Day 12 - Porto San Paolo (Sardinia) to Sarteano (Tuscany)

Rome - 204 miles

I wake up at five to be on the road at six, just to be on the safe side. I've seen horrendous traffic the day before at 8 pm and I don't want to get stuck. Unfortunately, the road is clear and I arrive easily an hour before the ferry actually arrives and unloads.

Most of the day is spent on the ferry, which has spacious and comfortable rooms. The ship is modern and feels like a cruise liner (although I've never been on one). I recharge my batteries (both literally and metaphorically) and get some excellent rest in my own, private cabin.

After getting to shore I race to Rome, which I see in about 30 minutes -- Vatican, Coliseum and Roman ruins, not to mention getting lost heading in the wrong direction because I temporarily forgot that the sun sets in the West, not the East.

I get off the highway in Tuscany, hoping the spend the following day riding nice little roads from my trustworthy ADAC map. Having lost my highway ticket at a rest stop I am charged the maximum amount by a disagreeable attendant, which I curse profusely in my head, together with all Italians. As I set up my tent and go to sleep, I try not to think about the disheartening experience, but I cannot forget that for the first time, the annoyed glare actually had a price tag on it.