Saturday 1st to Saturday 8th June
Makarska, Ancona, Norcia, Orvieto
Saturday 01/06 to Wednesday 05/06/19 – Lay Days; Makarska
We’ve been on the road for 9 weeks and it’s time for an extended break, so what better place to do so than in Makarska. This place has some significance for me as my Dida, my Mum’s father, was born and raised in the hills behind here before immigrating to New Zealand in the early 1900s.
We scored a win with our accommodation and settled in for 6 nights. We’d hoped for fine weather but had a lose there as it was overcast and rainy for our whole stay, but never mind, we enjoyed ourselves anyway.
There were a couple of things on the agenda and 1 was to meet a second cousin who we’d missed seeing last time we were here in 2016 as his father was seriously ill. But we caught up this time and had a delightful time.
The second thing was to visit the now apparently abandoned village of Socic where my Dida came from. I mentioned in my 2016 blog that I’d always thought of him as a little hard, not that I had any right to as he never mistreated me. But visiting the place of his upbringing was certainly an eye opener, as to eke out a living from those rocks you’d have to have real strength.
Sadly the place is even more overgrown than on our last visit but the views on the way up the range were just as amazing.
The other thing about Makarska that stuck us was the increase in the number of tourists. We’re here in the shoulder season and it’s busy enough, but the locals tell me it’s crazy in the full summer.
Says me the touristy traveler. We took lots of pictures of the various nooks and crannys.
And the harbour, of course. There was a constant stream of arrivals and departures, mostly out of my pocket range but enjoyable none the less.
We took a ferry across to Sumartin for coffee and heart stopping cake.
Watched some sunsets.
And took a small boat cruise to Podgora with a local in a converted life boat. It was good to be able to talk small boats with someone again.
Thanks Makarska, we loved every minute of it.
Thursday 06/06/19 – Ride Day; Ancona via Trogir and Split
On the road again. In terms of road klms it was a mere 120klms, but we added around another 260klms taking the ferry from Split to Ancona.
To start with we took a leisurely ride north and dropped in on a few coastal villages on the way. I’ve lost the pics somehow 😦 Except this GoPro Grab
Trogir is 25klms west of Split and well worth a visit we were told. So we did, and spent most of the afternoon there. We checked out its back streets.
And some of its other buildings
Before riding back to Split and catching our ferry to Ancona.
Friday 07/06/19 – Ride Day; Ancona to Norcia
We landed at 7am and had no problems with customs, but we did have problems getting out of the port area and on the road where we followed the road south through Italy’s Le Marche region on a glorious morning before stopping at Sirolo for breakfast with the locals. There’s just something about these small towns early in the morning before the crowds arrive.
We continued on south following the coast past what seemed like a million beach deck chairs/umbrellas to Porto Recanati where we turned inland and stopped at Loreto and visited the Basilica della Santa Casa which has an interesting if totally unbelievable history.
Then on to Macerata where we stopped and had a Skype call with our Adelaide family which is always a lot of fun.
From Macerata our plan had been to visit the devastated hill town of Castelluccia where we’d spent a few days back in 2016, just 2 nights prior to the earthquake that virtually destroyed the whole region. We rode in from the north to within 13klms of the town before coming to a gate that informed us the road was closed ahead. At least this time we had plenty of fuel so turning around wasn’t a problem as we took another remote road that skirted the hills into Norcia, our stay for the night.
It was heart wrenching to see the destruction and devastation left behind those earthquakes as witnessed by the vibrant towns we’d ridden through in 2016 now being virtually ghost towns.
And Norcia had fared no better than the rest.
You’d have to ask the question regarding the point of trying to do anything in way of resurrecting some of those buildings, what’s still standing is only there by the grace of good scaffolding. Indeed entire areas are condemned and shut off.
There were still some pleasant scenes.
It was a bitter sweet day of 180klms.
Saturday 08/06/19 – Ride Day; Norcia to Orvieto
Today we were on the road early because we wanted to backtrack and visit Castelluccia via the south road, and secondly because it promised to be a hot day.
The views climbing the escarpment were just as beautiful as 3 years ago.
And the view looking across the plain to Castelluccia was just as breathtaking.
But that’s where it ended. The town was a virtual ruin.
We paid homage, took the pics, had a coffee, and left via the east road which led through some amazing country, but also town upon town of destroyed dreams, past, present and future.
Everything changed once we joined the SS4 at Arquata Del Tronto and rode its joyous twists and curves all the way to Rieti where we stopped and wandered through their preparations for a sports festival – all pretty laid back. We took our pics
and then hustled along the lovely SS79 to Terni. There is some truly amazing scenery through here, which is the norm as we were about to find out.
We stopped at Terni for an hour as the day was becoming hot and heavy.
Now we were in Umbria and hay making was in full swing with much other evidence of cultivation going on. It seemed that there was a steady stream of classical Italian hilltop towns
interspersed with the rolling hills and occasional small range just to make the riding amazing and the scenery, well the scenery;
We arrived into Orvieto and navigated our way to our B&B right in the heart of town. We accomplished this in spite of the finger wagging and stern looks that said we shouldn’t be doing that, but that’s why we ride a red and white Italian motorcycle, which says in return ‘I can and I don’t care’. In actual fact I do care a bit, I just don’t know how else to get where we’re going. Works for me.
It turns out our reasonable B&B is in an old convent and still run by Nuns. We were pretty tired by the time we arrived as it’d been a hot and fairly long day for us. 260klms.
And so we continue.