Day 25 – Rosetto di Abruzzi to Torino di Sangra Maria

I tried sneaking out of the campsite early, but the owner caught me by the bar. ‘I was going to the office to pay, honest!’ was my excuse, but it was only €10, which is not bad.

Fairly boring days cycling. After 30km or so I thought I’d go to the beach. Mistake. I’ve watched on TV as Ray Mears has got a 4×4 stuck in sand less powdery than this. If he can do it, what chance did I have. Four thin wheels, and only one drive wheel meant I stood no chance in the sand. I dragged the whole lot to the beach, didn’t go in, then dragged it all back again.

After 65km I saw a sign to a ‘Cimetro Inglese’, so thought I’d have a look. I was reassured enough by the offiial Commonwealth War Graves Commission sign to slog up a ridiculously steep hill. What I found was the Sangro River Cemetary, the loveliest and most moving war cemetary I’ve been to so far. The entrance is on a hill top, and the cemetary in a horseshoe shape just below in the curve of the valley. Over to one side you can see the Adriatic. There are over 2000 graves, and a memorial to Indian troops cremated rather than buried. Reading the messages on head stones such as “how could you die, without saying goodbye”, “to live on in our hearts forever is not to die”, and finally “we miss you big brother” on a grave for an 18 year old was so moving I was at one point reduced to tears, and just sat and wept at the ridiculous sacrifice made by millions in wars. Whenever the trip becomes ‘too hard’ I will think of the millions who have given their lives for their country (as one message in France said, “they gave their yeterday for our today”), who endured unbelievable hardship, and remember that I’m just on a jolly cycle ride for a while.

After 75km I came across a ‘camping village’. Turns out itwas more like Butlins, so I carried on a bit further to find a proper campsite.

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