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by Allan Nelson & Konrad Orlowski  

Day 6 - Tuesday 19th May 1998

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Montepulciano to Assisi

Day 6 - Montepulciano to Assisi


Sunflrbt.gif (1265 bytes) Montepulciano - Chianciano Terme – Chiusi (No 146)
Sunflrbt.gif (1265 bytes) Chiusi – Paciano – Panicale – Tavernelle (local roads)
Sunflrbt.gif (1265 bytes) Tavernelle – Perugia (almost!) (No 220)
Sunflrbt.gif (1265 bytes) Perugia – San Martino in Colle - San Martino in Campo - Torgiano (local roads)
Sunflrbt.gif (1265 bytes) Torgiano – Bastia (local roads)
Sunflrbt.gif (1265 bytes) Bastia – Assisi (No 147)
Kilometres: 116

Stayed in the Hotel La Terrazza. Great nights sleep. Lovely hotel.

Up around 8:30am and went for breakfast at a café a couple of minutes walk away. Nice breakfast of ham and eggs with brioche, then off for a walk around the town and up the now obligatory tower. Fantastic views from the top.

Bought new maps of 'Toscana' and 'Umbria e Marche' in a local bookshop (Touring Club Italiano 1:200,000) after yesterdays debacle of leaving the others in Siena.

We left Montepulciano around 11am on the No 146, through Chianciano Terme (a pretty naff looking place), and on to Chiusi, where we had some excellent ‘panninis’ in a roadside bar - made on the spot, to our specification!

From Chiusi we headed out briefly on the No 71, before turning off onto local roads toward Paciano and Panicale (very picturesque, and great views of Castiglione Del Lago in the distance). From Panicale we dropped down to Tavernelli (N220) and ploughed on to Perugia.
This was a bad move!

Up until a few kilometres out, things weren’t too bad. The roads were busier and boringly straight, but nothing compared to what we were to encounter.

We had been following signs for Assisi, when without warning, we found ourselves on an extremely busy Super Strada that suddenly disappeared into a tunnel. The tunnel was frightening! Half the lights were out in it, and it was all we could do to see where we were going. There was no ‘hard shoulder’ or walkway we could use, so we had no alternative but to plough on, with car horns blaring all around us. At last we came out of the tunnel, only to see another about 100metres ahead. We’d both decided (without speaking to one another) that there was no way we were going through another one of those. Konrad remarked later that the only way he had expected to come out of that tunnel was in an ambulance! Thankfully, there was a slip road between the two, and we headed off down it not really caring where it was going to take us. To cut a long story short, after buggering about for around 2 hours on the outskirts of Perugia, we finally found a quiet road heading in the direction of Marsciano. We needed this respite. Both of us were absolutely petrified!

We followed this road until just before San Martino in Colle, where we turned for San Martino in Campo. This took us to Torgiano. This, the ‘city of wine’, appeared to be shut. We tried one hotel on the outskirts, which apart from being full, stank of domestos), and were warned off the other by a local lady who said it was very expensive. It was about this time that Konrad did an emergency stop at the top of a hill in the town. I managed to avoid running into him, stopped, but couldn’t get my foot out and – you guessed the rest.

We decided to press on for Assisi (as my elbow had now stopped bleeding). We had an uneventful ride almost to Bastia, where once again we followed the signs for Assissi, and ended up on a Super Strada. We quickly re-traced our steps and went through the town of Bastia. Of course all signs for Assisi had now vanished. While waiting for lights to change at a road junction, a chap (Bambini) on a Vespa started chatting to us. We explained we wanted the Assisi road, and he told us to follow him. He led us through the traffic, and left us on the correct road (No 147).

This road led us straight to Assisi. The views on this road are tremendous.  Assisi looms up ahead of you on the hillside as you plough on down this long straight road. It had been a long trying day, and the stiff climb up to the old town did seem to go on a bit, but was worth every turn of the cranks.

We found a lovely 2 star hotel (Hotel San Rufino) for L90,000 for a double room (which at first appeared locked up). We were the only ones in the place, and it had obviously recently been refurbished.

When we asked were we could put the bikes, the owner simply moved the sofa in reception and told us to stand them behind that!

After a shower, we went straight out for a meal at a café not 30 metres away.

Sunflrbt.gif (1265 bytes) Tunnels are a cure for constipation.
Sunflrbt.gif (1265 bytes) Perugia should have a cycle path built to it (Konrad thinks it should be struck off all maps!)
Sunflrbt.gif (1265 bytes) Assisi was beautiful, and wonderfully deserted.

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