Saturday, July 18, 2009

The "Vita Pugna"

On our final night, at the end of our walk, as we sat outside the bar in Campo Santa Margherita, the weather changed. We had pouring rain, high winds, and hail, driving us inside. So our farewell drink turned into an extended good-bye. 

Eventually the rain stopped, Peter finished his pasta, and we all said good-bye, taking off for our respective abodes or, in the case of Celeste, meeting her sister for dinner. The good thing about the rain is that the heat and humidity are gone for the moment and it is cool and fresh. We just hope the weather stays like this. It will be much nicer for bicycling.  

We took  a relatively early train from Venice to Mantova. We changed at Monselice, where I got a coffee since I didn't have time to make as much as usual at the apartment. I would have liked to have seen the studiolo of Isabella d'Este, which we missed when we were at the Palazzo Ducale last year. Unfortunately there isn't time for everything.   We arrived in Mantova yesterday in the rain and walked from the train station to the river port, where we found our barge the "Vita Pugna," which means life is a struggle. The barge is very compact so it is a good thing that we don't have much stuff. We found our bikes, picked up helmets, and when it stopped raining went out to get some cash, have some lunch, and visit the Palazzo Te. As Peter says, if we hadn't seen it, we would have regretted it, but it was a disappointment compared to the Palazzo Ducale.

The other cyclists on our cruise are two Americans, four Danes, four Swiss, and six Germans. The guide is a German who has lived in Italy for 22 years and the crew are a Dutch capitan, his Chinese wife and an Italian cook. It is not luxurious, but it is comfortable.

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