San Gimignano to Marina di Bibonna to Biodola–Cycling Day 3&4

15 09 2017

I am convinced that “moderate” means something different in Italian than in English.  The trip from San Gimignano to Marina di Bibbona is labelled as moderate, I’d call it difficult. I don’t think there was a flat spot in the entire day, we were either climbing,  or pushing the bike up a hill, or totally praying for a safe descent!

In our entire trip across Canada,  we only had 2 hills that defeated us and had us walking up a hill,  yesterday there were 4! in one day!

And for the first time we went down a hill lined with stuffed bags to cushion any falls that might happen.

I have a new appreciation for European bike races like the “tour de france”.

But the views!  Absolutely spectacular and can not be captured by a camera,  especially not a cell phone.

If you look closely, you can see a city on top of the hill, we came from there!

I am pleased to say we only got slightly lost once and got excellent directions from a very helpful, young Italian man.

When we finally got to our destination,  the room was ready, the ocean was close and we finished the day,  sipping wine,  watching the sun go down at the beach, while eating supper.

The next day,  Friday,  was easier riding and rated “easy”. Most of it was flat as we’re down by the coast. The highlight of the day was the bicycle shop! Somehow, we messed up the gearing on the bike and it was not shifting well. It was also making the most annoying “click, click” noise.  The bicycle mechanic assured us it was not a big problem and sent us off to a coffee shop.  An hour and 5€ later,  it was fixed!

Is it sad that the highlight of the day is a bicycle shop? We are so grateful for good bike mechanics!

Our next stop was the ferry terminal! We thought we did everything right, the ticket seller spoke English, the pier # was very clear on the display board, we showed our ticket to several people, all of whom waved us on. But I really began to worry about whether or not we were going to the right place when the boat left 23 minutes early! Turns out we were, but who leaves 23 minutes early!

Travelling with our tandem, crew never seems to know whether we are pedestrians or a vehicle.

We reached the Isle of Elba with only 7.5 km of riding, it should have been easy,  it wasn’t.  First we had to navigate a city,  then a 4 km long hill, finally the steepest downhill we’ve ever attempted. Full credit to Ken for managing to brake enough that we made it and didn’t even crash into the foyer of the hotel!
The plan for tomorrow is a loop ride of the island, but I think we’ll make it a beach day instead.  We’re also hoping to find a taxi to get us to the top of the hill when we’re ready to leave on Sunday!

Dinner at the hotel, topped off by a lovely piece of pie. I’ve never seen currants offered as part of dessert in a restaurant!

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