While northeastern Italy isn't nearly as pretty as Slovenia,
it does have more bicycle tourists

I decided to head into Italy at Goriza instead of staying in Slovenia till near Trieste. It is a good three day ride to Florence from Tolmin and going via Trieste pushed it beyond what I was comfortable with. This days ride was 100 miles - it should have been 95, but there was a five mile detour for road construction. I need to do more than 100 miles tomorrow and then maybe 80 miles, over the mountains to Florence the next day.

This is about as pretty as it gets in this part of Italy

While this is just an average view across the border in Slovenia!

But there is heavy industry in Slovenia
and the air is easier to breath in Italy

The first 25 miles of my ride was in Slovenia: very pretty, a bit hilly, light traffic, nice riding. The next 75 miles was in Italy: not very pretty, interesting, fast riding in traffic, but traffic used to bicycles and small motorscooters that aren't much faster than I ride. I rode from Tolmin to Nova Gorica following the Soca river. This is the same river valley I've been riding in since Vrsic. Nice!

The road isn't usually this close to the river

and is often hilly - that is an Italian bicyclist riding in Slovenia

I actually missed a turn just before Nova Gorica and ended up, very quickly, at a local border crossing where I couldn't cross. The officer there said "You'll have to ride through Nova Gorica. to the crossing just south of the city. That turned out to be a pain, because of road construction and confusing signs. I did get there, but only with the help of an Italian speaking butcher at a shop in Grcna. Italian is much easier to figure out that Slovenian!

The road south from Nova Gorica, which says it is is going to Ljubljana, has a nice bike path, goes through a fairly long tunnel, and then there is a road to the right that goes to the border. The border cossing was quick and easy, and then I headed south on SS55 to Monfalcone. I could have saved about ten miles by heading southeast from Goriza, but SS55 was a good road, and it was straightforward to go south on it to SS14 which I rode east for the rest of the day. Italian roads are MUCH better signed than Slovenian roads, so the riding, except for that one long, but well signed, detour was straight forward.

Frequent signs made it easy to follow the route

I saw three solo tourists going the other way on SS14, and caught up with a fourth around Portagruaro. These are the only solo tourists I've seen since the Danube. Two of them - the first and the last - were towing trailers. The other two had large rear panniers. I visited with the one going my way just before reaching San Donna Di Piave. He is from Trieste and is heading for northern Spain, riding about 200 km per day.

Riding on SS14 meant riding in a lot of traffic
on a road which often has no shoulder

I stopped for lunch in Monfalcone and later, at a supermarket on the detour, for a big snack - 500 g of yogurt, two apples, a loaf of bread and a coke. It was harder in Italy to find places to stop by the road and rest. This area is very built up and there isn't much open land. It was even harder to find a place to pee. With lots of traffic and, mostly no shoulders, it should have been bad riding. It wasn't. It was fast riding - flat with a bit of a crosswind - and noisy because of the traffic, but the traffic, with very few exceptions, was considerate. Even the big trucks - double trailers as wide as the lane - passed safely. One of them passed into oncoming traffic, but he sounded his horn, flashed a variety of lights and that traffic just got out of his way as he passed several feet away from me . My feeling was that these folks deal with things like my loaded bike all the time and treat us with respect.

The hardest riding was through the big towns, but most of them had bike paths. I did several towns at rush hour which wasn't fun, but was do-able and there were many local cyclists riding with me. Earlier in the afternoon (2 - 4 PM?) almost everthing was closed in the towns and that made riding better, but services scarce.

When I hit 100 miles, I started looking for a place to stay. I'm staying at a three start hotel in the last big town before the actual Venice area. I'm not too impressed with the hotel - my room is nicest one of the trip, but some stuff doesn't work and the air conditioning is a joke. Fortunately I have three windows and cross ventilation, but it was still hot and noisy sleeping last night. Ah well, breakfast was very good. After breakfast, I went hunting for an Italian power cord for my computer. The plugs here are identical to the standard European plug, except the pins are smaller in diameter!

Last night I used the worst Internet Cafe of my trip - expensive, smoky, very noisy, very crippled, and very slow - but I found an electrical supply store on my way to the cafe, so I was able to get a power cable for my computer at 9 AM this morning. After I finish this report, I'm heading to the train station and then to Venice for the rest of the day. My legs can use the rest. Hopefully I can find better internet access there!

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