We are well and in Florence. We rode past all the main sights of Florence on our biciciletta's this morning...very funny. Matt & I hooning around the streets of Florence on our mountain bikes, full-ladden. Matt was stoked at his navigation when we happened across the Bronze Boar in the Mercato Nuovo, and caught the Ponte Vecchio in the morning mist as we cycled across another Ponte further up the river.
We stayed in our own private house tent last night, supplied by the campground. Unfortunately for me, Matt has discovered a website that shows camping grounds all over Italy!! :o) Although a bit of a rough sleep, they have a great set up with a main bar and market area, internet point, coffee, yummy food and an amazing view over Florence.
I have to confess we are both enjoying the smaller towns, and slower pace of life outside of the big cities. We are due to catch a train in about an hour to head to La Spezia, gateway to Cinque Terre, where we will spend two nights before collecting a hire car and heading to Verbania.
Yesterday we cycled 62k from Siena to Florence. Some thrilling descents and agonising climbs. I am fast learning to stay off the brakes and enjoy the descents, which vary 45-50km/hr, as I know that once the descent is over I must climb up the other side and my quad muscles are hating me for it :o) Those 45-50km-hr descents are somehow made to seem slow when 3 road cyclists fly right by you on their skinny slick tyres...but my "phat" mountain bike tyres just wont go any faster. I've even taken to pedalling as fast and as hard as I can in the big chain wheel when some of the descents open up on a straight stretch, and still I max out at about 50km/h.
We know we must be on a great cycling route, as we have passed many cyclists and also many motorbikes (yesterday, a large group of around 30 touring together). The scenery is amazing, and the motorbikes go full pelt.
On Saturday, we passed on the San Gimignano trip and instead cycled 40km around the Chianti wine region...very beautiful!
We are very much looking forward to getting towards the coast at Cinque Terre. It will be good to stretch the legs and rest the butt and do some hiking...maybe even a swim if the weather allows it.
My stomach can't handle much more bread & pizza. Although we are thoroughly enjoying the food here, we are both starting to crave lighter meals...salads, vegies, chicken & Aussie supermarkets :o) I am kind of maxed out on bread for now....maybe I will change my mind when we get to Paris...??
Thinking of you all, hope you are all well.
Much love Sah & Matt B xoxo