Bake me a cake and light the candles. I've survived two weeks.
I was going to blog about the Uffizi gallery which I spent 3 and a half hours digging through yesterday, but I'll bet you'd rather hear about my bike trip through the hills of Tuscany.
|No photography allowed in the Uffizi... You didn't see this picture.|
My second night in the hostel, I moved to a new room and met some new folks. One girl told me that she was traveling Europe on bike. I told her that I was super jealous. She introduced herself as Kirstie, from the UK. When said she was going to take a bike trip around the hills of Tuscany tomorrow, I said I'd love to come along. Two days ago Hamid gave me use of his bike so what good fortune that I met up with this two wheeled road warrior.
|Enjoying some chocolate and a view.|
The next morning, three of us set out, peddling up into the hills. We made quite the troupe. Sarah didn't have a lot of biking experience, Kirstie was the weathered wayfarer, and I rocked a one speed city bike. Up, up, up we went.
|The girls loved my camera's auto timer.|
|Photoshop's photomerge feature really puts the view into perspective.|
Sarah rented a bike from a spot nearby our hostel. They proved to be incredibly helpful. The man behind the counter gave us a map, suggestions, and even raised my seat for me. He had a good laugh when I told him that I was exploring the mountains on a one speed. "You will sweat your soul," he laughed.
|Kirstie had the most useful map holder for her bike.|
|I wish I could print my own postcards!|
Our first destination was the town of Fiesole. A beautiful town that overlooks Florence where wealthy Florentines love to vacation. The man at the bike shop said this would be the most difficult part of the terrain. The phrase "Don't worry, this is the most difficult part" soon became a joke. We needed something to keep us laughing…
|Sarah on the left, Kirstie on the right.|
|Up close to the hill towns I saw on the train ride.|
|I wouldn't mind living here.|
|Sarah spoke Italian and was in charge of asking for directions.|
|Fields of olive trees. They tasted awful.|
|"This is the hardest part."|
|Keep on peddling.|
|"THIS IS THE HARDEST PART"|
While triumphed over every hill we climbed, whenever we turned a corner, there was more. Always more. We tackled the steepest hill right before lunch. It looked nearly vertical. The pictures do not do it justice. I laughed the whole way up "Don't worry, this is the hardest part," I think the girls nearly killed me. We found out later that this monster was 18% grade. Much steeper and I think the asphalt would run back down hill as they were paving the road. I reckoned that I could produce nearly the same torque as the average European car.
|Can you imagine living here?|
|Each town more charming than the next.|
|"This is the hardest part" (it really was)|
We biked through town after town. After 4 hours of climbing we had a picnic style lunch on a hilltop. It was magnificent. The rolling hills of Tuscany are the perfect compliment to open faced tomato and basil sandwiches. As we cleaned up from lunch, we hoped the "hardest part" was behind us.
|This is where we ate lunch.|
|Getting back on the road.|
The gods smiled upon us and soon after lunch we found the road which would bring us back to Florence. Thankfully it was down hill.
|Look at those signs. What a nice road.|
We sped, screaming back to Florence. I hit 28 mph. That was fast enough for me.
|Duomo descends into darkness.|
After a 26 km trek, we got back to the hostel and celebrated with a trip to the sauna and two bottles of wine. A day to remember (and blog about).
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