Balancing precariously on the cross bar as the boyfriend did the hard work of pedalling (something I didn't do even when svelte and young!), we made the 6km or so into Rovigo town centre and in search of the 'BiciSharing' - a bike sharing programme which purports to give free bicycle hire. Well, 16 people or so do have free bike hire as they have the keys necessary to free the bikes from the stands. What that means is that nobody else can hire a fuschia pink bike and cycle around the town in which most people cycle. We had checked the website only that morning, posters adorned the comune's walls and I was clutching a leaflet provided by the first office we had entered, nowhere did it say 'the scheme is on hold in Rovigo due to poor management.'
What this meant was a long walk home. The basket was laden down with shopping and understandably the boyfriend was running out of steam with all aboard. We stopped for cold piadine at the side of the road, in order to refuel. It was after 1pm, the temperature was around the 39C mark, and little shade was offered from the sun. I had also forgotten my hat.
|The old workhorse did us proud!|
|Taking on much needed energy. |
Birthday lunch at the roadside!
To cut a long story short, by the time we reached the house we were both suffering from the symptoms of heat exhaustion. Shopping was abandoned as we stripped and flung ourselves under a cold shower whilst taking on bottled water. Another kilometre and we could have been in serious trouble. So, please be careful when venturing out in the summer. Take water with you (we had, but not enough), wear a hat, keep in the shade and avoid strenuous exercise or long walks during the hot hours of 11am - 3pm. There is so much to see during summer holidays that the temptation is to overdo it - please be careful!
NHS info on Heat Exhaustion and Heat Stroke
I do like to end on a positive note...we recovered, the BBQ is on, wine is in my glass and we are set for trips to Bologna, Padua and some small towns dotted across the plains of Po. Just don't expect to see this mad Englishwoman out without her hat again!!