Bike, Sweat, Drink…(with apologies to Elizabeth Gilbert)

The fantasy has ended. Sigh.  Although I am now back in the good ol USA,  my body still appears to be on Italy time, because I am awakening at a god awful hour.  And when I wake up,  at least for the first few seconds, I think I’m back in the villa.  Fortunately, the bathrooms both in the villa and my bedroom at home are in the same direction, and by the time I arrive at my destination I’ve got it all figured out.  (No bidet in the USA).

Anyway, my blogging, one again, has lagged way behind my travels. Here’s the thing. Blogging on an i-pad, especially when you have sporadic wi-fi connectivity, is not what one would describe as fun. At least not when the “one” in the preceding sentence happens to be me.  Indeed, it began to resemble work. And at this stage of my life, if it ain’t fun, I’m not doing it.  I think that might become one of the pillars of my current philosophy of life.  Does that make me a Hedonist?  I’ve been called worse.

But let’s get to that bike trip.  Here’s a map of the ground we covered.

We started in Parrina, staying at the Antica Fattoria for three nights, then moved to Magliano, where we stayed at another Fattoria (Farm).  The longest ride, according to the literature, was 35 miles, with options if a shorter ride was desired.  And, for one of the days, there was no biking at all–just a ferry ride To Giglio Island.  This was an “easy/moderate” ride.  No sweat.  Or so I thought.

On our first day of serious cycling, we headed to Talamone, a medieval fortress village on the coast, small enough not to make it to the map above, so you’ll have to trust me when I tell you that it is north of La Parrina.  The scenery along the way made you almost forget how hot it was.  (We, unfortunately, were there during record breaking high temperatures.)

It took tremendous self control to keep from stopping for a photo every 100 feet or so.  It is easy to understand how Frances Meyes fell in love with the area.

Here’s what we saw as we rolled down the “rolling hill” that we had just strained our way up.

Yep, that’s a fortress all right.  And those of you that know me well have probably guessed that I’d be planning to get up close and personal with that fortress real soon.  But first a stop at the renown beach.  At least, that’s how our guides described it.

What looks like school lockers are actually the changing rooms.  And they ARE about the size of school lockers, only slightly taller.  To add to the fun, only ONE is available for public use, so we all got to share.  Fortunately not at the same time.

The water was crystal clear, which was a good thing, because those big rocks that you see peeking out of the water had a bunch of little rock friends under the surface.

Next on the day’s agenda was a picnic lunch.  As usual, our group chose to take the more adventurous route to our destination, which just happened to be the way to the fortress.

Not only did we get to stretch our leg muscles, but we also got an even better view of the beach, which I am only too happy to share with all of you.

The picnic lunch was wonderful.

Angelo was a bit surprised when 16 female heads turned in his direction for a moment of silence, followed by peals of laughter.  He quickly learned that “sanitary napkins” was NOT the correct term for “wipes”.

We ended the day with a visit to the farm’s store, where we had a wine and cheese tasting event. Most of the products in the store come from the farm.  It was unfortunate that we were there so early in the trip.  Had we not had weeks more of travel time, I would have certainly purchased oil, vinegar, cheese and wine.

We ended this perfect day with the biscotti cooking lesson and an amazing dinner on the terrace.

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I am intensely curious, with a spirit of adventure that is tempered by my very strong aversion to anything with potential to cause pain. I love travel, photography, reading, gardening, yoga, music and propelling myself through space (biking, dancing, walking, dancing while walking). I've never considered a lack of proficiency in any of the previous activities to be a hindrance, counting on abundant enthusiasm to make up for my shortcomings.

5 thoughts on “Bike, Sweat, Drink…(with apologies to Elizabeth Gilbert)”

  1. What beautiful scenery! I see the Head Chef holding her hands out welcoming all of us to the cooking lesson.
    Another fabulous blog!


  2. So now you can share all your wonderful ideas with the family for meal time.
    The beach – was it just a drop off? I can not see how people could ease their way in.
    Great pictures.


    1. We actually DID go in the water. Fortunately I brought along the flip flops that Lindy gave me because I needed them to make it over the rocks.



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