San Gimignano and Firenze - day 7April 18, 2019 in Italy ⋅ ⛅ 16 °C
Our day started with focaccia from the campsite restaurant with scrumptious tomatoes – why do they always taste better in Italy? - and doing our washing (I was down to my last pair of sox and knickers (just in case anyone wanted to know!). Then we got on our bikes, and headed back to San Gimignano. We went the long way up the hill, and managed to bike all the way. This time we remembered our bike locks, so chained them to a tree, and walked into the town. Jodie found a stunning wine glass in a ceramic shop – they had the most beautiful ceramic table tops. Then we found the markets, and got a wee bit carried away – who could go past pure linen tops for 10 euros? Not us, that’s for sure. We had to check out by midday, so didn’t spend quite as long in the markets as we would have liked, but that was probably a good thing. The ride back to the campsite was lovely again – biking around here certainly perks me up. Then it was up to Nico to carry us away again.
Next stop was Pams supermarket again in Poggibonsi. We wanted to get some levelling blocks for Nico, but the shop next to Pams had lunch from 1 to 3.30 and was closed, so we lost our enthusiasm and went on our way after getting a clothes drying rack, washing bucket and some still water. We have a really good garage in Nico, the 2 bikes fit in easily if we want, and found today that we could leave an entire drying rack up. That will make drying clothes a bit easier. Then we set off for Lucca which is meant to be amazing.
The drive went quite smoothly until we met our first toll station. I had warned Jody that these weren’t always plain sailing, but I don’t think she was mentally prepared for the trauma. We elected to choose the lane to pay by card, and that’s when the fun started. It wasn’t really that clear where to put the ticket, so Jody put in her credit card first. Then a man’s voice came over the intercom basically saying ‘what are you doing!’. Jody asked him if he spoke English, and the answer was no. But he managed to give a bit of help, and she managed to get the ticket in a place that just looked like a box to me, and then put credit card in the same box and then the gate opened. Needless to say at the next toll gate we chose the cash option, and there was a person sitting in the booth who could have helped us if we had problems. We did notice the wind a bit – Nico is pretty high and large in front with the luton, so hopefully we won’t be driving on any really windy days.
While we were driving both of us lost our sense of direction, and wondered where the GPS was taking us – it felt like we were going closer to Florence than Lucca. So we stopped to check the GPS, and it was taking us on main highways, but yes we were going close to Florence. Never one to look a gift horse in the mouth, we both decided that we loved Florence, and as we were so close then maybe we should stay there for the night, so we did!
We got to our pitch about 3.45, and there was a shuttle into the city at 4.30. That was about the time I realised that I must have left my sunglasses somewhere, as they were nowhere to be found. But we put the washing in the sun for a while, got our bags ready, and were on time for the shuttle. It was fun walking around Firenze, and I got to see my favourite places. The lindt shop beside the Duomo is always easy to find, and we had a gelato there as well just taking in the lovely view. Just such an amazing structure. We had looked in a few shops for bags and jackets on the way, but I had in mind the road full of shops where they make their own jackets. When we found that road, I went into 1 shop and found a really nice jacket there for 150 euros. I asked him to keep hold of it and I might be back. Then I went to the next shop, and found the perfect jacket – similar to the style of my red one at home. The listed price was 445 euros. But by the time he had convinced Jody to get one as well, we paid 320 euros for 2 jackets. We were both very pleased with our purchases, and put them on straight away as it had got a bit cooler.
Then it was off to Mercato for dinner. That is a bit like the Stables in Auckland, but much bigger, and much noisier. I have figured out why I like Italians so much. It is because they are never reserved, and larger than life. Earlier today we were in a shop, and the older man and woman were having an argument very loudly across the shop. A middleage man then asked them to ssssh, which they totally ignored. Then he started saying something like customers in the shop, but they still ignored that. I think it was their son, and found it hilarious. There is always something loud going on. We had a lovely meal of Tuscan stew with roasted potatoes and grilled veges. We shared the 3 plates which was plenty for both of us. After dinner we tried to catch a taxi, but ended up walking to the train station where there was a long line of people waiting. I then googled it cos there was something in my memory banks – and yes, you can’t flag down taxis in Italy, good to know.
So now back in Nico at 10pm preparing for bed. We don’t have to check out tomorrow until 2pm, so plan to bike the 5kms into Firenze for breakfast. I mentioned biking up to Fiesole, and Jody thought she could be quite good support crew, ie waiting at the bottom for me to come back down and to take a video. After that we hope to get to Lucca! Being Easter weekend we are a bit concerned about finding a campground with a vacancy.Read more