by tandem  
Abruzzo & Puglia 

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by Allan & Konrad 

 Day 6 - Monday 16th May

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Isernia to Sepino  (88 kms)

We left the hotel at around 9:30am and found the road to Longano without a hitch.   It was a long climb to Longano and the morning was very hot.  Thankfully there was a welcoming fountain in the main square at Longano (and we'd only done about 8 miles!).  We bought our panninis here and got chatting to some locals sat in the shade around the fountain.  One of them spoke perfect English and it turned out he had lived in Preston for a while (Preston is about 65 miles form our homes).

We explained that we were heading for Sepino via Gallo which raised a few eyebrows.  We were told that the road was very tough (and rough).  Whether we took a wrong turn (more than likely) or not I don't know, but the road climbed quite steeply, and then - disappeared (the black bit on the map opposite!).  It turned into a dirt track which was un-rideable, especially on a tandem.  We looked at the map again, but this definitely seemed like the right road! We got off and walked the tandem and were about to turn around when we met a chap walking his dog.  He said that if we carried on we would meet the tarmac road soon.  2 miles later, he was right.  It really was quite a job pushing the tandem on this track.  We tried riding from time to time, but some of the rocks were quite large and there were ruts and potholes all over the place.  Not wanting to risk a puncture at best or a broken rim at worst, we decided to take our time and walk.

We eventually reached tarmac again, hot and dusty.  We headed for Vallelunga, but just before it, the road was closed and we were sent on a detour, a very makeshift and very tough road.  Some wickedly short sharp steep sections on it.  Eventually we reached Gallo where we stopped for a breather and some water and coffee (just in time as the owner was shutting up shop for a long lunch).  After lunch we started a steep climb out of Gallo into the Parco Regionale del Maltese, on to Lentino and past Lago di Gallo.  We dropped into the valley and then climbed gradually to Lago del Maltese.  It was a lovely ride along the lake and then a wooded climb to Passo di Miralago.  From here we took the road signed Campobasso and climbed to Sella d'Perrone.  From here it was an absolutely huge descent (16kms) through Guardiaregia and on to join the No.17 road.  This was a busier road, but with a good shoulder to ride on, and we soon found the turn off (easy to miss - it's just a lay-by with a track off it) for Saepinum, an old Roman town.  We pushed the tandem along the track, through the ruins of the old town and back on to tarmac again headed for Atillia and on to Sepino.  The only hotel in Sepino was closed.  We asked some locals (after climbing half-way up to Sepino old town), and they suggested trying a place near the station.  We still haven't found the station, but we did find an agroturismo about 5km out of the town near a railway line.  I guess that's what they meant.

The agroturismo was out of this world.  Absolutely stunning inside.  Rough stone floors, old wooden doors, stone troughs with water flowing.  For a start, the owner was super friendly, he persuaded the chef (I presume) to stay and cook us dinner.  After such a long hot day, we were both so relieved to find this place.  The meal that night was something else.  I've never seen so much food.  I thought what turned out to be the starter was the meal.  Not at all.  It was followed by a huge pasta dish, which in turn was followed by a meat and potatoes dish which had at least 4 different kinds of meat (pork chops, chicken, a small bird of some kind etc etc).  All this was washed down with a very large jug of red wine.

The total cost for a double room, evening meal and breakfast was 70 euros.



Never trust a map, and when the locals say it's rough, believe them - it's rough.

What's that they say about a 'country mile'?  I'm glad we never did the sensible thing and turned around though.

Lovely ride through the Parco Regionale del Maltese.

What a meal!  What value for money.  A superb day.

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