I left memorable Brescia and headed to Venice. It was not in my plan to visit Venice, but since this city was just 212kms away, and many people had been telling me not to miss Venice since it was very near already, I made up my mind to visit it. I passed beautiful lake Garda and took some pics.
I arrived at my hosts’ house just outside Venice after riding for 6 hours (with stoppings for pics). I was hosted by Ridza and Diah, a Malaysian couple who had been living here for few years.In the evening, Ridza took me to Venice by bus and we walked to Piazza San Marco. Its a very lively place with beautifully lighted souvenir shops and surroundings. The next day, I went there again to get a day view of the place. I spent a few hours strolling slowly and checking out the shops. Souvenir of Murano glass were something which caught my eyes but I couldn’t buy any because the risk of breaking it since I’m on my motorbike. However I did purchase a medium size Venetian mask to be taken home. I loved to watch the gondolas cruising by the canals, but the fare was EUR80. Too pricey for my wallet, so I didn’t try it.
After 2 nights in Venice, I said goodbye to my kind hosts and rode to Florence or Firenze, via SS309 – S65. It was a chilly wet ride almost all the way. I felt some wind which came from Adriatic Sea while riding along the coast. The road got narrower and winding when I crossed National Park Foreste Casentinesi. The view was very green and beautiful. I climbed up a mountain pass and had two very close calls. Both happened at the very tight and steep hairpin bends and both times with buses from the opposite direction which took half of my lane. OMG, only few inches spared between me and the bus!!!
I managed to find the hotel which was complimentary from Givi. It was a very nice and luxury room for me. I was so tired that I slept from late afternoon and only woke up at midnight.
The next day was spent on sightseeing in Florence. This city was the capital for Tuscany region and was considered a cultural, artistic and architectural gem. It was a beautiful city, but too touristy for me. Too many tourists everywhere. I wonder how packed this city would be during the weekend? Anyway all the attractions were close to each other. I managed to climb the hill up to Piazzale Michelangelo to have a full view of the city
I also visited the old city, a few churches and Duomo cathedral, and walked on the famous bridge, Ponte Vecchio and its Palazzo. It was very beautiful.
I continued my ride to Bolsena. The challenge started when my gps directed me to take a steep narrow pebble stone road to exit Florence. I hate it when my gps does this to me. I can’t check the gps choice of route as the screen will freeze when I slide my finger on it. So I will have to just follow its choices and later worry if my small power fully loaded bike could climb the steep road. Luckily I exited to SR2 safely. It was a very fun ride with beautiful view and warm weather.
Suddenly my ride was interrupted. The road was closed. There’s no one for me to ask for alternative road. I take an off-road nearby hoping that it will rejoin with SR2 but it came to a dead end. I rode back the same way I had taken, and managed to find someone, but he couldn’t speak English and I can’t speak Italian. He told me bla bla bla which I only understood 25%. I continued riding as what I understood and had to climb a narrow winding and steep road (but offered beautiful view of the valley down below) to Abbadia San Salvatore. Worried now as GD was low on fuel. I asked a guy who could speak some English, and managed to find my way back to SR2 via Piancastagnaio – Casa Del Corto. I lost 1 hour due to this, but the good thing was the very beautiful wild flowers scenery that I managed to capture with my cam.
Finally I arrived at beautiful Lake Bolsena after riding 212kms in 5 hours. I stayed at Hotel Eden, also complimentary from Givi. This hotel was situated by the lake side. It’s very beautiful and serene. Thank you very much Givi for sponsoring me the room and my dinner for that night, and thanks to Simona for choosing this ‘little heaven on earth’ for me.
The next day, I rode to the capital city, Roma via SR2. The distance was 140km only, There was lots of traffic upon entering Roma, but it was not so difficult to find the Malaysian Embassy there. I reported to the Ambassador, H. E. Dato Abdul Samad Othman. He was a very friendly person and invited me to stay at his residence. The staff, Miss Zebine, Mrs Norli and Mrs Sukinah took me out for lamb briyani lunch. The next day, I gave a presentation at the embassy.
During my 4 nights stay in Roma, I also managed to report to H. E. Tan Sri Bernard Dompok, the Malaysian Ambassador for Vatican City.
I also did a short sightseeing trip at this world’s smallest country. Its only 0.44sq km in size. This country was surrounded entirely by the city of Rome. Vatican was the centre for Roman Catholics and the Pope lived there.
Visiting Roma will not be completed without seeing the Colloseum and surroundings.
I said goodbye to Dato Samad and her kind wife, Datin Zaiton who had treated me like their own sister. I felt very sad to leave them, but today I must continue my ride.
I rode a fun 310kms ride from Roma to Ancona. The weather was very nice, not too hot and not too cold. There were some twisties, some greens and its easy to find the ferry ticket office and the pier. The fare for myself and GD was EUR60. It was a 12 hours ferry ride from Ancona to Split, Croatia.
At 7.45 pm I said goodbye to Italy. I have had a wonderful 15 days here with lots of sweet memories. Again, I’m thanking GIVI, and my hosts in Venice (Ridza & Diah), and in Roma (the Ambassador, Dato Abdul Samad Othman & Datin Zaiton) for the hospitality. My memories in Italy will be cherished in my heart forever n ever.
I wonder what’s awaiting for me in the Balkans…..