The ride south from Comacchio - a canal town that sits on the edge of a large, brackish lagoon - to Ravenna was relatively easy. Cycling south around the edge of the lagoon and across cyclepaths built on dikes between the lagoons and canals was a great way to see the wildlife up close. There were remnants of abondoned and flooded out brick buildings that the brackish water had reclaimed over the centuries standing partially submerged in the mud. And it was full of birds - feeding on fish and water creatures and insects, - including a huge flock of resident flamingos.Sadly the flamingos did not cooperate to come close enough to pose, but here are some other photos of this gorgeous area.Comacchio, Italy canalsFishing shacks with large nets lined the lagoonRiding several miles across a narrow dike between a canal and the lagoon made for slow going and required dodging thistles and eating a few bugs but was incredibly beautiful
Unloading mesh bags of musselsThe fishermen looked tired. Of course they had probably been up most of the night and were still unloading their catch mid-morning.I’m on a small boardwalk that lines the canal leading to the Adriatic in Porto Garibaldi - a town on the Adriatic coast. I’m spending my day exploring the lido’s (beaches) and up the coast from Comacchio. I’m pretty sure I've already happened upon the most interesting thing I’ll see all day and I’m only 5 km into my route. One boat has mussels in large mesh bags. They are being loaded onto a conveyor belt to get them off the boat and onto the dock and then unloaded - stacked neatly like cord wood – onto wooden pallets. These mussels were most likely sold on the dock at auction just after dawn when the boat rolled in from a night of fishing. They will go into a refrigerated truck to be shipped out to grace pastas around Italy.Another boat has fish where the catch is being packed down in ice onto pallets in Styrofoam containers. Refrigerated trucks are waiting to haul the fish away.Another had what looks like sardines.Packing fishA woman on a small boat is direct selling to customers. She uses a hand scale that looks like it could be from the last century to demonstrate the weight of the fish. Then she guts each fish and weighs it again. I think the couple agrees to pay for the price without guts along with other seafood they carry out.I saw exactly what went into last night's dinner being unloaded onto those docks. Mostly bottom feeding sea life from the fertile salt marshes – heads, bones and all. But combined they made for a wonderful Zuppe de Pesche (Cioppino).It’s a market that’s been happening for centuries.