Peter C. (Calgary BC) for Croatia

Sometimes things take a long time to develop.  Mari did two tours back to back (Corsica and Spain) quite a few years ago, so I was surprised when Peter told me Mari had mentioned Far and Away and he was signing up for Croatia in 2014.

I am glad it worked out eventually though.

Something tells me the bike riding season is short in Calgary, which may be why Peter sent me a couple pictures from other places.

This is from Hawaii.  Peter is on the left.  :-)
This is from Hawaii. Peter is on the left. :-)

This in in Arizona.
This in in Arizona.

 

Posted in Croatia Sept 20 2014 | Comments Off on Peter C. (Calgary BC) for Croatia

Meat and Pinocchio

We decided to hang in Pescia another night and try a “do over” on getting to this place.  We made some wrong turns on the way here and ended up on the main road.

We started by going to the local bike shop where we had “Govianni” look at our bikes.  Chantal’s is making an awful racket and mine needs to have the rear wheel trued.  Giovanni did ok with mine, but Chantal’s noisy ride persists.  Giovanni lightened my wallet by 25 euros.

As it turned out, we made some wrong turns on the “do over” and ended up with a pretty steep 800 meter climb that we had not planned on.  It was a great ride though and we learned plenty.  If anyone wants to knock themselves out on a climb in Tuscany, we have the route for you!   The guy at the reception here, who rides, cringed a little when we told him where we had been.

Anyway,  the show today was lunch.  We stopped at a little place in Matraia and ordered a salad some pasta and the mixed grill (meat!).  These were all individual servings.  OMG, we were pretty much done after the first two things were finished….then this mambo plate of all kinds of meat appeared.  We could barely stop laughing.  I ate most of it though.  I think we will go lighter next time.

We made some more wrong turns on the way back (there are lots of chances to make a wrong turn here).  Plus it rained a little so we got to tour another abandoned farm shed.  All in all though, a nice day and a challenging ride.

We may never leave this place.

The views on the ride were pretty spectacular.
The views on the ride were pretty spectacular.

Giovanni checking Chantal's bike.  I think it is the bottom bracket.  It needs to be pulled and greased.
Giovanni checking Chantal's bike. I think it is the bottom bracket. It needs to be pulled and greased.

A town without a bell tower is not a town.
A town without a bell tower is not a town.

Some towns just sort of spill down the hill
Some towns just sort of spill down the hill

We were pretty much done eating lunch...and then this showed up.  OMG!  We both choked when we say this.
We were pretty much done eating lunch...and then this showed up. OMG! We both choked when we say this.

Don't ever expect to leave this place in Matrai hungry.
Don't ever expect to leave this place in Matrai hungry.

These two made darn sure we did not go away hungry!
These two made darn sure we did not go away hungry!

Another rain break in a farm shed.
Another rain break in a farm shed.
Giovanni at the bike shop said he had fixed Chantal's bike.  I am thinking of dropping this picture off for him tomorrow......
Giovanni at the bike shop said he had fixed Chantal's bike. I am thinking of dropping this picture off for him tomorrow......

Posted in Italy - April 21 2014 | Comments Off on Meat and Pinocchio

Pescia, Tuscany and Surroundings

We checked out of our B&B (we would have stayed longer but they only had one room and someone else had booked it) and decided to drop by the tourist office.  The lady there suggested a place just outside of town that was spectacular.  We checked in (they gave us a suite) and decided to ride the “10 Castles ride” up into the hills. I really liked that ride.  The first stop was Fibbiala.  The only person in the place was Ticciano, who was working on the door of the church.  He motioned us to walk around which we did.  We then went into the church.  It actually was very neat with an organ in back.  We didn’t get the history because Ticciano did not speak English and we did not speak Italian.  We did find out there were 26 people in Fibbiala. Ticciano then insisted we go up into the bell tower, which he opened for us.  Nice.  Great view from up there.  It was a little scary getting up there.  The bells are all still there.  BIG bells. We then commenced with the loop.  More churches.  I think the castles must really be fortified churches.  Some of them barely have any windows. We had a nice lunch just before Pontito and then made our way back along the other side of the valley. The ride wasn’t long but it actually is a whole lot of climbing.  We made it back to our sweet suite by 5 or so.

The church in Fibbiala.  That is Ticciano scrambling to get his stuff out of the way so I can take a picture.  Sorry, I want you in the picture!
The church in Fibbiala. That is Ticciano scrambling to get his stuff out of the way so I can take a picture. Sorry, I want you in the picture!
The Church in Fibbiala was a lot more than I expected.  Not much on the outside, but the inside was really nice.
The Church in Fibbiala was a lot more than I expected. Not much on the outside, but the inside was really nice.
Chantal asking Ticciano about the way out.  It is a steep ride up.  Sorry, only one way out and it is down.
Chantal asking Ticciano about the way out. It is a steep ride up. Sorry, only one way out and it is down.
Ticciano demonstrating a noise maker for processions.  You crank the arm and it makes a racket.  All wood.  Noisy, but interesting.  It did not look new.
Ticciano demonstrating a noise maker for processions. You crank the arm and it makes a racket. All wood. Noisy, but interesting. It did not look new.
The view from the Bell Tower
The view from the Bell Tower
Not many windows in this one!
Not many windows in this one!
One of the "castles".
One of the "castles".
This is the bedroom of our suite.  About 25 ft square with big beams holding the roof up..  There also is a sitting room about a third the size.  We are in an old converted paper mill.  There is a river right outside the windows.  We didn't ask for this, but it is nice!
This is the bedroom of our suite. About 25 ft square with big beams holding the roof up.. There also is a sitting room about a third the size. We are in an old converted paper mill. There is a river right outside the windows. We didn't ask for this, but it is nice!
The view out our windows.  There are people fly fishing on this river.
The view out our windows. There are people fly fishing on this river.

Posted in Italy - April 21 2014 | 1 Comment