cold through the tunnel, but macho John decided he would not need a coat.  This was after his wife asking him several times if he wanted it in her pack.
Tamara getting ready to enter the 2km tunnel
Well, it was cold, wet and extremely dark!  But pretty exciting too.

After we exited this tunnel, it was time for some downhill.  But, don't put those headlamps away because there are more tunnels!
View from the old railway line
We eventually left the two track only to have a short single track section so overgrown that the brambles almost tore us off our bikes!  This single track exited into someone's backyard!
Old wine press in the backyard
By this time we were starving so we stopped at the first place we came to and stumbled through ordering a couple of panini.

After pranzo, it was time to climb to Vallo di Nera for the festival.
"Fior di cacio" - Fine cheese
Vallo di Nera, is another small walled medieval village, but filled with vendors sampling their local wares.  We wandered around and checked it out while waiting for Antonella and her family to arrive.

There were even rides for the kids!
By the time Antonella, Simone, her daughter Serena (age 4) and son Nicola (age 1) arrived, it was starting to sprinkle and we were ready to head out.  Probably should have stuck around, but we didn't.  Not 2km down the road, and the sprinkles turned to rain.  Another couple of hundred meters and we ditched the bikes and hid under some thick trees as the rain increased and the wind picked up.  These trees protected us for about 5 minutes, until it really started to rain, I mean like Florida rain, coming down in sheets!

Remember when I said I had turned down Tamara's offer to carry my rain jacket?  No? Well I did!  I also realized the two rain ponchos sitting in my suitcase were not helping us at that moment either.  I was soaked through and through.  Tamara, who had on her rain jacket, was only soaked on her lower half.  Luckily, after about 15 minutes the rain lessened somewhat, and we started moving again.  But prior to taking off, I peeled off my shirt and gave it a good wringing out. We were that wet..

As we proceed down the old railway trail in the on and off again rain, we encountered a couple of blown down trees that required us to dismount to get around.  Finally after 30 or so minutes, we reached the end blocked off trail at Borgo Cerrreto, where Simone was anxiously waiting.

As we loaded the bikes into his car, the skies opened up again and rather than head to Norcia we decided to call it a day and take our soaked bodies back to the B&B L'Aura for hot showers.

Tomorrow we head to Todi.

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A team of adventurers consisting of John, Tamara, Taylor, Dylan, and Shadow Fadgen