Heading to the west coast of England our next pit stop was Malmesbury.
We swung into Oxford where our next Warmshowers host, Stanley, was waiting on the steps of his place. Stan had so kindly offered his sitting room for us to bunk down. The house was a student rental with four levels, one level just of bathrooms, and kitchen cupboards stacked with a mish-mash of jilted pots, plates and mugs left behind from bygone students.
Our EasyJet from Rome flew in at 1am to Luton Airport, and despite the early hour we were psyched to begin our next leg on the trip, our loop around England. We had organised a Warmshowers stay with Sam and Anna, but we weren’t meeting up with them until 10am. This gave us a good amount of time to build the bikes, grab breakfast and check out the centre of Luton before arriving at their place.
Bike touring may be one of the lightest ways to travel but it is still easy to misplace items. Especially when there are two people setting and breaking camp virtually every day, or needing items immediately like raingear in a storm, electrical chargers for a coffee shop stop, bike tools for punctures or even first aid. We all know no one packs the same as each other!
For our last day together in Rome our good friends John and Jess had organised one last jaunt which involved my absolute favourite subject in any country: Food. A walking food tour of Roman specialities to be exact.
Picture yourself car shopping in the 60’s. It’s the height of the Mini Cooper’s popularity but the Mini is just a little bit too big for you. What do you do? Buy a Fiat 500 of course, or Fiat Bambina as it is affectionately known.
What do you do when you meet up with friends? Drink, eat, chat, and bounce from one sidewalk cafe to another, as the hours disappear along with the sun. And repeat!
Piaggio, maker of the Italian icon the Vespa scooter, also make a vehicle known as the Ape. Not as in gorilla, Ape is Italian for Bee.
We landed in Bari with nine days to get ourselves to Rome, to meet friends on the tail end of their own European vacation. Awoken to the chatter of Italian passengers observing me snoring on the ship floor, I knew we had arrived.