Well, I made it to Italy but it was a long trip. Since it's really expensive to fly with a bicycle, I decided I was going to spend a bit less money and take trains and buses to make it over here. It was a good idea for the pocketbook, but not such a good idea for time.
I don't even know how long I was in transit, but it was somewhere in the area of 15 hours a day for the first 3 days of my trip. Maybe more. My bike made it in one piece (which is the thing I was obviously most concerned about), so all in all it was a good trip.
I ended up in the small town of Spilimbergo, which is over in east Italy, not too far away from Slovenia. The town itself is really cool. It's pretty small, and has an awesome, welcoming feeling to it. One of the first things I noticed when I started walking around was the preparatory decorations for the Giro d'Italia, which was set to start from the town the next morning.
The town really went all out. All of the shops had some kind of bike/Giro/pink newspaper in their window displays, and there were pink balloons all over the place. For those who don't know, the reason pink is the color of the Giro is because of La Gazzetto dello Sport.
This is the newspaper that started the Giro in the early 1900s as a way to increase distribution of their paper. The pages of the paper were pink, so they decided to make that the color of the leader's jersey in the same way that the Tour de France has a yellow leader's jersey.
I wish I didn't spend so much time walking around the town and seeing everything. Lesson learned: eat early, because these small towns close down early. Especially so when the Giro is in town, so my dinner for the night was sugar-roasted peanuts. Tasty, but not quite as filling as one might hope. Oh well, now I know.
My bed for the evening was a special little spot I found behind the church at the edge of town. It was hidden from almost all angles, so it was a perfect place to sleep for free for the night. They may have kept me from eating, but at least I got a place to sleep.
I was worried at first, because the people working for the Giro started setting up all the barriers and such that evening. They were pretty noisy when I was in town, and my sleeping area was not too far away since the town was so small. Luckily there was enough material in between me and the set up area, so I was able to sleep without any disturbances during the night.
Tomorrow comes the Giro...