…riding up through Tuscany – Part 1

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Looking back at the night before, it possibly wasn’t the most sensible thing we’ve done this trip!
While spending the night in Gerrys Pub celebrating the Brazilian wedding seemed like fun at the time, when we woke up the next morning facing a six hour ride, it didn’t seem so good after all! Especially when you take into account that with coffee/lunch and gas breaks, a ride almost always turns into at least an hour and a half more than projected.
Oh well, we’re grown ups now, so suck it up and get on the bike we did, with our long ride all planned out. As I’ve discussed before, we tend to avoid the Interstate/main highways as much as we can during our rides. This takes us off the main drag and boredom of interstate as well as avoiding heavy traffic and enabling us to see more of the countryside as the lower grade roads take you through the towns and villages and tend to be more twisty/turny fun!

[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][et_pb_column type=”1_3″ _builder_version=”3.8″ parallax=”off” parallax_method=”on”][et_pb_image src=”http://bikeshikesandwaterfalls.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/C5D7BD93-34AA-4410-A8D8-D65B16C72E81.jpeg” alt=”Gerrys Pub Amalfi” _builder_version=”3.8″][/et_pb_image][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row custom_padding=”1px|0px|5px|0px|false|false” _builder_version=”3.8″][et_pb_column type=”1_4″ _builder_version=”3.8″ parallax=”off” parallax_method=”on”][et_pb_image src=”http://bikeshikesandwaterfalls.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/2AC019F0-6C30-4B63-A68F-A8EA96C9E0BC.jpeg” alt=”Amalfi Coast” _builder_version=”3.8″][/et_pb_image][/et_pb_column][et_pb_column type=”3_4″ _builder_version=”3.8″ parallax=”off” parallax_method=”on”][et_pb_text _builder_version=”3.8″]We got off to a good start, leaving at 0830am the roads were pretty quiet and clear. It was a fun ride again, zipping up the Amalfi coast road and then turning inland to cut across to the other coast…which is where it all went a bit wrong. Remember my last post, where I talked about the craziness of riding through the towns? Well, imagine that tenfold as today was a working day and as well as the regular lunatics in cars and on mopeds, add in trucks and vans.
We literally crawled through each town, the time was ticking by and the temperature was rising – inside the helmets as well as out! By the time we got to the third town we were so over it. It was time to reassess the route or we were never going to get there!
[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row custom_padding=”2px|0px|15.890625px|0px|false|false” _builder_version=”3.8″][et_pb_column type=”4_4″ _builder_version=”3.8″ parallax=”off” parallax_method=”on”][et_pb_text _builder_version=”3.8″]Stopping in at a MacDonalds, (this alone affirms how bad I was feeling!), we reviewed the map and decided that it was time to take off some hours and hit the motorway. In actual fact, it really wasn’t that bad. Aside from being boringly straight, it did go through some pretty countryside and it wasn’t overly busy so it was a fairly easy, if mundane, ride.
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After a couple of hours, we hit our exit and started off into the Tuscan hillside. Today’s destination turned out to be a little gem of a town. Tuscany is home to some of the most stunning small towns, each with its individual charm, character and postcard-worthy views. Often surrounded by heavy fortified walls with fortresses and towers, these cities are a legacy of the Middle Ages and a testament to the wealth and prestige that the area enjoyed during the medieval period. Casperia is one of these small towns. Sitting high on a hill, overlooking the spectacularly scenic surrounding countryside.

[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][et_pb_column type=”2_3″ _builder_version=”3.8″ parallax=”off” parallax_method=”on”][et_pb_image src=”http://bikeshikesandwaterfalls.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/1000F4B8-201B-4974-9704-A5CDBB489201.jpeg” alt=”Casperia” _builder_version=”3.8″ max_width=”87%” module_alignment=”center”][/et_pb_image][et_pb_video src=”https://youtu.be/U3vqvnDFHxY” _builder_version=”3.8″ max_width=”54%” module_alignment=”center”][/et_pb_video][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row _builder_version=”3.8″][et_pb_column type=”4_4″ _builder_version=”3.8″ parallax=”off” parallax_method=”on”][et_pb_text _builder_version=”3.8″]

For those of you who watched the “Twilight” series, think of the scene when they all headed to Italy for the Volturi meeting. Walking up the winding, narrow, cobbled streets of the town up to the top.  This is what I was reminded of as we parked up, retrieved our bags and headed up to our apartment. The town is completely pedestrianized so we were rather happy that we weren’t too far up, especially as the rain which had threatened all day began to drop!

[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row _builder_version=”3.8″][et_pb_column type=”1_3″ _builder_version=”3.8″ parallax=”off” parallax_method=”on”][et_pb_text _builder_version=”3.8″]Arriving at the apartment was a treat in itself! Steep, ancient steps, led to the oldest front door I’ve ever seen. It was so worn with time that it no longer met at the edges! Inside the apartment was tiny but comfortable and had all we needed for just one nights stay – it may have felt a little cramped for more than that!
[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][et_pb_column type=”1_3″ _builder_version=”3.8″ parallax=”off” parallax_method=”on”][et_pb_image src=”http://bikeshikesandwaterfalls.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/32B5C689-053B-4896-90E2-E9582C64257E.jpeg” alt=”Casperia” _builder_version=”3.8″ max_width=”77%” module_alignment=”center”][/et_pb_image][/et_pb_column][et_pb_column type=”1_3″ _builder_version=”3.8″ parallax=”off” parallax_method=”on”][et_pb_image src=”http://bikeshikesandwaterfalls.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/6319739A-EED6-4576-A3C6-CF1C3B164B96.jpeg” alt=”Casperia” _builder_version=”3.8″ max_width=”77%” module_alignment=”center”][/et_pb_image][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row custom_padding=”15.890625px|0px|0|0px|false|false” _builder_version=”3.8″][et_pb_column type=”1_4″ _builder_version=”3.8″ parallax=”off” parallax_method=”on”][et_pb_image src=”http://bikeshikesandwaterfalls.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/A1CBE8B0-4043-4BEA-890B-FE10798DD538.jpeg” alt=”Casperia” _builder_version=”3.8″ max_width=”98%” module_alignment=”center”][/et_pb_image][/et_pb_column][et_pb_column type=”1_2″ _builder_version=”3.8″ parallax=”off” parallax_method=”on”][et_pb_text _builder_version=”3.8″]

With just one restaurant in the town, the “Osteria Vigna“, we had to hope a) that it was open and b) that it was decent. We lucked out on both counts and with the added bonus that the one guy serving there spoke excellent English! We enjoyed a truly delicious Tuscan meal and a good bottle of local red.

We had a more relaxed couple of days coming up so were able to take a relaxed morning and walk around the town a bit, taking pictures and enjoying the peaceful atmosphere.

[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][et_pb_column type=”1_4″ _builder_version=”3.8″ parallax=”off” parallax_method=”on”][et_pb_video src=”https://youtu.be/V5nlo2OFmfc” _builder_version=”3.8″][/et_pb_video][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row custom_padding=”8px|0px|15.890625px|0px|false|false” _builder_version=”3.8″][et_pb_column type=”1_4″ _builder_version=”3.8″ parallax=”off” parallax_method=”on”][et_pb_image src=”http://bikeshikesandwaterfalls.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/E2A8D825-F514-48F1-8AAF-817CA1639CB1.jpeg” alt=”Casperia” _builder_version=”3.8″][/et_pb_image][/et_pb_column][et_pb_column type=”1_4″ _builder_version=”3.8″ parallax=”off” parallax_method=”on”][et_pb_image src=”http://bikeshikesandwaterfalls.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/0B03CDEB-8E14-4D57-88FC-307BF6B5E491.jpeg” alt=”Casperia” _builder_version=”3.8″][/et_pb_image][/et_pb_column][et_pb_column type=”1_4″ _builder_version=”3.8″ parallax=”off” parallax_method=”on”][et_pb_image src=”http://bikeshikesandwaterfalls.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/E2A8D825-F514-48F1-8AAF-817CA1639CB1.jpeg” alt=”Casperia” _builder_version=”3.8″][/et_pb_image][/et_pb_column][et_pb_column type=”1_4″ _builder_version=”3.8″ parallax=”off” parallax_method=”on”][et_pb_image src=”http://bikeshikesandwaterfalls.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/9981E6C6-066F-4F7D-BF63-BA9FFACAE909.jpeg” alt=”Casperia” _builder_version=”3.8″][/et_pb_image][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row custom_padding=”4px|0px|3px|0px|false|false” _builder_version=”3.8″][et_pb_column type=”4_4″ _builder_version=”3.8″ parallax=”off” parallax_method=”on”][et_pb_text _builder_version=”3.8″]

Then we set off for our next stay over, stopping by Marmore Falls, or, Casacate della Marmore, on the way.

The Cascata delle Marmore is a man-made waterfall that was created by the ancient Romans. Its total height is 165 m (541 feet), making it the tallest man-made waterfall in the world. Of its 3 sections, the top one is the tallest, at 83 m (272 feet).
It’s source is a portion of the waters of the river Velino (the rest of the river flows into a hydroelectric power plant), after flowing through Piediluco lake near the community of Marmore. It pours into the valley below formed by the river Nera. Its flow is turned on and off according to a published schedule, to satisfy the needs of the power company. We missed the opening but were mesmerized by the sheer power of the Falls.

[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row _builder_version=”3.8″][et_pb_column type=”1_3″ _builder_version=”3.8″ parallax=”off” parallax_method=”on”][et_pb_image src=”http://bikeshikesandwaterfalls.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/B4E34B85-CEBC-4E41-9B3F-97E542515B6F.jpeg” alt=”Marmore falls” _builder_version=”3.8″][/et_pb_image][/et_pb_column][et_pb_column type=”1_3″ _builder_version=”3.8″ parallax=”off” parallax_method=”on”][et_pb_image src=”http://bikeshikesandwaterfalls.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/1503C351-BFC2-4924-8A05-278D1157E117.jpeg” alt=”Marmore Falls” _builder_version=”3.8″][/et_pb_image][/et_pb_column][et_pb_column type=”1_3″ _builder_version=”3.8″ parallax=”off” parallax_method=”on”][et_pb_image src=”http://bikeshikesandwaterfalls.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/C7033B69-270F-4051-9485-483DA572F40C.jpeg” alt=”Marmore Falls” _builder_version=”3.8″][/et_pb_image][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row _builder_version=”3.8″][et_pb_column type=”2_3″ _builder_version=”3.8″ parallax=”off” parallax_method=”on”][et_pb_text _builder_version=”3.8″]

After a quick lunch, we headed back out en-route to Cellena, a small village where we were staying the night. What a great ride! The roads were not well maintained which kind of slowed us down, but the twists and turns and the scenic views made it enjoyable. Even if there was one dirt track that masqueraded on the GPS as a main thoroughfare!

The purpose of this stop was to visit the amazing Cascate del Mulino, just outside the hill town of Saturnia. Amazingly un-commercialized with free access to all, these warm thermal falls pour over a series of calcareous pools, formed by the power of the cascading waters over centuries.

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What a wonderful welcome from our AirBnB host, Carlos! He met us with some lovely red wine and delicious local, cheese and meats, we set out for a quick recce of the area. It was too late to enjoy a dip in the Falls but I was too excited to see them to wait for the morning. Besides, we needed to get some dinner sorted out

[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][et_pb_column type=”1_4″ _builder_version=”3.8″ parallax=”off” parallax_method=”on”][et_pb_image src=”http://bikeshikesandwaterfalls.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/B7A94100-BBA8-42DA-BE2F-2E0154045086.jpeg” alt=”Cellena” _builder_version=”3.8″ max_width=”82%” module_alignment=”center”][/et_pb_image][et_pb_video src=”https://youtu.be/suqvUjePLxg” _builder_version=”3.8″][/et_pb_video][/et_pb_column][et_pb_column type=”1_4″ _builder_version=”3.8″ parallax=”off” parallax_method=”on”][et_pb_image src=”http://bikeshikesandwaterfalls.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/3C51BD69-724F-4EFF-BC49-F6475CAB3150.jpeg” alt=”Cellena” _builder_version=”3.8″][/et_pb_image][/et_pb_column][et_pb_column type=”1_4″ _builder_version=”3.8″ parallax=”off” parallax_method=”on”][et_pb_image src=”http://bikeshikesandwaterfalls.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/96970885-94BE-4D47-9862-C80D4D08EA89.jpeg” _builder_version=”3.8″ alt=”Cellena”][/et_pb_image][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row custom_padding=”15.890625px|0px|3px|0px|false|false” _builder_version=”3.8″][et_pb_column type=”1_2″ _builder_version=”3.8″ parallax=”off” parallax_method=”on”][et_pb_text _builder_version=”3.8″]

Good job we did a recce, we had the devil of a time finding them but when we did it was so worth it! They’re a bit stinky from the sulphur but their beauty made you forget that. I couldn’t wait to go back the next day to enjoy a soak!
The next adventure was dinner! We went into the local town of Saturnia, where we wandered from restaurant to restaurant but it seems that in Tuscany, nowhere opens for dinner until 7.30pm! I guess their lunches are so leisurely that no-one is hungry until then….except us! Heading back towards the apartment, we stopped in the next town, but found the same thing. All bars/cafes/restaurants closed for food! The grocery store it was then!

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Riding back to the apartment armed with all I needed to cobble together a pasta dish, I was astounded to pass a field of camels! Now remember, aside from the glass of wine earlier, I hadn’t been drinking at this point! There really was a field of camels! I wish I had got a picture to prove it to you!

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Follow our posts as we prepare for our 13 week tour of Europe that starts in May 2018!

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