From last night's camp at the site of Sabbiadoro, this morning I embarked on the short but pleasant ride north to the city of Syracuse. For part of the way, I took the minor road that stays right on the seashore, and that goes through the scenic area near the resort village of Fontane Bianche; then I cut back to the main SS115 highway, and stopped off at the town of Cassibile. Now, yesterday morning — while passing through the town of Pachino near the southern tip of Sicily — I stocked up on my milk supplies. Sadly, I wasn't able to find any bottles of milk in this small town, so I had to buy a 1L cardboard carton instead. Usually, I only ever buy milk in plastic bottles, with good watertight screw-on lids, so that I can safely shove it in my saddlebag, and use it for several days. However, today I had no bottle — only my cardboard carton, which I'd opened for this morning's breakfast, and of which I'd only used about half of the milk inside. And thus was born the incident with the leaky milk.
I should have just left the milk at the campsite, ridden off, and bought more later. But it seemed such a waste — how could I just abandon ½ a litre of perfectly good, fresh milk? I considered offering it to my friend Jochen: but he was still asleep when I left this morning; and anyway, it didn't seem like a terribly flattering gift, a half-empty cardboard carton of unwanted milk. So, against my beter judgement, I decided to wedge the milk carton in the plastic bucket on the back of my bike — amidst my tent, sleeping bag, sleeping mat, and gas cooker — and to ride off with it. It seemed secure enough: as I rode along, it stayed firmly in place, and the road remained relatively flat and smooth.
Big mistake! When I arrived in Cassibile (about ½ an hour later), I inspected the milk situation — and, surprise surprise, it had leaked everywhere. The carton had gotten too squashed, and a hole had developed in the bottom of it. There was milk all over the bucket, and all over everything else inside it. I found myself faced with a very sticky, very smelly, and very ugly situation.
Anyway, luckily it wasn't too bad: I managed to clean up all the spilled milk within a few minutes; and everything that it spilled onto was reasonably waterproof and protected (e.g. sleeping-bag bag, tent bag). I threw out the evil little cardboard carton, and bought a fresh supply of milk in Cassibile — this time, I bought a bottle. For next time, I've learned my lesson: if you have to buy milk in a carton, then listen to your better judgement — use it for one morning, then leave it! A bit of abandoned milk is infintely preferable to a lot of leaky milk.