Cagliari, Sardinia > Rome, Italy
Distance: 280 miles
The beginning of the end, today we would arrive in Rome – having completed almost two-and-a-half thousand miles over eight days. Feeling refreshed after a good night’s sleep at sea, it was all hands on deck to prepare the bikes ready for our final push in to the capital city.
We had about three hundred kilometres to cover along the coastal road which would lead us to Rome. Myself and Adam Roberts jumped on to the back of Roberto and Charlie’s bikes as we exited Naples.
I was super impressed with everybody as they navigated the ridiculous traffic as an eleven strong unit. The local driving etiquette seemed to be, ride or drive as aggressively as you can and if you were slowed down in any way, beep your horn furiously while shouting like a mad man/woman. It was terrifying but a hell of a lot of fun as well.
Safely out of the city and in to the countryside we had a small motorway stint before we hit the coastal road. Having had no breakfast on the boat I was longing for us to stop at every mozzarella and pizza place we passed. Although some of the areas we rode through reminded of a third world country, full of rundown buildings and covered in graffiti – Roberto assured me that despite the dilapidated appearance, I wouldn’t be able to find a bad pizza joint there if I tried.
We ended up stopping about thirty minutes up the road at a mozzarella shop/deli and we were served the most amazing caprese salad I’ve ever had in my life. I also bought half a kilo of the most tasty and amazing olives I’ve ever had in my life to bring back home.
Refuelled and ready for the last hundred kilometres we hit the road, now in our flattering high vis vests to pick us out in Rome traffic.
Roberto took the lead as our Roman team member and we made our way in to the city through the financial district until in the distance, the Basillica could be seen high above the cityscape.
As we passed under the aquaduct we officially passed in to the old part of Rome and famous and familiar landmarks began to pop up left right and centre.
As we weaved through the traffic (which was far easier than Naples) we came out on a long straight road, at the end of which lay the monument which would mark the end of our trip – The Coliseum.
As we approached, horns tooting and cheering from beneath our helmets, passersby stopped and watched us pull in to the side of the road and hop off the bikes – high fives and hugs all around. Everybody was elated to have completed the Epic Tour and even though I’ve not ridden the route, I have spent a whole lot of hours and experienced the journeys and shared their elation.
In eight days we’ve gone from a group of strangers from across Europe to a group of friends sharing an amazing experience together. There have been language barriers between most of us, but through the universal language of motorbikes we share a common passion and that has allowed us to thoroughly enjoy each other’s company on this journey across ten countries, to the top of the highest mountains and across oceans. I feel very proud to have been a part of this trip and am very much looking forward to taking my CBR600 to some of the roads we’ve ridden over the past week and try them out for myself.
I’m going to sign off now, we’re about to go to our wrap dinner in a swanky “concept” restaurant in the old part of the city. Time to go and spend time with my new friends.