When I left Milan I wasn't sure where I was headed. I took some signs for Genova because, hey--I do like Salami. (Still not quite clear why the English translation for Italian cities are spelled differently than the original in Italian. It's not like we can't pronounce "Firenze" or "Genova" or "Roma". But whatever.) Genoa was awful. Imagine if Blade Runner was filmed during the day with an orange filter. Then add a lot of traffic, no skin jobs with extraordinary stories of what happened off the shoulder of Orion. Then add more orange, remove the plot, turn the heat in the theater up to 11, add more traffic and there ya have it....Genoa.
Whenever I hit a city I don't like I just ride higher and higher. Gives me a good vantage point and removes a lot of the silt that clouds the lower stratosphere.
Only I didn't find anything up much higher. I definitely wasn't going to stay in Genoa for the night. If we go back to the 'some girls look better in the night' metaphor I arrived too early and didn't have enough to drink. I was sober, the sun was shining brightly and, though I admit I wanted to take off all my clothes, it was only because it was so fucking hot out.
So I parked my bike in a parking lot near an underpass and got on my phone to search for a city a couple hours away.
PISA! Yes, Pisa, why the hell not. Almost immediately it became a good decision:
Found a campsite (for a banana-in-the-butt price of 23 Euro) in Pisa and set up tent.
An ADVer here who also backpacks and rides decided to make a better mousetrap. We began talking six months ago while he was engineering his second prototype. What better way to do R&D than give something to me? If a product has a deficiency I'm the guy to find it, and then articulate the hell out of why it sucks so much.
But I have to say, incredible. The tent compresses to a size of Pomelo (large grapefruit) and has some genius features, including:
Super crazy-light and waterproof material, allowing a dumbass like myself to travel light without being ill-prepared;
Color coded tent-pole-hole-things which make it impossible to misalign your tent poles in the wrong holes;
A pocket on the inside (by your head) to store the kleenex that replace your girlfriend at night (or in my case, tissues to blow the sinus ebola out of my nose);
A top-of-the-tent ceiling net that:
A) turns your cell phone into a spotlight that lights up your life
B) keeps your valuables in an impossible to lose location
Light-speed zippers that don't snag.
Ducati Red Tent Fly that repels mosquitos and attracts hot Italian women (or so I'm told).