Siena to Toscana 84km
To Lucca 38km
To Sarvana 80km
The focus of my trip has changed somewhat. At the moment I seem to be "cycle meandering" rather than cycle touring. My daily km average has plummeted. Most nights are spent in plush (for me) accommodation. Meals are eaten at fancy resturants. There's wine on the table every night. When walking though the ancient cities, I hang out in the "shopping areas" rather than the back alleys. I'm also hanging out, outside churches...... To tell the truth, I am very much enjoying the change, because every moment is being shared with my wonderful wife. A guy in a cycle shop in Rome said to me...." Mr, if you've got a wife who cycles with you, you are a very lucky man." I've got to agree. I'm a very lucky, and relaxed, and happy man.
I do still ask questions though (in my head)...."Why do you have to go into so many shops?" "Because they're different from home." "Really." " Do we have to visit so many churches." "No, just most of them...." " But this city, Lucca, surrounded by 3km of wall, has 33 churches......" "Yep, but they're all different..... and not like those at home." "Okay, I'll sit here in the sun, and watch all the good looking Italian women walking past...." I'm happy.
When I was in Istanbul, and other cities in Central Asia, I was astounded at the number of mosques..... on every corner. Here in Italy, I'm astounded at how many churches there are..... once again, on every corner. It just goes to show how tight a grip religion has had on people, in all parts of the world, for such a long time.
Siena and Lucca, walled cities, both have over 30 churches within their walls.
The kms may have dropped, (we seem to find reasons to stop every three or four kms..... photo, too hot, too cold, navigation, but the cycling still has lots of Wow factor. We are riding through amazing villages, beneath huge churches and castles on hills, through amazingly green fields, and past colourful stands of trees and bush, and more often than not, on quiet winding roads......
Today, Saturday, we were greeted all day, by groups of cyclists out training. Then we turn down a straight road, between ploughed fields. Every 200m to 300m, there is a woman, sitting on a stool. It's a coolish, blustery day, with a storm threatening. There's a bit of traffic, but not much. There are no trucks, it's Saturday. What the heck are these women doing? This is not a bus route. There are no train tracks. They are not trying to hitch a ride. They have no vehicles or bicycles. There are no crops for them to guard, and no birds for them to scare away. Hmmmm. Mystery.
Woohooo. Also today, we reached the western coast of Italy, which means I've cycled across the while country. I get to add another "sea" to my visited list.... the twenty-first, the Ligurian Sea. Woohooo. There is a huge Carnival happening here on the coast. A rather rude security guard informs us..."Closed", as we try to cycle down the cycle track. But oh dear, the weather is turning. Woohooo. We are cycling with a very strong tail wind. We venture out on to a pier, in the very strong wind. The Ligurian Sea is smashing it. It's scarey standing above the huge unruly surf, but there are guys out surfing it, and having a ball kite surfing. Woohooo. A huge thunder and lightening storm catches us. We try to shelter, but I'm soaked. Ju is not so bad, and is very happy with her new waterproof Endura shorts. Woohooo. We arrive in Savarna, meet Nicholas, our Warmshowers host, and luxuriate in a warm shower, and lovely company. Oh my though. It's a very late night. Will I get Ju out of bed in the morning?
I'm very much enjoying this "holiday".