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Old 01-16-2009, 08:49 PM   #99
V@lentino OP
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Joined: Sep 2008
Location: Vankouver
Oddometer: 815
Entering Tuscany

June 3,

We left the province of Veneto, and the city of Padova after a couple of days resting and visiting the beautiful Venice, then Padu, and Treviso.






We have been lucky with the weather, it’s perfect for ridding. Hopefully it will hold for a little while. Even if the weatherman's predictions do not seem to be on our side.



Next stop is the walled city of Lucca, just for one night, we found a really nice B&B our first Tuscan stop, after a ride through the most famous arched city in the world - Bologna.





We had wonderful pasta at a roadside restaurant, and chatted up with some Italian bikers on fancy looking Ducs who had a lot of questions about the ST, and the bufala (buffalo in Italian) on the license plate. (Manitoba plates have a buffalo on them). It was quite fun to explained where we had been, and where we were going. When they asked us if we had flown the ST over from Canada, it reminded me of another traveling tale of long ago.

The roads were glorious


Nice and curvy smooth as silk



Pure joy.




And more.


Quaint little village, the first of many to come.


And so the story goes a bit like this:
Working for the airline industry you do a lot of travel, and surprisingly enough to those that are not familiar with the industry, a lot of this traveling is done by car. This is mostly due to the fact that airline companies have the recurrent habit of going bankrupt, and before you know it, the quest for your next jobs takes you on the road again. Where am I going with all of this? Well back to our Tuscan bikers, and their questions about our trip, and our plate.

I have crossed Canada many times from East to West and back, seeking that ever-elusive airline jobs. For the longest time my car was plated from Quebec (the province only requires one plate in the back). So in the front I had placed a Hawaii plate with the prodigal slogan of the islands: “ALOHA”, I was then asked countless times by as many countless people: “But... but... how d’you get the car in the boat?”

I am unsure what the fascination is with plates from a foreign land, but they seem to instigate as much conversation as the last team to qualify for the Euro cup, or this time of year the Super bowl.

From this


To this



Ok, ok! Enough about plates, and back to Tuscany. We left Lucca around 10:00 (sorry not many pics of the city the 3 batteries of the camera were dead).

View from the room of the B&B



A short hour drive true rolling hills with twisties galore, was a great start to what would be a wonderful day.






Since we have now ridden over 8500 km, I thought it would be time for ST to get an oil change, so the original plan was to drop her at the Honda spa that stands a stone throwaway from the leaning tower of Pisa, spend a few hours at the monuments around the oblique tower, pick up ST, and head to our second Tuscan stop, Heart of Tuscany, a hostel in the middle of an olive grove, some 10 km from the sleepy village of Lamporeccio, where we would relax for a few days. Once again thanks to lastminute.com.




What a great morning ride this was.


Well, so that plan did not work, three of the mechanics at the shop where out with the flu, and the boss would be alone for at least the next three or four or days, funny how its always the boss that’s left alone. So instead of getting its fluid changed ST also got to see the leaning tower of Pisa.



And what a site it was.



And I do mean a site, although I could also say what a sight it was.




It's the lean to look at the leaning tower picture.



The phrase “Piazza dei Miracoli” (the Miracle Square) coined by Gabriele D’Annunzio, epitomizes the amazement and admiration that for centuries have seized those who, upon passing through the gateway of the circle of walls from via San Maria, embrace in one single glance the pure whiteness of the monuments, with its leaning tower rising over the lush green of the turf. One is also amazed by the unique isolation of the group of monuments.





The large walled area where the sacred buildings rise is actually on the edges of town, in the northwestern corner. Jackie and Valentino were quite impressed, and ST was beside herself.



That Valentino dood is so slick.



As I climb the 300 steps to the bell tower, I could not help but ponder on the millions if not billions of feet that have done the same before me. There are actually deep rounded grooves in the white marble steps formed by years, and years of trampling.



It was phenomenal, so many amazing things to see in the world and so little time to do it.



The tower of Pisa was absolutely amazing.


Plus, you do get that funny feeling due to the angle on the south facade, of going down as you walk up the steps, and going up as you walk down the steps. Sounds confusing?

View from the top:

The Cathedral



The Bell



Pisa to the left.



And Pisa to the right.




We then rewarded ourselves with a chocolate and pistachio gelato from a Gelateria propria (home made).

Well in very short that was Pisa. We got back on ST, she was especially frisky from having been included in the visit, and quickly made our way via some more twisties to the Heart of Tuscany.



Ciao Pisa molto gracie



The way to our villa.




And the view from the balcony.




Tomorrow I think we have a date with Firenze...
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