We were extremely excited to be entering Italy. A place close to both our hearts, mainly as we got married here in 2008. But considering this, neither of us had travelled extensively here and I had never been to the south. It was into more familiar territory – a part of Europe close to home, food we were used to eating, a language we could almost understand. We were happy to be in Italy and the six plus weeks we spent there definitely did not disappoint us.
April 2nd to 8th. 368km
It’s hard not to like Florence. Sure, it’s expensive and touristy, but a real pleasure to walk around and explore, with beautiful buildings and piazzas down every alley. We had a really nice few days catching up with Suzi and soaking up a bit of culture. We even went to an art gallery! Well, Clare and Suzi did. I stayed in the hostel to do some work on the bikes. On our last day, we had prosecco and cornetti beside the river (if only all cycling days started like that!) then went our separate ways – Suzi to the airport, us to the north into the hills.
March 23rd to 29th. 330km
Well rested from a very lazy day off in Montopoli, we set off late for a short afternoon of cycling. With the benefit of Google Streetview/Earth, we’d scoped out a place to camp next to a river not too far away. It turned out to be mostly downhill from Monotopoli in the hills, so we arrived with the sun still high in the sky. Luckily we were well hidden from the road so we were able to get the tent up and chill next to the river for a couple of hours before we made some dinner. A grand total of 22km on the clock for the day. We didn’t sleep that well, thanks to dogs barking through the night. It seems like wherever we camp, no matter how far away from houses or farms, we almost always hear dogs barking. Who knows where they come from, but once one starts, all the dogs for miles around join in.