Monday, July 7, 2014

Day 29- Siena to Radicofani- 83km

We didn't get the best nights sleep last night. Siena was in the full swing of an Il Palio party with church bells ringing continuously (and I mean continuously....with no stopping!) from 5pm till midnight, drumming, wahooing and parading going on. It sounded like fun, but not for two pilgrims with a big day ahead of them that needed to get up early. And so we got up at 6am and headed out. It's amazing what a day off the bike can do for your legs! I felt like someone had gifted me a new set! So thanks for that whoever you are.

On the way out of Siena
The road to Rome


Bye Siena! You've been fun!

The riding today was just spectacular! Given that we had a big day in store- as per our route 90km with 2000m of climbing, we decided to try and stick to a bit more of the road where we could which would cut a few km off, be a lot quicker, and also take out a bit of the climbing (which on dirt is pretty bloody hard work). So we powered down the road for the first 40 or so km. There was definately still a lot of climbing, but it's just so much easier when you are on the road. Lucky for us, leaving early and it being a Sunday meant very little traffic, so we got to admire the amazing views all the way to Montalcino. Montalcino wasn't on our route exactly, but we really wanted to stop there to try the famous Brunello wines. The climb into the hill village was beautiful. The area is just so gorgeous. So many vineyards! And lush green compared with the other parts of Tuscany we have been through so far. We arrived into Montalcino at about 10am, had a quick coffee and coke (it's now my cool down drink- the heat in Tuscany kills me) before setting off to find an Enoteca where we could sample some Brunello. We found the best place! They had 100 wines on tasting! You just got a card, which you could then put into a slot and press the button for which wine you wanted to taste and it would charge the amount to your card. Brilliant! And so we got to taste about six excellent wines which would just be ridiculously expensive back home. What a great pit stop for the day!


Wine country


In my happy place





View from the top


Enjoying some Brunello di Montalcino


Just one wall of what you could taste

After a quick road descent from Montalcino we went back to the dirt trails for about 10km to San Quirico D'Orica. It had started to heat up considerably, and there was little shade on the trails, making the gravel climbs seem just that littttllleee bit harder. We had a quick lunch there and then kept going towards our destination, Radicofani. Back on the road and back into the sun and we were now topping out at 39degrees and I was sweating like a mad woman. The views either side of the road were just amazing! We took over 100 photos today!! Selecting which ones to use on this blog is hard work! ;) There was absolutely no shade on the road, so when we saw a bar only 10km out from Radicofani we quickly pulled over for a cold beer in the shade. Here we met the first group of cyclists we had seen on the trip. Four young guys for the UK who were cycling from Geneva to Rome. Didn't look like they would be moving anywhere too soon though...looked like they were struggling with the heat more than me, most of them shirtless, drinking cold drinks sitting in their bib knicks. There was also an Italian cyclist there seeking shade. He didn't speak any English, but gave us a smile, and his ears pricked up every time he heard us mention an Italian town.


Down from Montalcino


Back to the gravel






Rolling hills


Vespa club who passed and gave us lots of waves and toots

It was then a 10km climb to the hill town of Radicofani where we had pre-booked a little house to stay for the night. The climb was actually really beautiful. If it hadn't been so hot it would have been easier! But the gradient was really nice and the views were awesome. You could see the castle on top of the hill the whole time, although it always looked like it was still ages away! And the surrounding land is very volcanic, so very different to what we have been through on previous stages. We had pre arranged to meet the person who would let us into the house in front of the town church at 3pm. We got there a bit early at 2:30pm so settled down for a beer to wait. It got round to almost 3:30pm when I started to get concerned. Ben went looking around the town to no avail. I decided it was action time and saw some locals I thought I could approach. My intuition paid off. I approached a group of three people and tried to show them the name of the person we were supposed to meet and ask if they knew them. The older lady of the three started rapid fire Italian and I was immediately lost. Then hurrah for saviours, the man in the group starts speaking to me in Spanish "do you know a little Spanish?" "Yes!!!!!". So we have a conversation, he translates into Italian to the lady and she calls our host to find out what is going on. The owner of the house is actually in London and the contact name she gave us was incorrect, but thanks for Spanish and a VERY lovely lady, after several phone calls, a bit of waiting around, we were IN! I thanked her from the bottom of my heart, such an angel to take the time to help us out, using her phone and taking us to the actual door and waiting for the right person to come before leaving. It was a bit of a schamozzle, but we are now in a very comfortable house. She has left an incorrect password for the WIFI so this blog will be uploaded late. No shops open Sunday but we managed to find a packet of pasta and a tin of tuna in the house so that's dinner, and we brought a great local Sangiovese from the enoteca, so we are sorted :)

Climbing time!


Radicofani in the distance


Still a way to go!


From the top




Our house and our saviour


1 comment:

  1. You are so close to Rome but selfishly I dont want the blog to end :)