August 31 – Spinetta Marengo to Camp Miraflores (Rapallo, Italy) (122 km, 74 miles)

August 31 Route Map

I got to the Mediterranean Sea today! It was nice to get my fist view of it from about 20 kilometers away while coming out of the hills to the north of Genova. It was a sure sign that my trip is coming to an end soon. But it was nice to see anyway. It was sunny again all day today, which is probably normal for this part of Europe. And it was hot – 32 degrees Celsius, which is something like 90 degrees Fahrenheit – way too hot for this Alaskan.

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Looking northwest to the Alps, 100 miles away, from the northern side of the mountains along the north coast of Italy. There's fresh snow in the Alps from yesterday's storm. ^

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During this entire trip I've noticed things that illustrate the differences between Europe and the U.S., particularly with regard to European's increased environmental awareness compared to the U.S. This is a prime example. If this was in the U.S. the trees would be considered a nuisance and would be cut down to make room for cars to park easily. But here in Italy, the trees seem to come first, and they adapt the parking to the trees. It would be great if every U.S. politician and policy-maker did a bicycle trip across Europe. They would then learn how they do things here, and then hopefully take that knowledge back to the U.S. and implement it there. Maybe then the U.S., with 4.5% of the world's population, wouldn't consume 21% of the world's energy. ^

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Now that's some skillful parking! ^

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Look at that - the Mediterranean Sea! This was my first view of the Mediterranean, from the mountains 10 miles north of Genova. ^

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A closer view of the Mediterranean, taken from the same spot as the above photo. ^

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I rode into Genova at 2:30 pm and straight into another world, transportation-wise. Mopeds are everywhere – thousands and thousands of them. I think they outnumber the cars. And the traffic is nuts – people park everywhere and any way. They don’t always get near the curb and often just get the nose of their car into the parking spot and leave the rest sticking out into the road and strange angles. It’s definitely not the kind of parallel parking that we’re used to in the U.S. Drivers here also double park and cut the road down to one lane with everyone trying to squeeze through the one lane. On top of that, moped drivers weave in and out of traffic, often in the oncoming lane. I saw more than a few near head-on collisions between mopeds and cars. Insane. I quickly came to the conclusion that when riding a bike, you just have to be aggressive and take your part of the road – and hope you survive. Genova’s no place to be timid on a bike!

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SMART cars are very popular in Europe. As you can see, they don't take up much more room than a bicycle, making them very easy to drive on Europe's often narrow streets, and it's a sure bet you can always find somewhere to park. ^

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Figurehead of Neptune on Il Galeone Neptune, a replica of a wooden Spanish galleon, in the harbor at Genova. ^

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The ship Il Galeone Neptune. This is a replica of a Spanish galleon, built in 1983-84. It was used in the 1986 movie Pirates, which starred Walter Matthau as Captain Red. The ship is now permanently moored in Genova and is a tourist attraction.^

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The superyacht, Radiant, in the harbor at Genova.

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My original plan was to ride to Genova, stay at a campground for the night, and then take the train to Rome the next day. But I discovered that there are no campgrounds in vicinity of Genova, so I decided to keep riding east another 30 kilometers along the coast to the nearest campground in Rapallo. I can then catch the train from Rapallo to Rome in the morning and be there by 4:30 pm.

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I noticed that Italians have great tans - and this is why. With almost endless beaches and lots of sun, it's a sunbather's paradise. ^

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Another beach in Genova. My evening destination is a campground in Rapallo, which is on the other side of the point of land in the background. I'll bike up and over the top through the saddle. ^

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View of the Mediterranean and the north coast of Italy. ^

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View of the town of Santa Margherita Ligure, Italy. ^

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