Ermanno has been working at the Westlandpeppers webshop for the past year, when he studied in Delft. When we heard of his adventurous plan to discover South America by bike, we wanted to share his story about this extraordinary continent. Via this blog you can follow his journey and adventures! Updates will folow soon!
Blog 2 13-10-2021
From home to the sea.
The wind makes the flysheet of my tend going crazy as I try to focus on the small keyboard of my smartphone. At least my body feels relaxed: I just spent my first rest day on a white beach near Montpellier. After crossing the Alps, the encounter with the sea was abrupt: suddenly my sight could wander freely and for once it felt like I had nowhere else to go. Reaching this milestone indicates the proper moment to catch up with some writing and show some places!
First day's on the road
I left my parents' house alone as everyone was gone that morning. Maybe it was for the best as it gave me the time to really appreciate the moment. Unfortunately it also gave me the time to build up some nervosism: I had been preparing for over a year but I realized I had no idea of what was coming. Would I even like cycling that much? Up to that moment I had never gone further than some 40 kilometers ... This feeling obsessed me for the first 120 km until I finally found a good camping spot near the Certosa di Pavia. It was a troublesome night as my imagination played around with every noise I heard in the distance.
Certosa di Pavia
Pavia, Ponte Coperto
I spent the second day following the Po river. It was hard to notice any progress: farms, grainfields and villages looped through my eyes without much distinction. The scenery finally changed as I reached the hills of Monferrato! I slowly tackled the first ascends and rewarded myself with all the grapes and other fruit that late September still had to offer. After a moral trial, headed by myself as the only judge, I decided that I feel ethically entitled to "try" all growing food I can find along my way.
Vineyards and castles
Luckily I had a good old friend waiting in Torino, I spent some days in the Susa valley at her place and also met again my Chilean host brother who happened to be nearby!
Crossing the Alpes
Happy and grateful, I thought I was ready to conquer my first mountain range. I lost some animo when I found my path blocked by the military: I wasn't allowed to proceed and got no explanation whatsoever … lost some good hours trying to find another way. Luckily I ran into some good company on my way to Montgenevre! I saw another cycling tourer and we decided to share some of the road. His name is Andi, from Bavaria, he left his job and apartment at home and is now cycling Europe for a year!
Andi and his kart descending into France
Morning views in the Hautes-Alpes
The following days were amazing. As we travelled togheter through the Hautes-Alpes, Andi tough me to take some time off the bike. We woke up for early for a sunrise on the Lac de Serre-Ponçon and shared some good beers at night. Those same nights became pretty cold as I was only carrying a three-season sleeping bag … Fortunately Decathlon seems to exist in every corner of France, therefore I currently spend my nights imbedded in a double- sleeping bag cacoon. Works fine until you have to pee at night …
Andi and I separated entering the Provence region. I missed his company but was also happy to be on my own again. I was splitting my time between the necessary cycling, stopping at every boulangerie for a pain ou chocolat and reading Harari's Homo Deus. I've always loved reading but university had kept me for too long on the boring stuff. I finally have the time to read, understand and develop my own thoughts and arguments. Quick tip: an e- reader is the most amazing thing ever.
The last couple days I was confronted with many empty costal villages. As most tourist leave those places start acquiring some spooky traits. I was very happy when I finally reached the immense beach of Espiguette. Nothing but sand, dunes and some nudist for miles. I took my time to load up again, store some heat in my bones and got all my gear full of sand as a lovely bonus. Can't wait to reach the Pyrenees, till then!
Blog 1 - 27-09-2021
My name is Ermanno, I’m 22 years old and have dedicated a good portion of the past three years fantasizing about this journey. I have had the luck of being borned and raised in what I consider a beautiful corner of Italy, just in between the Po valley and the Orobie mountains. Those have been the playground of many hiking trips and taught me to love the great outdoors. When I turned 17, I got the chance to spend a year in the south of Chile as an exchange student. The people I met and the landscapes I got to enjoy left me obsessed with Latin America. That obsession grew even larger during my time at university in the Netherlands: I was constantly trying to figure out when and how to return. I was dreaming of hiking the continent or even following the steps of the “Che” and his motorbike. At last I was introduced to bike touring and fell in love with the idea of being self sufficient while moving with muscle-power alone. As three years of engineering had told me, I started searching for answers on YouTube. I grew confident of the feasibility and began planning.
I’m glad for the chance of teaming up with Westlandpeppers to provide this travel blog. I’m definitely no Shakespere but I am excited to bring you alongside my two-wheeled journey! I sincerely hope this will help people at home to discover something new about the continent I love and maybe get inspired to take off on your own adventure. This will be the story of a bike tourer without any previous bike experience: I’m basically a nooby with very optimistic world views.
So what’s the plan? I want to finally return to Chile, get down to Patagonia and then follow the Andes to the North. I hope to reach Ecuador or even Colombia but time will tell how far I can get. My main focuses are the journey and lifestyle: I want to allow myself to have the time to spend where I feel I could learn something and not just endlessly grind kilometers on my saddle. I hereby introduce you to my lovely companion on this journey: a Fuji Touring Disk LTD.
Unfortunately the current pandemic isn’t very friendly to intercontinental trips. Chile’s borders are still closed and I had to quickly reinvent myself. As my flight to Santiago de Chile is rescheduled to late November, I will take you along my journey to the Atlantic ocean. I hope to enjoy the last shy remains of the European summer while cycling to Portugal. Updates will follow soon! It’s finally time to depart.