Vieste to Monte Sant' Angelo (61 kms)
was a day we'd been looking forward to. A ride through the Foresta
Umbra to Monte Sant'Angelo.
We left Vieste at around 9am into a strong headwind along
the coast road to Spiaggio Scialmarino where we headed inland.
Thankfully, we were now sheltered from the headwind. We both
commented on how hard some of the previous days rides would have been into
From here we headed up through the Foresta Umbra.
This is a long but very well graded climb of about 15 miles. It's a
lovely road, and on the day we were on it, very quiet, though we did see
more cyclists today than we'd seen all trip. It was deceptively cool
riding through the forest.
We stopped at the summit for our lunch (pizza slices
bought in Vieste) in a lovely sunny break in the trees. Could have
stayed all afternoon. Very quiet, warm and relaxing.
We left on a short descent, and then onto a rolling road
(still very quiet - not traffic to speak of at all). After a few km
of undulating roads, we started our descent through Masseria Paolino to a
cross-roads. We stopped here and ate a couple of oranges, looking
at the climb up to Monte Sant'Angelo. The climb actually looked a
lot harder than it was and it seemed like no time at all before we'd
reached the summit and were in the town itself. I'd guesstimate that
the ascent is about 300 metres.
It was very windy up in the town but the sun was warm.
There were fantastic views off the top down to Manfredonia and the coast
sweeping round to Trani and beyond.
We booked in to the Hotel Palace San Michele (110 euros a
night!). We had a fantastic room which opened up onto a huge sun trap
sun terrace with those amazing views down to Manfredonia and the coast.
There was a group of SAGA holidaymakers booked in to the
hotel, and we got chatting to an English couple who seemed to be covering
some of the ground we were. This was their 'welcome' night and I
suppose we could have stayed around and bummed a few complimentary drinks
and things, but that felt mean (and I like to think we wouldn't fit in 'cos
we don't look old enough ;-) Of course another reason we wouldn't
fit in is because we tend to look like a couple of vagrants after 10 days
in the same shirt and trousers ;-))
This was certainly a swanky hotel. The waiter had a
uniform complete with epaulettes, and in the morning when we asked if he
would fill our drinks bottles, he asked if we wanted ice in them!