SENSORY OVERLOAD in the very best way possible!!!!
I just got home from a 12 mile bike tour through the Chiante region. I met three friends at one of the bridges over the Arno this morning where a rickety old (totally american) looking red van picked us up and we were off! To our delight, no one else had signed up for the tour today! Our guide, David, was from COLORADO!!!! there is just something about meeting people from your state. You feel connected, you can refer to Palisade peaches, the hot springs, and Colfax and they are right there with you. He had started his tour business on an "i don't know what to do with my life after college" trip to Italy.
The drive up was spectacular and i knew i was in for a memorable day. We got our bikes, helmets and took off. i am totally embarrased to admit that i hadn't been on a mountain bike in a few months and was a little shakey. I even tripped off the bike at the first rock :(
P.S. the weather was incredible! The sky could not have been more blue. I think it's finally jacket, not coat weather!
We rode for a bit and stopped at a stunning winery where we toured the cellars and the house where Machiavelli wrote the prince. The views of the surrounding villas and vineyards were unreal. We had a wine and olive oil tasting (all winerys also make olive oil.) of a Chiante Classico and Chiante Reserve. SO wonderful. Antico Ristorante in Sant' Andrea in Percussiva. Gosh, i'm turning into such a wino slash food and wine critic. We rode a few more miles to lunch! We ate at a very nice lunch at the (name to come) . I had a garlic/pepper pasta and the most incredible pear/chocolate/custard/pie desert. It gave me chills. The wait staff was wonderful and let us into their cellars!
The next nine miles was breathtaking, through the vineyards and open spaces, looking over villas and natural open area. There is such diversity in the vegetation, cyprus trees right next to olive tree groves. I got such a good workout and came to sad realizations about how out of shape i have become here (MOTIVATION to fix this!). We stopped at a cafe after a long uphill, sweaty but beautiful journey. After we finished our all-day trek, i wasn't ready to leave. I can't believe i almost didn't do this!
We stopped at an American World War II cemetery/memorial. GO HERE! my camera died. But it was beautiful and deeply moving. 4,407 (i think) men died and are buried here. It is so green well manicured. Not going to lie, i started crying here. reading lists of names. i'm sure they had girlfriends, wives, moms. to think that they died in this country that is so rich with beauty and history. it's unbelievable, so powerful. To think that we would ever be ungrateful americans...
today was so peaceful. i needed that. good for my soul. God is beautiful, can you believe He created this? He is so diverse. This is the Tuscany that I wanted to see. I would rather do this than go to the Academia. Is that bad?
bicycletuscany.com ask for David. you will learn A LOT!