We left Siena to find views that were stunning. World class, breathtakingly so.
We joked that the roads we followed must have been damaged by heavy armoured vehicles during WW2. The real joke being that Archbishop Sigeric might have expected such conditions on some of these white roads.
We also departed against a flow of ultramarathon walkers heading to the finish in the Piazza della Campo. At least 1000 must have been on the walk given the vest numbers I saw worn by some, worn out as many were. I’ve done a 100 km event for charity in 27 hours so I have an idea of the blisters and exhaustion. I’d rather be cycling to Rome in Autumn.
This is October. I say it again. This is October. The further south we go, the hotter it gets. I’m also going back in time. The further south we go, the further back I feel we are going. It’s a weird feeling doing this on a bicycle. And by the way, where does the water come from? Vast fields lose huge amounts to evaporation so how can they afford it?
Fields of vines, hills of wineries and the wine tasting downside was visible in Sunday evening traffic. Was I wrong to be scared there might be tourists driving rental cars after one glass too many on unfamiliar, unpoliced roads? For sure, the evening road speeds were markedly higher than those at noon.
I can’t relive the day in the statistics of our achievements. It was grim work in a beautiful place. We’re managing our calories and liquids like professionals now. We’re sparing our legs as best we know how by taking ever more breaks. The days are getting shorter so we have no choice but to cycle in the most intense heat. We are on the road almost eight hours each day, pedalling for five of those hours. It’s gorgeous but it’s a slog. Sometimes I even forget to take pictures.
Google gave us an extra mountain to climb (during my navigation). Not sure why it put us back on unsealed white roads too. Neither of us were happy at the extra effort in 30 degree heat. But the views … sometimes you are just allowing things to be the way they are.
‘Too tired to make sense. I was wrong about crossing the Appenines. The Etruscan hills are brutal. Beautiful but many sense of humour failures in the heat and terrible road surfaces. And navigating isn’t so easy either.’ I wrote at one break. Many times you are just allowing things to be the way they are.
We ended the day in of San Quirico d’Orcia. It was a lovely place to spend the night. An ancient hilltop town with a delightfully laid out garden park and we were on Dante St. It was a fabulous setting but a bit tedious with stonewalls blocking electronic signal for navigation, payment etc. Even more tedious but a bit of fun, my room was in one building, Chris in another, bikes in another 100 metres away, restaurant for breakfast about 200 m away. And so it went, a decentralised monopoly. So often, we are just allowing things to be the way they are.
And the big thing is the food. Nothing needs to be dehammed in Italy. Vegetarian can thrive here provided they can tolerate gluten. And remember to beg for greens.