Day 17 Nearly Perfect

Start point: Pisa, Italy

End point: Florence, Italy

Miles: 49

Key words: picturesque, floating, Energade, risotto, David, camping

From a cycling perspective, Pisa is an idyllic city. Easy to cycle into, easy to cycle out of, embraced by open stretches of countryside, and its iconic tower greets you on approach. We exited the city with ease as the streets felt especially quiet, likely because many Pisani were sleeping in after the previous night’s festivities.

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Back in the beautiful countryside surrounding Pisa

It was a nearly perfect day for cycling. The sun was gentle and a playful tailwind accompanied us for most of the day. It felt like we were not so much cycling as floating from Pisa to Florence.

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One of those days where you want to take a photo every other moment

Stopped for our daily beverage break in a small town hopeful that the local grocery store would have Powerade or Gatorade. They had both, in addition to the South African version “Enerade”.

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Energade! It’s got what cyclists neeeed

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Favorite bike stand of the trip… at said grocery store

For lunch we popped into a small resto-pizzeria and were greated by our enthusiastic waiter Luka. We satiated our appetites with delicious risottos (one pear gorgonzola, the one radiccio gorgonzola) and answered Luka’s questions about our trip. He rubbed his round chin as he surmised our plot and asked about logistics in a way that was both friendly and fatherly. As we left he belted out a warm and heartfelt “good luck!” that made us wish we didn’t have to leave. I heard him bragging to other customers about our adventure until he was no longer in earshot.

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Rustic Italian beauty

The rest of our day carried on until we neared Florence, or should I say Firenze. The streets became more hectic and the cobblestones commenced. Although these were less of cobble “stones” and more of bike-jarring cobble “boulders”. We wound our way through these streets until suddenly the road were on began to climb drastically. We threw our bikes in low gear and worked our way up the steep road. At one point the road became so steep I felt my front tire raise slightly off the ground and felt my heart race. I definitely did not need to flip over backwards on this road! We soldiered on and soon found ourselves in Piazzale Michaelangelo, gazing down upon the beautiful Florence city scape guarded over by a replica of the statue David. It was a beautiful end to a beautiful cycle.

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At the Piazzale Michaelangelo

While we oohed and ahhed at the cityscape before us a nice tourist offered to take our picture. “I’m a cyclist too,” he confided, “nice bikes” he said, while steadying my camera for the perfect shot. Then we were off to check out our lodgings, aka the first night spent in a tent this trip.

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Taking in the beauty of Florence

Total miles so far: 708

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