We rolled out of Mantova emboldened with the success of following a simple line on a map from the previous days riding. And we were reassured on the way, that yes, we were going exactly the right way. But when asphalt turns to dirt, then forks and turns to single track, you begin to wonder. And we wondered a lot back and forth along the path until someone said (in Italian, but we'll translate) "yes, you need to go downhill to the left, along the narrow path". Now riding downhill on singletrack fully loaded was certainly not on the days agenda, but it was exhilarating, and soon enough we were rolling through bucolic woods on our way to the argine. Very grateful for all of the assistance we had that day.
Ostiglia is a sleepy town that does not see that many tourists. At least not at the time we were there. So with a little negotiation, we ended up in a boutique hotel at bicyclists rates! We loved it, especially Julia! And we went to the same mom and pop pizza joint both nights. They were thrilled to see us a second time.
Then there was the inevitable conversation. Goes something like:
Tomas - " I have an idea"
Julia - "uh-oh, what is that"
Tomas - " well if we take the train tomorrow to Bologna, we will have ridden the Po from Milan to Ostiglia. And Ostiglia is really not a destination. But Ferrara is! And all we have to do is cross the Po, turn left, ride along the argine and it takes us straight to Ferrara, not one turn".
Julia - "Are you sure"
Tomas - "yes, I did a short test ride today"
Julia - "are you sure you're sure"
Tomas - "yep"
Julia - "OK but let's hope you are right!"