This weekend was another long weekend, and we spent it in Italy watching the Giro d’Italia! 😀
We flew to Rome on Wednesday evening, and met Jason’s mum at the airport. Jason got an early birthday present from me (Sofi) for the trip: a nice Paul Smith canvas bag with a cycling print. He really loved it! 😀
On Thursday we spent the day trying to see as much or Rome as possible. Jason had never been before, so he wanted to see the main things before we headed to our next destination in the evening. We started at the Colosseum and then worked our way through the sights of Rome, Apart from the Fontana di Trevi, which was under renovation, everything was spectacular, and the weather really helped make Rome look pretty. After some lunch, we headed to the Vatican City, and went in St. Peter’s Basilica. Jason thought the Vatican was huge, he had seen it on TV and in films, but was really impressed by all of it.
After having had enough of Rome, we got in our hire car (a beautifully-white Fiat 500) and headed to Fiuggi, where we would be watching the Giro. It was only an hour’s drive and we arrived at a town that was dressed in pink and all ready for the Giro. In the evening we went for dinner and had a stroll through town.
The next day I went out for a very early morning run. I really can’t sleep for long in the mornings and I usually go up at 6 as my body clock is set for that and ultimately I wake up about that time. I don’t mind though, since I love going out in the early morning in a new town. Cycling is a great way to experience a new place and so is running. You just let your eyes take you around a new place and it doesn’t even feel like you are exercising 🙂
After that we had breakfast and walked around town again, taking pictures of all the Giro displays that were in every shop. By now, they had also put up the barriers for the finish line (which was almost directly outside our hotel) and some of the sponsor tents. We walked to the only real tourist attraction which is a site where they have fountains where you can drink Fiuggi Water. It is natural water which has healing properties.
After that we went to the hotel across the road and spent a few hours in the spa 🙂 Then we went for lunch before finding a good spot to watch the finish. We decided to stay at the 75 m mark. The atmosphere was great and so many people were there to watch. Even though it is a long wait there are so many things to look at and it never gets boring just to stand around for hours. You can follow the race on big screens and see when they are getting close.
They finally arrived and we saw an Italian rider win the stage, which made the crowd happy. We stayed to watch the podium ceremonies and even got Elia Viviani’s autograph on Jason’s mum’s Team Sky cap. In the evening we just went out for a nice walk and an Italian dinner.
On Saturday morning me and Jason woke up early again and went for a run. We were trying to spot where the teams had been staying overnight. It was a bit early to see any of the riders but some mechanics were out working on the bikes.
After breakfast we checked out of the hotel and drove up to the old town to watch the start of stage 8. After checking out the start village we went to the car park where the team buses would be and hung around there. It is a great opportunity to see the riders getting prepared. We were going to see if we could take a picture with Tobias Ludvigsson, the only Swede in the Giro. He cycles for Team Giant Alpecin and his coach lead one of the rides at the training camp Jason went to a few months ago. Tobias was really friendly and let us take pictures and chat with him and he also gave us some signed team caps 🙂
Then we went to the Tinkoff Saxo team bus to try to spot Alberto Contador, who is the current leader of the Giro. I had a team cap that I was hoping he would sign. I wasn’t too hopeful that he would actually have time or interest to do that since he is very in demand and needs to focus on the race. He unfortunately suffered an injury on stage 6 where he dislocated his shoulder. You could tell that he was suffering and needed help putting his rain coat on. It is really impressive that you can go on riding with an injury like that. His goal this season is to win both the Giro and the Tour and he is obviously very determined to do that. When he came out of the team bus he did an interview for Eurosport, and we were next to the interviewer. Jason’s mum was even under the umbrella the interviewer was standing under, right in front of Contador. Just as he was about to leave, Jason used his best “por favor Alberto” and managed to get Contador to sign my cap! 😀 😀 I like Contador because of the way he rides, and Jason always compares his style to mine. He is a really good climber, and I try to be as effortless as him when I climb hills and mountains.
We then saw the riders start the race before having lunch and exploring the old town.
In the afternoon we drove to the coast near Rome and relaxed near the sea with an ice cream. After that we headed to our hotel for the night, where we had a very lovely last meal in Italy. In the morning we had a very early start to get to the airport and fly back home.
We had a wonderful trip, and we both love Italy not only for the food but the scenery (and cycling) as well. We were inspired by our long weekend in Italy and made spinach and ricotta ravioli for dinner on Sunday and a delicious melanzane for dinner tonight. Tomorrow is Jason’s birthday and it will be more Italian food then as well!
This week we won’t ride much because it is the Gothenburg Half Marathon on Saturday. But after that we will be back to riding again.
We hope you all have a nice week!
/Sofi and Jason