Peter & Nickie's 2012 European Bike Trip travel blog

bridges on river arno Florence

views from the hills above florence

more views



awaiting train to Faenza

a hill village

dinner with Ale's family


Views from Ale's home


Under the Tuscan sunset

Monday 9/7/12 cycle to San Pietro a Sieve 30ks trains to Ancona

Pete was sooo slow getting packed up today, so Nickie left him to it and had Coffee and croissant at the camp café. Pete eventually turned up and we got to talking with a Canadian couple who are motorcycling in Italy, they told of some beautiful, unspoiled, non-touristic little villages they have visited …. Of delicious meals, of spending afternoons at centuries old family run wineries, they just oozed with the enjoyment of it all….we looked at their amazing photos!....Nickie had a moment of motorcycle envy!!! …no huffing and puffing up hills for them, I bet they don’t get uncomfortable crinkles in their cycle shorts, ….yeah, Nickie has got her motorcycle licence and she is going to do a tour oneday, Pete won’t want to come cos a motor would be too easy. “Ready Nickie??” says Pete……daydream over and back to reality. Garmin , (bless her )had us weaving left and right and going the wrong way on one way streets heading north out of Florence, …Pete has her set on “avoid traffic”….which is a bit unrealistic in a city!! Wouldn’t be surprised if one day we end up underground in the storm-water system…. So when we end up taking a very narrow alleyway between houses, then having to wait for the barrier arm to lift up at a train track, and the route turns into 2ks of steep, rocky, grassy , 2 metre wide walkway…we realise she thinks we are pedestrians!! One friend refers to her husband’s Garmin as “his Mistress”, because she believes Garmin is trying to “kill her”. Nickie agrees it’s very frustrating when Peter wants to put their fate in Garmins “hands”. The climb is challenging but the scenery is so worth it. We get picnic stuff at the little town of San Pietro a Sieve and have a sandwich at the platform. Nickie can just make sense of the announcement that the train is “ritardo trente minuti” … 30 mins late…so we wait….but then we see it pull up at another platform…. Mad dash with bikes down the subway steps and up the other side….its not funny watching the other passengers laughing at us!! The scenery through the steep valley is very beautiful and we pass through many tunnels. We made a train change at Faenza, with only a few minutes to spare, Nickie dashed for the tickets while Pete Illegally wheeled the bikes over the tracks . The train was packed and the AC not working, so we endured a stuffy 2 hours via Rimini and then along the coast. It was cruel seeing people out swimming in the sea and we were swimming in sweat on vinyl seats. Ale and her dad were waiting for us at the station at Ancona. We enjoyed some special Italian dishes, and a 1994 sicilian red wine , dining outdoors under the trees. The neighbours joined us for icecream and we shared info about our families and lives. We learned that we are very privileged to have the choice and opportunity to have long leave and travel…Rosita (Ale’s mum) explained that the typical Italian employer would not allow extended leave and that if you left a job, the chance to be re-employed at the same level or salary is almost nil, it would be too risky a career move to quit a job in the current economic situation. The sunset turned the golden blonde wheatfields a warm rose gold colour. The setting was right out of the movie… “Under the Tuscan sun” Bliss.

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