BACK ON THE SADDLE
Today we followed mostly the Bikeline guide instructions. Leaving Mantova was a bit of an adventure as at some point the EV8 was indicated to the left and Bikeline’s road was straight ahead.
As we’ve mentioned before, the road indications haven’t been that consistent, so we decided to follow the guide. After going south straight from Mantova, we got to the crossing of Viale Fratelli Cervi and Via Parenza Bassa. From there we took the Via Parenza Bassa and then Via di Mezzo southwards all the way to the Po, around Boccadiganda. From there, we simply followed the Argine next to the Po.
The EV8 route, on the other hand, seems to take you eastwards through the fields of Parenza and probably going south progressively until you get to the Po somewhere around San Nicolò Po.
We have to clarify that today we were following the left bank of the Po, while the ‘official’ EV8 follows rather the right bank crossing at Ostiglia. In our case we decided to go past Ostiglia and spend the night at Melara were we had booked a lovely B&B. After Ostiglia there are still a couple of bridges, so we will probably cross at Castelnovo Bariano.
OSTELLO DEI CONCARI
While cycling through Governolo, we saw a sign that said ‘Bed. Bike. Coffee.’ which immediately got our attention, so we followed it.
After a couple of meters we saw the building of the Ostello and decided make a 30min pause and get a coffee. In the end coffee became lunch and the 30min became 2h, including a 30min siesta under the trees.
The Ostello is a small cycling haven with some 25 beds, a restaurant and a bike rental service. The Albergo is perfect for cyclists as it sells spare parts and has a toolkit you can use. We discussed with Nicola, the manager, who explained it is a project in part sponsored by the EU and is part of the whole VenTo efforts in the region.
Nicola is very serious in his work and, a cyclist himself, he can guide you to the best spots and routes around. Don’t hesitate to ask, as they have plenty guide books, so if you need any help, check them. He even read our minds and allowed us to put a water bottle in the fridge while we ate.
The Ostello is right at the converging point between the EV7 and EV8, between the Mincio and the Po. Without knowing the region, we think this could be a good departing point for some interesting day trips around the region.
Melara was a nice surprise for us. We bought some food at a supermarket in Ostiglia, as there are seemingly no stores in Melara, and we made a picnic in the garden of our hotel, accompanied by the two house pets.
After our dinner we decided to go out for a walk. To our surprise, there was plenty of life for the size of the town: all three bars were crowded and there was even a live music concert in one of them.
During our walk we went to the Argine street, to see it by night and take a look at the Po. Unsurprisingly the Po was invisible to us, but there was a popular local football match that we enjoyed watching for a while with the people of the village.
IN A NUTSHELL
- 64km cycled
- New cyclist hostel added to our to-stay list
- 0 shades on the Argine to cover from the sun
You can follow all the routes we followed on: