Wednesday, 23 March 2016

A trip to Sabaudia - day 2: Rome to Sabaudia (Wednesday)

Set alarm for 6:50, intending to run before b'fast. Wake then, look at windows, see it as grey, and go back to sleep. Rinse+repeat, and get down to b'fast at 8:15 to find others already there. It turns out, as I really knew, that my drapes plus curtains plus windows plus shutters look out to an inner courtyard through scaffolding and masonry, and are thus always grey no matter the state of the day. Buffet is decent but unexciting, except for the yoghurt machine which is exciting. Plenty of coffee anyway.

After: go for a run! Of course. This time take a little more care with route, and route finding, and go somewhat more slowly. Start off by heading E to the green blob which turns out to be a park / tree-covered hill about 1 km in circumference; run round it, and from there it is just a little way to the river. Then a nice long loop along the river - forced off briefly when the bank runs out - and see a couple of tents / cardboard shelters under bridges. But mostly quiet. This time go onto the island and run all around it, then back quasi-direct via Trajan's column and Vic Emma; 11 km. That then gives me just enough time to cool down, shower and pack in time for our advertised 11 o'clock departure.

By this time we've picked up Anne and her son Joe and his bike; and James and Amy who made the trip down by train. Aim to catch bus, from railway station, but its rammed, so get taxis instead, which are a E30 flat-rate, quite cheap with five in. Traffic jams, but get there well in time so coffee+sandwich, Simon E and Lorraine find us, and Lewis, so we're now complete. Now all we need is the 16-seater Dan hired to get us to Sabaudia and... its here. Of we go; takes about 1:30 with rain in the latter half, still better now that later. And so to our hotel, La Palme. A quick unpack and then dinner, which is pasta with a subtle trick: the pasta is only the first course, there is a second course of chicken, but I'm full so refuse that. Then fruit.

After a false start we troupe (or do we troop?) off down to the lake, which is say 10 mins walk away. There's a rowing club, with a fairly small building - men's and women's loo and changing and showers, office, gym - and a large grassed area for boats, no inside storage, even most of the blades are left outside. Many of the boats are visiting, there are many sculls and doubles / pairs and a quad or two from the Ukrainian national squad, and some from Egypt. Find an "OUWBC were 'ere" sticker. There's our VIII, which is indeed an Empacher, looking slightly unloved - it clearly hasn't been out in a while. The hull is good, the inside acceptable - except there is no speaker wiring. WTF? Well, we'll do without for the moment. Also all the footplate adjustment nuts are actual hex nuts, not wing nuts, so require a rigger jigger to change. Weird. But with the cobwebs removed and the slides smoothed down we're ready to go: Dan stroke, me 7, Amy, Simon L, Lewis, Brian, Amanda and Anne at bow; with Will coxing. James T is supposed to be coaching from the launch but has wandered off to be shown the lake; he later shows up with Chris on board and they watch us, getting quite close but keeping the wash off us.

Its pretty good: the shell is fine, we're rowing quite nicely, the lake is calm and clear, and the experience is novel. After we turn and come back we have a view of the coastal mountain chain which is beautiful. About 7 km in total. Meanwhile, Keith and Simon E have gone out in a double, we need to work out outing-sharing in some fair manner. Some folks hang behind to do ergs, the perverts; Chris and I head back to shower+rest before dinner at 7:30. Which turns out to be... pasta! With tiny lobsters. And again its a trick: there is fish to follow, which I refuse. I do have some salad though. Followed by pineapple. Followed by the bar, and a coffee, and a long round of staring at the video from the launch. Which is really very good: much better than from-the-bank or even the GoPro on a tripod. I'm almost finally convinced about over-reaching, and can clearly see me breaking the elbow early. And the late legs. Lots to see!

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