Friday, May 8, 2009
A Bike Ride through Tuscany
First off, it is 4am in the morning here and I cannot sleep so I decided I would post a blog since it really has been too long for those of you who follow us. So I hope you get as excited reading this current blog post as much as I am just in thinking about what to say!
This Friday (May 8) Meg, Lizard and I all decided to do this Tuscan Bike Tour that we heard tremendous things about. We met this morning at 9.50 am on the bridge just upstream of the Ponte Vechhio. As we approached the meeting spot we immediately realized that this was more of a tour for young married couples, rather than three single (obviously not Meg, but get the picture) college students. All together there were about twenty of us, and as eager as everyone was for this tour, we quickly became acquainted with the other group members...which made the trip just as much, if not more fun.
So from the bridge we took a 30 minute bus ride through the hills of Chianti surrounding Firenze, to our meeting point at a 12th century Castello(castle). At the castle we were given a brief history of the castle, a tour on how they make there wines and oilve oil (which the current Count and Countess have been doing since their first ancestors built the castle), and then we were given samples of their wines and oils (which were superb by the way!). Once we finished the tour we all were fitted for our bikes and prepared to set out on our 25km bike ride through the Tuscan Valley.
Now one key thing to note as I describe our tour this afternoon, is that the three tour guides/ owners and instigators of the tour were so much fun! The two guys were Scottish brothers and the girl is in her late twenties, from California and went to CU Boulder! They were all young and hilarious! The guys were probably as much fun for us as we were for them, since as I mentioned before, this tour typically draws the married and coupled crowd! The chemistry of the entire group including the instructors was like that of a camp! Everyone acted like they had known each other for years, as we cracked jokes with each other and played off other peoples comments...the people in itself were just so much fun! The Scottish brothers (Rolin and Andy) were so so so cute and hilarious...you probably assumed that I was thinking that as you started this paragraph so I might as well be as open as I always am and straight up admit my yet again attraction towards the opposite sex of two upper-twenties Scotsmen (can you blame me?!) Anyways...
The bike ride was absolutely, positively gorgeous!! It was a perfectly clear, blue, sunny day at about 75 degrees at the hottest! I honestly cannot put into words the beauty of the Tuscan valley, (if you have seen it you can understand me on this one)but it is literally breathtaking! The first part of our ride was relatively easy, mostly downhill or flat. And as we coasted through the hills, my senses went into ecstasy overdrive! You know the feeling you get when you smell something beautiful? Like the reason we open every scent of Yankee Candle and smell it as long as it appears new to our senses, and the reason we specifically make a lap through Bath and Body Works just so we can engulf ourselves in the richness of the scents...well welcome to Tuscany in the Spring. Every plant is rich in blossom, I literally would get alternating scents of lavender, chamomile, roses, honeysuckle...it was so unbelievable unreal! Sorry that is a lot of description but again please understand my excitement of this tour!!...
So our next stop was at a family owned Ristorante were we had a full course of salad, wine, bread, appetizers, entree, cappuccino, and dessert! So in typical Italian tradition, the meal was not lite, even in the midst of an active day. So after lunch we hopped back onto our bikes for a 25 minute coast to our dreaded location--the base of the half-mile hill. Now let me give you a bit of preface on this hill. When we were looking at reviews for this tour online, every single person mentioned how remarkable the tour was but how dreadful, terrifying, and upsetting this uphill stretch was. People were remarking on their pretty terrific weekly physical activity and how it was too difficult of a climb for even them to handle. However, in our young and sprightly attitudes towards life, we decided we wanted to take the challenge of the hill instead of jumping into the van with the 15 other people. PAIN would be a good word to describe it. I was praying the whole time that CAD had not caught up to me enough that my heart would spontaneously burst from my chest, because at the rate it was going...it was a bit frightening! But I am proud to say that Meg and I rode up the whole way! It was a bonus reaching the top of the hill and being affirmed by the two Scotts that we were in the top of the very small percentage of people who have been able to do it...as they said to Meg and I "So it's not just beauty you have to offer, eh?" Clearly as you can imagine, I blushed for a good five minutes afterward! So at this point Meg and I were feeling pretty good about ourselves in spite of our shaking legs.
After the hill we had about a fifteen minute stretch to our ending point back at the castle. It was so so much fun...we ended around 5pm and we felt like we had just gotten started! We were so sad to say goodbye to everyone, but I can confidently say that this tour was by far my favorite thing I have done while being abroad. All of the dynamics of the day made it one that I will undoubtedly remember and cherish for the rest of my life! I hope I didn't bore you too much with such a lengthy post...until next time!!