Our trip was awesome, what can I say? I did the blog update once when I had a half-decent wifi connection one day (which was rare). There's a picture of me typing that last blog post here on my podcast website.
We rode two more days after that last post, and then took the night train to Florence. The train was fun and we paid a little extra to have our own two-person sleeping compartment. We slept well and arrived in Florence at about 8am. We left our bags at the train station and wandered around the city until the afternoon when we could check into our hotel/B&B, then we went back out to tour some more. We climbed up 463 steps to the top of the famous Duomo (below is a picture of me at the top) and had a nice dinner in the Piazza Republica complete with Italian music, and a merry-go-round. Italy was just as hot as France, over 100F every day.
The next morning, we picked up our rental car, a little Fiat Panda, and headed out onto the CRAZY Italian roads. It was nuts trying to figure out the road signs and the traffic circle exits without a city map, and we came within an inch (literally) of an accident within 5 minutes of being in the car. Erik was an excellent driver though, and after about half an hour of crazy highway driving, we managed to find a side road that took us to Pisa.
Again, we had no city map, and for some reason I had just imagined that Pisa would be a small town and the tower would be obvious. After a while of aimless driving in town, we parked and headed off to find someone to give us directions. It turned out we were only 3-4 blocks away so off we went to see the famous Leaning Tower of Pisa. It was pretty amazing to be there in person and see something so well-known.
It was well over 100F though so we grabbed some cheap pizza and headed back to the car. By now, it was getting late in the afternoon and we realized there was NO way we'd get to Cinque Terre so we sadly, we had to bypass that plan (next time...) and we got back on the highway.
Somehow we found our way to our B&B, (but not before we got lost in Poggibonsi), and we were soon checked into our lovely suite.
The place was amazing with a gorgeous view of the rolling Tuscan hills and the beautiful town of San Gimignano in the distance.
We relaxed for awhile, then drove 1km down the road to have dinner in a lovely little Italian restaurant.
The next day, we drove through the Chianti region to Castellini and had another nice lunch, and then back to the B&B to laze by the huge pool and have one final, fabulous meal in Tuscany.
In the morning, we had leave early to get back to Florence in time to drop the car off before 10:30 and catch our train to Rome at 11:30. Although it was supposed to be a 35 minute drive, it took us close to 2 hours including time getting lost and time stuck in road construction.
The train to Rome only took 1.5 hours and we were soon checked into our very nice, clean hotel close to the train station, which was chosen for a quick morning getaway to the airport. Soon we were doing a walking tour of Rome - first stop the Colloseum! It actually brought tears to my eyes to turn the corner and see that building in the distance. We took a lot of pictures, then headed off through some ancient areas to find Trevi Fountain. It was so incredibly hot that I began to get heat exhaustion at this point. My fingers were swelling and I was dizzy so I was lucky to find a kiosk with gatorade and I rested in the shade for a bit. From there, we tried to find shadier streets and eventually we got to the famous fountain where I was able to cool off a little.
We continued our wandering back to the hotel, taking in the site as we went and then relaxed in the lovely a/c for awhile before having our final Italian meal at a nearby cafe. The nex morning, we took the train to the airport and did the mandatory 3 hour wait before taking off at 2pm. Because we had a stopover in Barcelona, it was a 14 hour flight so we arrived in Vancouver too late to catch a flight home so we didn't arrive home until noon the next day.
As much as I LOVED our trip, it was wonderful to be home again, sleeping in my own bed, eating familiar food, and speaking English. :)
I have a 10 minute slideshow of our trip highlights on youtube if you want to check them out. The resolution's not great but you'll get the idea.
So - what's up with training and racing you ask?
Check in tomorrow when I have time to do another blog update. :)
or listen to my podcast!