Day 1 2018-10-04/05 Sydney - Abu Dharbi - Rome- Siena
After 370 days and 10,700km cycling, the journey to compete in my second L’Eroica in Gaiole Vintage bicycle ride began.
I finished works at 17:00 (convenient at QANTAS Mascot), and Simon farewelled me at Sydney Kingsford-Smith Int’l Airport for a 20:55 departure on Etihad to Abu Dhabi. (7650miles). With 30-40% economy occupancy on a A380 , I had a window row to myself. As a sign of the times, Business Class seemed busier
The scenery into Abu Dhabi after 14.5hrs flight was interesting with the contrast of sparse settlements in deserts.
The transfer was 3hrs in a better terminal then I’d heard. With free airport WiFi, I messaged home to hear of the heavy rain in Sydney- maybe the worst drought in 50yrs is breaking. Karen had just flown in from Singapore. The excessively sweet $8 hot chocolate was a reminder that Australia makes the best hot chocolates in the world!
At 8:30, I boarded for the final 6hr sector to Rome (2900mls) on a B777-300.
This flight also had lots of spare economy seats. The Etihad service was good and the food met expectations for airlines.
After 24hrs travel, I arrived at Rome Fiumicino Airport on time at 14:00 and the bike arrived ok.
The car hire pickup was a Fiat SUV at Sixt Rentals, and I headed off on 250km drive to Siena. I was advised to go via A4 , north of Rome as it had a higher speed limit then the coastal route. It was an easy drive, especially as the car had Apple Play and displayed my Google Maps. I listened to Italian pop for a while until I reverted to my iPhone playlists.
Arrival at Hotel Italia at 18:00 was the end of 29hrs of travel. I found a car spot in the tight hotel carpark and checked in.
The room is on the top floor with limited view. After a welcome shower, I headed to the tourist area and sat down to a welcome Italian dinner. Naturally I ordered Bushetta with tomato and mozzarella!
Tomorrow I sleep in, assemble the bicycle and drive to Giaole to register and enjoy the vintage bicycle festival.