Week 11 – Italy Nth – Pt2

Sunday 9th to Saturday 15th June

Orvieto, Cortona, Florence, LeVanto, Aosta

Sunday 09/06/19 – Lay Day; Orvieto

Well it appears we’ve arrived in town on the biggest weekend of the year.  The place is packed. We had a bo-peep around town.

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And descended and ascended to 500 steps of the old water cistern.

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The event is Orvieto in Fiore (Orvieto in bloom) and finishes with the Palombella holiday celebration, when the city is filled with flowers and horticultural exhibits and local craftsman booths. It seems everyone decorates their properties.

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They have bands playing and much noise and celebrations, culminating with a pageant in the Piazza 20m from our room. It’s a medieval re-enactment of some sort with costumes and dancing then finishing with a cross bow competition. Those guys were pretty accurate from 30m with those old weapons.

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Monday 10/06/19 – Ride Day; Orvieto to Cortona

After another ‘all day’ breakfast we were on the road early. And it was a gorgeous day to be traveling Tuscany’s hidden back roads with spectacular views and a steady parade of hill top and valley towns. Viceno, Centeno, Abbadia San Salvatore, Pescina and Piagge all tempted us.

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before we stopped to lunch on a huge punnet of fresh strawberries in Montalcino.

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Then it was on through more wonderful vistas via Pienza to Montepulciano where we got gloriously lost and ended up as far as the road and lanes went, but which didn’t go far enough so we did a U turn and retraced our track. I’ve got the video of it 😨 Norma’s laughing about it now,  but …..

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And so to Cortona which is my pick of the hill top towns we’ve stayed at. You can walk from one wall to the other in under 10 minutes if you don’t get delayed by some charm or another.

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We bought panini and dined sitting on the high church steps while remembering other places and times. I could go back there.

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This was a good day among a lot of other good days. 175klms.

Day 39 175k

Tuesday 11/06/19 – Ride Day; Cortona to Florence

Another tranquil Tuscan day that was threatening to heat up so we were on the road early.

First stop was Arezzo where we’d been told to visit the Piazza Grande. What we hadn’t been told was the hazard of getting there through a maze of one way streets that seemed to get ever narrower, steeper and rougher before spitting us out into this.

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And we had it all to ourselves, which is understandable considering how difficult it was to find. We spent a quiet hour here before moving on to meet the Melbourne Blackmores via Skype at Bibbiena. It’s always great to talk to family. “When are you coming home? You’ve been gone FOREVER”.

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So on to our Agriturismo 4klms outside of Florence.

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It had been a leisurely 120klms for the day.

Day 40 125k

Wednesday 12/06/19 – Lay Day; Florence

After an entertaining and sumptuous breakfast complete with liqueur ‘for the day ahead’ according to Giuseppe our host, we caught the #23 bus into Florence, where we came across what seemed like most of the rest of Europe. It was Florence Fashion Week. Good timing. We did what tourists do.

First of all we climbed all those steps to get the best views of town. Mmm, too much cake.

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Then joined the crowds. Not that these pics show too many people because if you wait for the right shot…

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Now here’s where I have a pet beef. Why is it that people take forever to take a picture on their mobile phone and then stand right THERE and look at it, right in the middle of the footpath, road, gutter or wherever else they’ve taken the space, time and picture from. Completely oblivious to anyone else. MOVE ON. Admire it, edit it, critique it somewhere else.  Good grief.

Florence is quite impressive although we didn’t join the cues.

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Thursday 13/06/19 – Ride Day; Florence to LeVanto

A long hot day chasing the roads less travelled over the mountains. We could have used the freeway but that twisted tarmac is so inviting. Besides which there was hardly a vehicle on the roads we rode, but so many cyclists. We stopped occasionally to hydrate and carbonate 😀 And took a couple of pics of the glorious surrounds.

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We stopped at Lucca for lunch and had a gander at this church. That bloke in the glass case is St Davido (I think) and he’s been dead for something like 1100 years. Makes me wonder.

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265klms for the day which is a long day on those roads through that country in over 30c.

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Day 41 265k

Friday 14/06/19 – Lay Day; LeVanto

We caught the boat to Monterosso to buy Roman’s present and have a coffee overlooking the beach. 5 down, 1 to go. Who’s idea was it to buy presents for Grandies? We’ve spent the entire trip looking for things that are small enough to carry yet are significant enough to matter, not to mention the cost. The saddest part is that I’m the one mainly at fault. We should wait until we get home and just visit Myers 😂

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We then caught the train back to LeVanto which is through a tunnel the entire way.

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We spent the afternoon on the beach, and in the evening joined the locals as they danced in the town square. Oh, and it’s Friday, and we know what that means.

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Saturday 15/06/19 – Ride Day; LeVanto Aosta

Today was a 330klm day and a lot of that climbing from the sea level to the higher plains so for the first time we’ve taken to the freeways in a big way, 200klms and cost €22 in tolls, but worth it. The final 40klms we did on a B road and it was a lovely ride as we entered the southern part of the Italian, Swiss or French Alps, and they are spectacular.

No pics today but right now there’s a war of thunder happening in the mountains up behind where we’re staying. Tomorrow we start the final stage of this wonderful journey.

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4 thoughts on “Week 11 – Italy Nth – Pt2”

  1. We arrived in Paris Tuesday this week, here until 2nd July staying in Montmartre. Text if you’re in the area. You seem to be having a ball.

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    1. Hi John. You behave yourself in Montmartre 😊 We’re not going to make Paris. Cutting across Southern France to the west coast then follow that to Roscoff then UK. Plane home 12th July. Enjoy yourselves.

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