Cycling in Tuscany

Trip Start Apr 11, 2012
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Trip End Oct 10, 2012


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Where I stayed
Hostel

Flag of Italy  , Tuscany,
Saturday, June 9, 2012

Five days of riding to get to Florence from Nice for a total of 337 miles. That is kind of a lot for me, and I promise you I was not in a very good mood the last two days. Three days in a row is probably my max, but I couldn't avoid the long distance leg this time. Well, I am sure I could have found a nice place to stop and take a day off, hike, chill on the beach, or something. I am still learning my limits.

The first day out of Nice I went through Monaco and into Italy. Three countries in one day…that’s a first! Lovely coast and the transition into Italy was not very noticeable to be honest. The only difference I noticed right away were the colorful apartment blocks with flowers and drying clothes out on the balconies. A little something I recognize from the movies. I stopped at a campground the first evening and made it out onto a private beach for a swim in the Mediterranean. Unlike California, a lot of beaches in Italy seem to be pay-to-enter, which is a bit of capitalism I am certainly against. Beaches should be free for the public…health care too, but I guess we aren’t there yet on that one.


The third day, I passed through Genoa. The city stretches for twenty miles along the coast, which I didn’t really appreciate. Riding in traffic is NEVER fun with my ball and chain trailer. Still, I was able to see some of the sights in town before pushing on. I don’t think the place is worth a stop though, for it is a rather commercial area and not too pretty. I did find a nice place to eat lunch just outside of the city with a nice view along the coast, so I guess there is always somewhere that looks nice anywhere. Next along the coast was Portofino. It required a slight detour, but I think it was most worth it. Cute, though it almost looks like it was made to be a tourist trap.

The fifth day of riding, I passed through Pisa of "leaning tower of Pisa" fame. Tons of tourists here and everything cost to enter, so I stayed outside…yeah, I’m a cheapo. I bumped into a Dutch guy and his New Zealander girlfriend who were on their tandem doing a tour from London to Israel. Pleasant conversation at first, but the guy started to turn a little Fox News on me when he started talking about America. Apparently there are FEMA camps in the streets and what not. My response to the contrary only resulted in him telling me I didn’t know what I was talking about. Crazy people everywhere…

I did thoroughly enjoy Florence, at least. I'm a little tired of the god-related art everywhere, so the hour-long wait to enter the Uffizi Gallery wasn't really worth it in my book. The obsessive fascination with Mary and baby Jesus was a little creepy even. How about painting some trees in a field for a change? It reminds me a bit of Christian rock. Anytime you restrict the manner in which you can express yourself, everything starts to sound/look the same and also goes a little shitty. Well, that is my little two cents' worth, not that any art aficionado would care what I think :)

Luckily, my hostel was a great place to meet people, and I ended up going out the first night with four guys from Sacramento. The next night was with a large international group of English speakers. Maybe it is the time of year or maybe just the place, but there are a lot more tourists in Italy so far. After France, I do appreciate being able to find English speakers. It’s always the little things, like being able to have a full conversation. I am right at the two month mark in my travels now, and that is $2500 spent in Europe so far. Amazingly, I am spending less on lodging here than I was back in the States. This isn’t a bad way to go.
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Mom on

Portofino and Florence are gorgeous. I love the colors and flowers.

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