We are in Ferrara, and as I wrote earlier today, it’s lovely. We saw how lovely all day today from the perspective of a bicycle seat. Well, three bicycle seats.
(Snapchatting away while they were back inside the apartment taking a short break. amywelborn2 on the Snapchats thing)
We rented bikes from this shop – nice people. I would say it’s in walking distance from our apartment (hey, I just did…), but everything in the city walls is withing walking distance of everything else. The woman and man who were there didn’t speak English, so she called her son (I think) who did, and who went over everything with me on the phone to make sure I understood the terms – 7E/bike for all day. Not bad!
We started out riding on the old city walls (Lucca is another place in Italy where you can do this) and then moved into the town itself.
You know how bicyclists in the US are always griping about bike lanes? Well, there are no bike lanes in Ferrara, no one wears helmets, at any given time there are as many if not more bikes than cars on a stretch of road, people ride bikes carrying pizzas, with kids on the front or back, with a dog on a leash trotting beside, with a dog in their lap, texting (that’s the most impressive/frightening), men in suits carrying briefcases and big bunches of flowers, old women and men, women in heels, and all the time bikes and cars are sharing the road just fine.
It’s astonishing. I’ve never been in a place with so many bikes. It’s fantastic.
By the way, while many babies ride on seats mounted on the back, even more popular, it seems, is a seat in front of the rider with a windshield affixed to the handlebars. I’ll try to get a photo at some point. It makes sense.
I’ll admit I was a little nervous in the traffic, not so much for myself, but for my sons, but they did fine. Fairly early on, my older son’s bike developed a flat rear tire, so we just popped back by the shop and they replaced it.
— 4 —
We made a few stops. We spent some time going through the Este castle, which stands right in the middle of town, still surrounded by a moat. We got some food, we went through a couple of shops, including Tiger, which became a favorite in Madrid – it’s like a cross between Ikea and Dollar General. This also got our attention.
We went into the Cathedral, the ceiling of which must be in danger of falling because most of it was covered with netting.
— 5 —
This is some of the graffiti in the prison room. The right hand photos are of ceilings in various rooms of the castle. The tissue-like paper is holding cracks together. I don’t know if they have plans or funds to restore before the whole thing starts falling apart. The top photo is from one of the game rooms – the paintings are of Greek-Roman games – wrestling, etc. The bottom right is of a huge mirror positioned so that you can study the ceiling paintings without getting vertigo.
We rode and rode, back up on another section of the walls. I think we got the bikes about 11 and returned them around 6. So that was a full day.
Later, my younger son and I took a walk up to the spot where the palio will be held on Sunday. I didn’t take photos – but it’s a large, oval shaped piazza. The sand is laid down and hoofprints told us that practices had been occurring.
Food today: lunch was foccaccia-type pizza slices from this bakery, eaten standing up on a side street with our bikes leaning against a wall. Dinner was salami, speck and mortadella from the salumentari/grocer a few doors down, cheese and bread from another grocery, and melon. And later, some gelato.
Tomorrow…Ravenna, I hope.
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