To Rome

Formello is the goal of my trip today on my 35th day of traveling. About 80km, a good distance. Quite hilly towards the end of the leg and I'm glad to get there early enough. Unlucky for me, the only affordable hostel is fully booked, there's no camping site nearby (I'm still not too skilled in "stealth camping"), so I decide to add another 25 km to the leg and make it straight to Rome today.

It's 19:15 when I reach the hostel, having ridden a good 100km. Unfortunately, the hostel (the "Palestro Guest house 247") isn't really a hostel but merely a run-down 3 bedroom apartment, no more than 80 sqm in total and in dire need of a makeover. It features a single shower (which barely gives any water) and 2 toilets for all people (maybe 18 beds in total) to share (description said each room had a bathroom and was 60 sqm). Also: no A/C. It doesn't help much that the owner is very friendly and kindly accommodates my bicycle behind the tiny reception during the night. The place is just awful. To this day I cannot grasp how the booking.com customer reviews average at 8.2. This place barely deserves a 5.

Having been to Rome a few years ago already I'm not particularly keen on doing all the touristy monuments again so I embark on a random cycling tour through the city. In short: that doesn't lighten my mood much. One thing is very evident: Rome has a garbage problem!

I'm happy to meet my first Warmshowers host 2 nights later: Enter Claudia, a true cycling enthusiast working for the UN food and agriculture orginization in Rome, which is where we meet during her lunch break. "We're just trying to solve world hunger" is her answer when asked what they do. I'm being given a small cycling tour to her place where I reorganize my stuff and prepare for my 1 week break from cycling when I go back to Germany.

The next morning I make it to the bus stop with my host's help, and after a few nervous minutes (some Rome bus drivers are on strike, apparently) I hop onto the bus and make it to Ciampino. That's not the end of it though, as Ryanair is apparently still cancelling flights due to previous week's strike. But I'm in luck and make it out just in time.

Bye Italy, see you again next week!