||Cingoli (S502) - San
Severino in Marche - Castelraimondo -
Well, what can I
say about the Hotel Diana in Cingoli. I don't think
I've ever been made to feel more welcome in a place. If you ever find yourself in Cingoli, stay in this hotel. The owners deserve every
After a leisurely breakfast in the hotel, and photo's with the
owner outside, we left Cingoli and rode out along a fairly level road to a short tunnel
(about 50 yards long) where we began a tremendous descent to San Severino in Marche.
We were slowed down at a couple of places on the descent by lots of people (I'd say around
50) out on horses. What a lovely way to spend a Sunday morning (other than on a bike
The strip of road from San Severino to Castelraimondo was a little
busier, but not too bad, and we stopped at a small cafe just before Castelraimondo for a
drink. We passed through Castelraimondo, and then began the steady climb up to Camerino at 650m. Not much to say about the ride really,
it was very short, certainly quiet, and had been very easy considering the descent from Cingoli. We arrived in Camerino
a lot earlier than we expected, at 12:30 and booked into the Hotel Il Duche. This
was a large hotel, quite a contrast from the previous night. There was a great view
out toward the Sibillini mountains from our bedroom window though. This was our
first good look at them, and we could make out the remnants of snow here and there.
Couldn't wait to get in amongst them.
We watched the Giro stage on TV with particular interest today a)
because it started in Corinaldo, the town we'd visited a
few days earlier, and b) because it went over 2 passes which we had done last year, the
Passo del Spino and the Passo del Consuma on its way to the finish in Prato. All I will
say is, they made them both look deceptively easy and did them rather faster than we did
(and we did them on seperate days!), but on the other hand, they weren't carrying their
own luggage, infact there wasn't a pannier in sight.
After a shower and change, we went for an evening walk around this
University town. As it was Sunday, and I guess as it is a University town there were
lots of young people out and about. We sat in the main Piazza
Cavour and watched student life go by for an hour or more, then feeling hungry, went
to seek out a restaurant. We'd read of a restaurant called Osteria della Art, and
after a few false starts, found it tucked away in a back street. This particular
night, they were doing a 'medieval cuisine' night, and the place was packed. The waiters
and waitresses were dressed in traditional costume, and it really had quite an atmosphere
about it. A couple were in front of us asking for a table, and we thought we were
out of luck when they turned away, however, they hadn't fancied taking a table which was
set up in the entrance (they obviously weren't as hungry as us). We were not so
fussy, and gladly took up the offer.
As we were heading for Castelluccio
the next day, and having heard how it is famous for its lentils, we were keen to try the
lentil soup on offer. I can't say I was overwhelmed by it, but it filled a
hole. The 'pigeon ragu pasta' and 'ravioli with sweet spice' was superb. We
also tried some 'spiced' wine, made to a very old recipe apparently. This was
excellent and tasted not unlike mulled wine. Now there was a jar of orangey-red
powder on the table. Konrad suggested it might be coriander or something. It
had no smell, so he put a spoonful on his food, mixed it in and took a mouthful.
What happened next was so funny. He opened his mouth and gestured for water.
His eyes were streaming, and he drank half a litre straight off. No good. The
powder in question was apparently two kinds of chilli - very hot. One of the waiters
happened to pass, saw what he'd done and shouted 'No!' several times. He went
through to the kitchen and brought the chef (and most of the other employees) out.
They couldn't do anything for laughing, telling him to eat bread, not drink as that would
only make it worse. They kindly offered to change his meal, but he'd only put a
small amount of the powder on one corner of his food, so he told them not to worry.
This certainly broke the ice, and we got chatting to a waitress
who was studying Ecology at the University in Camerino. She was keen to work
elsewhere in Europe for a year, and her specialism was in vegetation analysis using remote
sensing. Now isn't it a small world. I work for the Centre for Ecology and
Hydrology and we have a site which carries out just such work. I promised to mail
her some information on who to contact to try and get a placement.
We strolled back to the hotel really looking forward to tomorrow's
ride to Castelluccio, and hoping it would live up to our
expectations. This was also the day when I joined in Konrad's experiment of not
having any shower gel or soap, and relying on whatever the hotel provided. I'd left
mine in Cingoli. I have to say it worked fine (but
don't tell my wife!).