I went to Italy for the first time and it was the right time with the World Expo in Milan. The 4-man trip (Caleb, Jackie, RS) encompassed Milan, Venice, Florence, and Rome. I liked Florence (Firenze) so much I decided to stay by myself there for two more nights while the others went off to Rome-we would rendezvous in Paris. A plug here for Vimeo-I deleted the Firenze video from Vimeo and over a year later, I could not find it anywhere. I emailed Vimeo to see if they have it somewhere and within the hour, they replied saying that the video was restored and at no extra charge.
“LAKE COMO”-First dayride in Italy from Milan to Como. Then from Como I went along Lake Como to Bellagio. After a short ferry ride to Varenna, it was a long train ride back to Milan. At Como, the waiter serving me my coffee said that it’s about 13 km to Bellagio. Then he ducked his head into the cafe and double-checked with his buddy who said probably 15km. I asked if it’s worth riding to and they both said “yes”. It was a tough ride but beautiful. Of course, they were both wrong-it turned out to be 18 km. Along the way, I got stung by a bee on my eyelid which would puff up for the next few days. While at the cafe, the owner and I had a conversation that was comical to start: I wanted to ask questions and I used 1 of 3 Italian phrases to ask her if she spoke english, she said no, then I asked “Francais?” just in case, she said “oui” and we were able to carry the rest of the convo in French.
“MONTESPERTOLI”-I wanted to do a day ride to Piza but did not find sufficient confirmation that the train will allow me to travel with my bike on the return trip. The hotel concierge suggested a ride from Florence to Montespertoli-that the Volteranna Nord is a popular cycling road. It started with a climb out of town then filled with drops and climbs. Enough to make me want to turn back when I kept seeing a drop with a climb in the distance. There were a lot of cyclists on the road but we never got into any conversations. Unfortunately, the video does not justify the beautiful Italian countryside. Side note: just when the road got easy and pleasant to cycle, I started to sing and a bug flew into my mouth and down the windpipe-I was worried it might be a bee and spent the next 15 minutes thinking about my throat swelling up from the inside.
“FIRENZE”-I chose to skip Rome to stay in Florence, not only for how much I liked the city, but it also meant that I can get on my bike more often. I’m glad I did as I saw so much more in a day’s ride. By far, the most cyclists I’ve seen in a city.