September 21, 2019
Currently enroute to Stromboli, I pulled out of Reggio di Calabria this morning after a two day stay.
Having passed this area twice previously, I was excited to stop and see the sights, ride the bike and get some supplies. Turns out that this is a really poor spot to do those things, but I made the best of it . . .
Coming South from Roccella Ionica was a nice trip. I turned to starboard into the strait and started the trip North up the channel. (Side note: The channel/strait is about 30 miles long, end-to-end, but the ‘strait of Messina’ is a specific six NM at the end, I will get back to that later).
Shortly after starting up the channel, the wind started to pick up a bit. It got much worse . . . as I neared Calabria, the wind was steady at 22 knots with gusts in the 30-33 knot range. The waves were 5-6 feet high and it was a torrid affair. I sent a note ahead to the marina to find out if I would be protected enough to moor there and they assured me there was ample protection. Arriving late in the afternoon, the wind settled a bit, and I entered the harbour to find out that there was amazing protection in this harbour. The walls protecting the marina were 15′ high and almost completely encompassed the bay. Still, med mooring was a bit tricky, but it all was completed without any significant difficulty.
What I should have asked before booking the slip was whether this marina was a good spot for visiting tourists. The answer to that would have been ‘uh, not really’.
In any case, I made the best of it. I found groceries, walked an amazing boardwalk a few times and got in a bike ride that was shorter than I would have liked.
Like many Italian towns and cities there is an amazing retail concourse that is essentially shut to vehicle traffic and of course you can find all of the popular brands there. There are a variety of nice statues and buildings to imagine. The boardwalk (actually a couple of streets down, along the waterfront is like a carnival, with very large, beautiful stone and marble structures to make it a great place for people to walk. It’s really quite impressive when you think about the scale of the works, but is not ‘grand’ in the sense of a coliseum or theatre.
Now, that said, completely by accident (while taking the featured image), I took a small stairwell down at the square because there was ‘something’ to see down there. Turns out it was an art show, with the backdrop being a portion of the ‘ancient city’ that had been unearthed. Clearly the current city had been built on top of 10-15 feet of covered up Roman city. The bits that were on display (behind some young lady’s artworks), were Roman streets and aqueducts with massive flat stones and the walls of homes, etc. Clearly there would be a lot to see if they dug up the current city.
I did get out for a bike ride, but I felt like I was dragging one of those flat stones behind me and the road conditions were not appealing (I remember Italy now), and so I decided to head back. Now that’s a bit of a funny story, because when I turned back, I realized that I had been riding on a false flat (but the crappy roads were still there!) and all of a sudden I realized that I had been feeling so rough and slow because I had been climbing a steady (flat looking) road. I actually stopped my bike twice on the way up to see if my brakes were catching or my bottom bracket was grinding. Apparently I am not so bright!!
The pictures below are from the roadside while I was riding.
I am currently approaching Stromboli, so there will be more to say tomorrow, but that’s the update for now.