Fleeing Monaco and cycling into Italy | A world bike tour
We continue our journey to the east, to South Korea by bicycle! It's a special day for us, because we are about to cross a total of three borders in one day, and soon we have to make a big decision. Starting at the end of October in Germany, it took us the whole of November to cycle 1300 kms through France. Before heading on into Italy, it's time for the most glamorous part of the French Riviera. Okay, go right, right, go, go! Okay, we are in Monaco! The principality of Monaco, surrounded by France, is the second smallest sovereign state, right after the Vatican City. It is widely recognized as one of the wealthiest places in the world.
It's also known for the Formula One race on the winding streets of this 2.1 sq. km microstate. It's on our way, so here we go. Insane how expensive everything is here. Insane! It's mad. I just saw eggplant for 8 Euros per kg.
Eight! That's insane... I mean at this rate, we could by 2 kgs of eggplant and that's the entire budget for our day. We skip the groceries shopping for now and hit the race track instead. Let's see what else Monaco has to offer. On paper we seem to be in Paradise. The country of superlatives: highest GDP per capita, lowest poverty rate, highest life expectancy... and the highest concentration of millionaires and billionaires in the world.
There's police everywhere... In one tiny state they have like two police stations? Police, police, police, ... Yes. It's probably the safest place on Earth, especially for money. With 38 000 people it's also the most densely populated state in the world, but only about a quarter of the population are of Monegasque nationality. Which means that the overwhelming majority of its residents chose Monaco because of its fantastic climate, and well, that's just an allegation, but most of them are refugees, of sorts. Yes you heard me right! Welcome to Monaco, where people are free: free of personal income or wealth tax.
Oh, more police! *chuckles* Oh, I'm allowed to throw the garbage into the garbage. That's good, that's great! I am not allowed to eat. I'm not allowed to take pictures. But I'm allowed to cycle. No, you're not allowed. So, maybe we walk through and have a look . We are not allowed to eat here?! No. So, let's walk through this park and just get out of the city.
Guess what's there... Oh, a police station? It's kind of the third one. There's literally a police officer standing on every corner. So, this is the place where people fly in with helicopters and bags full of cash. That's what people do here.
There's much more interesting places all over the world. Right behind the border, probably. In public places there's not even benches, nothing so you would sit down and I don't know, enjoy the view or something. But yeah. On every single corner is a security guard or a policeman, or both. So, probably a great feeling for rich people, but for normal people it's....
it has been some time that I felt so uncomfortable, like here in Monaco, I must say. Okay walking. But here? Is it fine here? Okay. Because we were on the bicycle two meters before the road, the security guard already gave me a sign. He winked with a finger: No, no, no, you don't do this! Don't do this! Oh my gosh, I love this place. And that's our very personal take on the principality of Monaco.
For us it's a one hour reminder where we don't want to be. Oh, yeah. This is France over there. Another police station?! Oh yeah, of course. I mean, there was no police station for at least 500 meters... I guess that's normal. This bridge is the border. Okay, that's very great. I must say, I feel much better already.
Are we in France again? Yes, we're in France again. Last French town. San Remo, 28. There is Italy! It's happening. So, we're still in France, France, France... and Italy! Hello Italy! You could say that.
Crossing a border somehow feels like opening a new book, or at least a new chapter. From the title we already have some expectations and now a whole new world lies right before us. With reaching the Italian Riviera we'll have to make a decision. Since Marseille we had been pondering about our further route.
There would be another way how we can go .... Yes, where we departed from the main road. Either we can go back... No, I don't go back. No way I'm going back!
Okay, then have fun! Bicycle touring is still new to us and naturally we've had our ups and downs. We've found continuous cycling in wet and cold conditions very challenging. We've raced to the coast and around the Alps to get to a warmer climate and we feel a lot better indeed.
Hello, hello, hello! Hello! But, the EuroVelo 8 route is soon turning North over the Alps towards Turin, and later going through the Balkans to Athens, Greece. It's on our bucket list, but climbing to over 2000 m in December is just not something we are looking forward to right now. Weighing our options we are considering giving up the Balkans for the time being, and to follow the Italian Coast further to the South instead. The time to make that choice has come.
Yesterday we've left France where we travelled for one month. And today we are in Italy and camped here for the first night. Our plan is to ...
Reach Genoa as fast as we can. To take the ferry to Sicily, where we hopefully have better weather. I'm now looking forward to new experiences, Italian food is also great obviously, And also warmer weather. I really want warmer weather! So, let's go to Sicily! Yes! The sun is already shining.
We still have some issues with feeling safe in the night, and yesterday the sun was already down, when we eventually settled for this place, at the outskirts of San Remo. In the darkness an unfamiliar area can easily feel a little frightening. Since Marseille we have only had one good night outside.
This is also a major factor for our decision, to jump on a ferry to Sicily. At the end of the day we are traveling to see the world as it is, but also to have an overall good time. Listening inside and checking the weather forecast for Northern Italy this December, we ultimately decided, that right now, we need some Dolce Vita! Wait a second, wait a second. There was something on the ground.
This looks like very healthy cake. Is it still good? I think so. Probably not healthy but, ... Not probably, I mean definitely! Definitely not healthy. But it was for free on the ground. What can you do? I just found our second breakfast on the street.
-Okay?! It's still in the package. Are you kidding me? Perfect. A couple of scooters here. Just a couple.
This is the best olive oil you can buy. -Yes? Yes! The name of this olive is Taggiasca. When you google Taggiasca....
BOOM, this is fantastic! We like strong taste, yes. Toma di Capra?! (goat cheese) I also want to try. That's good. Oh wow, and when you chew it, it gets even stronger, great! Oh wow, great stuff everywhere. Okay, let's have some.
Hello! A bread..... We got a lot of amazing stuff to eat, for today. We spent a lot of money, but what can you do? We are in Italy. So let's continue! Hello! As I'm lacking energy right now, it's time for a little delicious snack, that I found on the street today. So, let's see.
It doesn't look too bad actually.... Pretty soft. It's okay. It's not so bad.
The Italian Riviera is a beauty, just like the French one. But as it's a steep Coast everything is squeezed in between the mountains and the Sea. The hour before the sun goes down we are already looking for an opportunity to put up our tent, but there are people everywhere. Let me introduce you to our place for the second night in Italy. We had some difficulties to find a space, where we could put our tent.
As you can see, it was already pretty dark when we got lucky. We even found this carpet to put below our tent, so it will be a little bit warmer, a bit more comfortable. There was also some broken glass on the floor, so this won't matter anymore. We can have our bicycles in the back. We will put the tent here. Arev is going to be the chef for the night. We'll do some potatoes with a lot of garlic.
We can do this here, covered by the tent. So nobody can see the shine of the fire. And what Arev also found here under the trash. This is perfect! We will put it on the bicycles. The traffic will see this and hopefully keep a little bit more distance. This is great! We wanted to get this anyways to try it and yeah, now we have it. Perfect!
I was a little bit scared going up that hill from the sea, because when we came around the corner I only saw the gate and thought: okay, let's let's hope that it's not closed. Obviously, the gate is closed. Properly. Oh, not really.
No, it's not! It's not. It's open. It's just a decoy. Are you kidding me? -Oh, no. Okay, well. Anyhow. There would have been a way easier than this, but what can you do.
But it looks really convincing, right? We're trying our distant keeping for the first time today. And I would say it works pretty fine! Cars hold considerably more distance to us, which is a great feeling! That's amazing! Perfect solution. Nope, nope. Let's stop here.
Stop, stop, stop! My dear, the gate will come down now! Wow! This Italian driving style... Wow! It's going down, I don't care! I want to go here, okay?! But she did it. She made it in the last moment. Okay. So, this is the difference between me, German, and other people. Probably, I don't know. I see the light and the blinking and the bell and I'm like, okay, okay, let's stop now! Wow! Right when I thought there is no train coming.
Okay. We thoroughly enjoy the pace of bicycle travel. It enables us to see things that we would miss, if we would dash along the road like in a car.
On a bicycle we are completely exposed to our surroundings. That is not always easy, but it's also wonderful, as we never know what surprise awaits us next... -Hello?! Hello, hello! Wow! Were are you going? Right now to Savona, today. And then Genoa and then we take a ferry to Sicily. Wow! Hello! Hello! So, where are you from and where are you going? We are going to Greece! To Greece? You too, nice. We are from France. Yes, okay! We just went through France from Germany and then Sicily and ... oh you are many people!
Yes I know. That's great, yeah! We are also now going to Italy, but we will take a shortcut with the ferry to Sicily and then from Sicily we go to Greece, Turkey and then.... Oh, maybe we see each other in Greece! Yes! Let's go! See you, see you! Bye, bye! Unfortunately our encounter with this wild bunch of cyclists was of a brief nature. They had an intoxicating amount of energy and we would have loved to share part of our way with them, but it wasn't meant to be, at least for today. We needed a lunch break and they didn't. Them being gone, as suddenly as they had showed up, was kind of a sobering moment for us.
We start to miss the sense of community we get from our friends and family. Fortunately we are invited to stay with the sole Warmshowers on the Italian Riviera. We are closing in on Savona and yet another extraordinary hosting experience. This is Warmshowers travellers heaven! No, no, don't show this! *chuckling* 5 star home! Show them the big empty living room! Yes, it's huge! And the bed sheets that you folded yesterday. Yes, I'm proud of that.
No, I mean Laura is really busy, because she is basically hosting everyone who applies. So, wow! Laura! She's an amazing person. Yes, and also we met this French couple. Hi! From Brittany. They do much more kilometers than we do. In the same time. So, don't tell anyone! We are lazy you know, but we are old, they are young, so they have more energy obviously. Right?
Also, today we go to Genoa together with them. There we will meet another cycling couple from Spain. They also stayed with Laura, obviously and maybe we will all spend Christmas in Sicily together. With another Spanish couple and a dog and well who knows? So, Laura. What was the amount of people you hosted earlier this week, like this week?
This week I don't know. But the amount from June is 206 or 207, something like that. Just so that you understand: it's now in the beginning of December, so... Many cyclists! June, July, August, September, October. So five months. So you're averaging about 40 per month. So, at least 1.3 people per day! *chuckles* The rest is coming tomorrow! Don't come in full size, come in parts. It's easier to handle.
Thanks a lot! Okay, now it's your turn! Can you hold the camera, maybe? Yes, of course! Yeah, my bad. It was so nice to meet you, thank you! Follow with the camera! Just come with the camera! Come, come, come! I can take it. Okay camera needs to put on shoes. Come on, you can go barefoot, it's no problem! Let's go! We just passed this beautiful little Italian town on the coast. I don't even know the name. Shame on me! Arev spotted a small fresh vegetable street market.
We stopped. I safeguard our bicycles and the other people, the French couple, Guillaume and Marit, they're getting some stuff. We also need to buy some breads. So we can have a nice lunch later today. Guys, there you are! There's no bread. No bread here? No. But there are giant cookies, if you want! Anyhow. We will stay under a roof in Genoa today and it's not so far anymore. It's maybe 35 more kms to Genoa.
We made good progress. There's a lot of cyclists on the road. Just met a guy who was like "Great guys!" Great feeling! The people here on the road are much more welcoming, to be honest. We've made it to Genoa. Marit and Guillaume will continue through Northern Italy and the Balkans but we have made our decision final. After one day of rest we'll board the big ship to Sicily. Carmen and Chema, a Spanish couple will be hosting us.
We don't know them yet, but we've been trailing them for almost two weeks now. We hope to convince them to take the ship as well. It's getting close to Christmas and we would love to have a bunch of people around.
A special thanks to Penny Carmichael and Barry Smith for being not only the first ones to support us on a montly basis, via BuyMeACoffee, but also to upgrade their membership to the "One more day" tier! Supporting us via buymeacoffee.com/aworldbiketour is great! We love creating these videos and sharing our story with you! As you might imagine it's a lot of work and costs a lot of money. If you're able to chip in, it will enable us to do this much longer! Thank you and back to the story! And now we are going to the port to take the ferry to Palermo. A 30 minutes ride and we'll be there a little early...
so that we hopefully can board before the cars, and be on our way, find a good spot in the ferry and hopefully everything will work out! So the problem is, we have no idea where we need to go to take the ferry... I don't know. The description was not very helpful and uh The road signs are not helpful at all, so bear with us, that we find the right spot to embark on the ferry. Because I have no idea where it is. Maybe it's here, I don't know. Let's hope it's here.
Let's see here. Yes, Passenger Terminal! Okay, let's go then! Ah, there is the check-in. Thanks.
What do you need, sorry? Ticket! Dock number 5. Thanks! Those are the numbers. Palermo! I can speak English a little bit. Not very good but, .... His mother is English. My mother is English, but the son is a ... ... is a donkey! So, we are about to embark on the ferry. Very, very soon.
Thanks! The fumes of the cars are horrible. We take the stuff that we need with us. We packed accordingly and will now exit the garage or whatever this is called. We'll try to find a nice place to spend the night, because it's going to be a long trip through the night. Now it's about 8:30 PM. The ship will hopefully sail at 11 PM.
Through the whole night, it's about 20 hours and 30 minutes to Palermo. And yeah, let's find a place! Another first for us. It is actually fairly straightforward, even with bicycles. We booked the most affordable category available, the economy Pullman seat for 65 Euros each. I think we need to go up one more.
Sorry, we have booked sofas. Sleeping chairs, one more level? *speaks Italian* Yes, the skydeck. How do we get there? *more Italian* This way? Okay, thanks! So, this is the skydeck. Okay, it's like a huge plane.
For us though the ferry turns out to be quite convenient and we are happy about the longer ride. Now this ship will catapult us 800 kilometers to Palermo in under a day. We are excited, but also a little anxious, as we got used to a gradual change of our surroundings.
Sicily! Most of what we know is from the movies, but soon we will find out for ourselves. We just got the promotion offer: donut and espresso for two Euros. Actually it's the smallest donuts and the shortest espresso I've seen so far in my life.
Well, you should see Arev's face now. What can I do? It was so small! Sorry! Also a little fun fact: this is the pool bar. The pool is over there, there's no water in it, and they made the whole pool area into a smoking lounge. It feels a little bit like we are moved back in time. We're sitting here in the...
I guess the main bar of this big ship. We are pretty much alone. All the interior is really old. From the design and also the state the ship's in I would guess it's minimum 30 years old maybe even older.
It seems to be pretty empty. Sadly we did not find this place earlier, because this would have been more comfortable. There was a lot of snoring and very bright light. It was really annoying. There was a security guard, he made his round through the ship. He saw us, he was very kind, because he didn't immediately throw us out, but he came back 5 minutes later, and now we're back in the area where we stayed the night. There's a lot of light, also a lot of noise, because of TV.
But it was a nice rest for two hours. You can support the creation of our videos via https://www.buymeacoffee.com/aworldbiketour In the next episode of our Amazing World Bike Tour we will cycle around this Infamous Island and not just the two of us! And I'm gonna make you an offer that you can't refuse! We'll upload the next video as soon as this one reaches 500 likes. Just press the button!
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