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May 18, 2006

San Pietro in Bevagna - Gallipoli, 60 km

Today's ride takes us on a beautiful stretch of coast with hardly any traffic. The predominating colors are turquoise and azure, intensified by the southern sun. 

Galllipoli, of Greek origin, kale polis meaning beautiful city, is situated on a spit of land extending into the Ionian Sea and is indeed beautiful. The compact old part of the city can easily be explored on foot and is well worthwhile.

The old part of Gallipoli, due to its peninsular location, the protection of a fortified wall surrounding the city and a castello at the entrance to the harbor, has been well preserved over the centuries.

Last night in our Hotel in San Pietro we met a group of American cyclists on an organized tour. It was fun to meet up with some fellow cyclists and compare notes. And since they had the same route planned for today as we did, we met again tonight, but this time not coincidentally. The members of the group all travelled at their own pace and to make their orientation easier, the tour guide rode ahead and marked their turnoffs with big white arrows. From San Pietro to Gallipoli we took advantage of these road signs tailored to the needs of cyclists and followed them right to the door of the hotel where they were staying.

The fact that they didn't have to carry bags or look for hotels made their kind of traveling look attractive, but on the other hand several of them said they would love to try doing a European tour on their own. And I must admit, the challenge of doing it on our own is the way we like it.

For a while we followed the white arrows marking the way for an organized cycling tour.

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