A great nights sleep in a lovely
hotel. The girl on the desk kindly booked our accommodation for the night in Sirolo, so we had nothing to worry about on that score. We had
breakfast in the hotel of croissants and jam, and then went off down through the town to
see the sights. There certainly are some things to see. The walls of the town
are something else, and the 'One hundred steps' or La Piaggia is also well worth a photo
A stage of the Giro d'Italia was due to start in the
town in a few days (Sunday I think), and they were busy re-surfacing a large car park near
one of the entrances to the town. The hotel was handing out official 'Giro d'Italia
- Corinaldo' booklets, so I took one and stuffed it in my pannier for reading later (as it
turned out, it was mainly adverts for local businesses, but a nice souvenir nonetheless).
We left the town headed for Ostra on blissfully quiet roads and seemed to be there in no
time. There was a market in full swing, and the town was very busy and lively, so we
bought some fruit and meandered up to the main piazza (Piazza dei Martiri) to watch the
world go by for a while. Everyone was very friendly, and a group of men came over
and we had a chat about the Giro, and where we were headed. They seemed to like our
term 'Giro d'Marche'!
It was so good to see a small town market so
obviously well attended. I live near a small market town, and over the years have
watched it dying a slow death, mainly due to the large out of town stores which have
sprung up all over. It is starting a fightback, and I hope it makes it but it'll be
touch and go. If we're not careful, all that will be left in the town will be Estate
Agents and Solicitors offices. But enough of that - on with the holiday.
From Ostra, we headed
off in the direction of Aquasanta and on to Jesi, again on great roads. Jesi was
quite busy (we arrived at lunch time), so we stopped for lunch - a huge bowl of Tuna salad
- in one of the cafes bordering the main Piazza. It was here we got chatting to a
chap who we were to meet later in the trip. The clouds were beginning to gather and
looked a bit threatening, but the sun did keep breaking through.
On leaving Jesi, we headed for Osimo. This was
quite a tough road, lots of 'ups and downs', but once again, a lovely road for cycling on.
Very quiet. We stopped briefly in Osimo for a drink and an ice-cream, and
soon set off again for Sirolo. The first few
kilometers were very easy, either downhill or flat, which is what we'd expected as we were
riding toward the coast. However, as we neared Sirolo some of the hills became
really 'leg sapping'. It was hot and humid, and perhaps part of the problem was
psychological. we hadn't expected to be doing any more climbing that day, we'd
expected to be going down to sea level, so 'downhill all the way' (should have looked at
the map more closely!).
Eventually we reached Sirolo,
very hot and sweaty. Sirolo is a bit more 'up
market' than our normal haunts, and I got the impression that if we'd simply turned up 'on
spec' at the hotel, the chap might have told us he was full. But, we had a
reservation, and we were soon in the room watching the Giro stage on the TV (I really
thought Max Sciandri was going to win that stage today!). After a shower, we went
for a walk around and had a drink or two. Sirolo is
about 150m above sea level and there are some great views from the town out to sea, with
the great bulk of Monte Conero (572m) jutting out just a few kilometers away.
We looked at a couple of restaurants but they either
looked closed or a bit too expensive, so we went back to the hotel and ate there.
The hotel had a menu, but it seemed that anything we asked for was 'off'. Having
said that, the meal was very good, made even better by our ordering 'Frutta fresca di
stagione', which in my book is 'Fresh seasonal fruit'. We wondered what fruits were
seasonal in the area, strawberries? blueberries perhaps? Imagine our faces when
the waiter arrived with a large platter of prawns, octopus, whitebait etc. We had a
good laugh about it and ate the lot - it was absolutely delicious. I looked at the
menu again. It definitely said 'Frutta fresca di stagione'. No mention
of 'Frutta di mare'. So, feeling suitably stuffed, we went off for an early
night. I think we both needed it.