With the finish of our mid-season altitude camp in late July, I had the options of returning to my home in Spain for the better part of one week or I jetting off to explore one region of Italy that I know virtually nothing about, Tuscany.
(Two important things to toss into the consideration bucket before going forward:
One, I have been to Italy three times in my life. The first trip allowed me approximately thirty eight seconds of time to explore the region – it was also the heart of winter – while the second and third trips were for the Giro d’Italia. Ever heard of it? It’s a pretty big bike race. The Giro is a fairly magnificent tour of Italy, however, one is not afforded the luxury of a proper sight seeing tour. More accurately, I often found myself staring disgruntled either at the wheel in front of me or my ever increasing powermeter. So when I say that Tuscany is one region of Italy I don’t know much about… I know virtually nothing about any and all regions of Italy.
Two, life is an adventure, so why would I go back to Spain when I could go explore a part of the world I’ve never seen before? Boom, bam, done, easy choice, I’m off to Tuscany!)
Among the things dawned on me about Italy over the course of my few days here is that it’s quintessentially Italian. In much the same way that you’ll see pickup trucks, McDonalds, and strip malls in America I saw aqueducts, a Ferrari, a Lamborghini, a dozen or more Vespas, and a ratio of 5:1 Fiats to people (it’s a relatively unpopulous region where I’ve been staying). I saw historic, antiquated buildings, gregariously friendly Italian people, German tourists by the dozen, impossibly narrow roads, and a cornucopia of edible roadside shrubbery. In fact, this was exciting for me as a self-proclaimed-non-snobby-and-completely-open minded foodie, with the minor blip being that I’m unfortunately departing Italy about a week too early. Figs are going to hit their prime in a matter of days and you can’t ride more than thirty seconds before seeing a few thousand figs. Black and blue berries are hitting their stride right now, while local gardens alongside the road boast tomatoes, onions, squash, plum and cherry trees, and enough rosemary and basil to last a few lifetimes. Furthermore, I ate pizza, sampled olive oil – in moderation of course, burned my fair skin in the Tuscan sun, saw vineyard upon vineyard upon vineyard upon oil grove, and basically just had an amazing time.
Here are a few photos to give you an idea of what my four days in Italy entailed. If you have any interest in seeing more, click on over HERE and you’ll see the full iamtedking-Tuscan portfolio.
Peace out. I’m off to Tour of Poland.