This would be our last day of riding for this trip. We had reservations in Venice (Mestre) for this night and for a flight out to London the next day. It was around 100 miles if we rode the entire distance, so we decided to use the trains again to cover much of the distance.
The customary hotel breakfast was consumed in the dining room at the rear of the hotel, complete with a great view of the lake. After breakfast we took our time getting on the road. We made our way back to SS11 and headed east towards Verona. We continued on the main highway, enduring moderate traffic, through Castelnuovo del Garda to the junction with Via Platano where we made a right turn onto the quieter road. We rode quickly to the town of San Giorgio in Salici, a modest hill climb, then down into the valley east of town following the railroad tracks among the vineyards. We had another modest climb into Sona where we stopped to make a modest withdrawal from a Bancomat before continuing on to Lugagnano. We made our way into the outskirts of Verona, having to follow a couple of detours. On the edge of Verona we found a beautiful field of sunflowers which we photographed before continuing into the center of the city, a return to the Adige river.
Verona is a busy city, and like most old Italian cities the layout is almost like a wheel radiating from a hub. We took a few wrong turns before arriving at the church of St. John (Chiesa San Giovanni). There was a restaurant across from the church so we grabbed lunch then looked around the church before heading off to the train station. On the way to the train station we passed through the main square of the town (the hub), noting that props for some theatrical production, heavily emphasizing ancient Egypt, filled most of the piazza. The old roman coliseum was surrounded by scaffolding, an apparent restoration project in progress.
The train station in Verona, Porto Nuovo, was the most modern we encountered, to date, in Italy. Sarah wandered off to get tickets while I perused the schedule and watched the bikes. Getting back to Venice was tougher than anticipated: only a couple of the numerous trains from Verona to Venice allow bikes and only one that afternoon, a train from Munich. When Sarah returned we made our way to the proper platform and waited... and waited ... and waited. The train is a different configuration than which we had encountered so far; bikes go in a baggage car at the rear and I had to climb up about 4 feet without a step to get into the car to hang the bike in the rack. The next two cars were first class, and we had a second class ticket so we squeezed through the crowded cars forward to the cheaper seats. Once we got to second class section we found the cars were over-full and had to stand out in the non air-conditioned entryway along with three students from Wisconsin on a post high school tour of Europe. We stood out there talking to the trio for about an hour, from Verona through Vicenza and on to Padova (Padua). In Padova enough folks exited that the three students and Sarah were able to score seats, and I was able to stand in the air-conditioned compartment. From Padova to Mestre was a fast, 20 minutes or so, trip. At Mestre we got off and ran down to the baggage car to retrieve the bikes.
From the station to the hotel was a two minute walk and roll. At the Hotel Bologna we were greeted by a very Germanic clerk who insisted no bikes in the hotel. I explained that we would be packing the bikes, so he allowed us into a hot, cramped un-used conference room in the back of the hotel for this task. It took a bit over an hour to get both bikes packed and ready for travel. With bike packing out of the way we cleaned up and headed out for our last dinner in Italy, at least as far as this trip was concerned. We returned to the same bar where we ate the second night of the trip, and celebrated with a splurge bottle of Pinot Grigio.