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Read and rate Travel Journal Entries for Toscana, Italy

Sep 16, 2018 - Stage 23 San Miniato to San Gimignano

More photos to be loaded Overview/ Highlights We had expected a nice descent from our ‘high altitude’ accommodation and then flat for quite awhile, however after a short descent we found ourselves with some pretty steep climbs for the morning. Constantly up and down. Countryside was nice with lots of grapes, olive groves and Tuscany pencil pines. Nice mountain views as we rode along the top of the mountain range. A quiet Sunday morning on the roads. Stopped for coffee and cakes at an outdoor cafe in Gambassi, which was playing loud rock...

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Sep 14, 2018 - Stage 21 Massa to Lucca

Photos to be added Overview/ Highlights Started the day with 20km along the coast. Only place I’ve ever seen breakwaters made out of chunks of marble!!. Had a coffee in a beach restaurant with a bright and happy Italian owner, who provided custard doughnuts with the coffee. We went inland along busy narrow roads. Very unpleasant cycling. A surprise sharp and short climb was over 20% gradient. A killer that made Gaylene dizzy and feeling unwell, so we all stopped for a break. Lunch was in Camaiore amongst the market traders as they packed...

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Sep 13, 2018 - Stage 20 Rest Day Massa

Copious breakfast provided by Renata ,our host. Most of us went out and did their own thing. Goran went exploring on bike. Tom and I walked to the bike shop for a few supplies then had coffee in a new cafe. Woman was very friendly and had a Coeliac son. Due to the large amount of marble quarries in the area there were marble workers everywhere. We stumbled on a marble sculpture place and watched the sculptors doing some amazing work. It seemed to be a school to teach them too. Lunch was a yummy local pizza thing made of chickpea flour....

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Sep 12, 2018 - Florence Day 2

Today was our big tour day in Florence. Cathy had pre-arranged for a six hour walking tour. Our tour guide Eliza, was delightful. She gave us an overview of the city, and showed us some of the significant historical places. The Florence Cathedral, with over 4 million bricks, weighing over 40,000 tons, almost the size of half a football field across at the base, and standing over 10 stories high, it is the largest masonry structure in the world. It took 140 years to complete the building in the 1400s. It took that long because no one had...

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Sep 12, 2018 - Stage 19 Berceto to Massa

Overview/ Highlights We managed to get away just after 8am today. First time ever! Ride started with a short climb of 100m in elevation and then most of the rest of the day was a wonderful descent of about 50km through winding wooded roads. Autumn colours are just starting and it was very pretty. We had regular regroups with stops for photos across the Apennine Mountains. Stopped at the quaint narrow streeted town of Pontremoli. The was a market in full swing and we bought lunch provisions then had a coffee stop in the square. Rode on to...

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Sep 11, 2018 - Florence Day 1

Woke up this morning to another beautiful day. Every Tuesday is my arthritis meds day. I take methotrexate. When I go to get my pills, I realize I brought the wrong bottle. I have two bottles of prednisone and no methotrexate. Instantly panic sets in! Glenna and I visit a pharmacy down the street. We explain our situation. Luckily the pharmacist spoke English. He sent us to a FirstAid clinic in Saint Marcos Square. Using a computer to translate, the doctor prescribed me my methotrexate. For a total amount of € 11.00, I am back in...

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Sep 5, 2018 - Arrived in Italy....Fiiiiinallllly...!

We departed Newcastle Tues 4 Sept. 2 trains - 2 planes - 1 airport bus on tarmac - 1 shuttle and 1 fast train later, We arrived at our hotel in Florence, Wednesday 5 Sept about 12pm. Literally dropped our bags in our room & headed out to sight see. Gorgeous weather - sunburnt already. Jet lagged due to economy travel. Something we are seriously reviewing for further travels. Thursday we depart Florence for our art retreat. Again this will be another 2 trains & a car trip. We are both needing a holiday just to get over the travelling lol.

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Aug 26, 2018 - August 23 & 24

Dear all, Well as promised this has a few photos from Florence and Pisa. We had a lovely time in Florence looking at beautiful buildings and the Statue of David but chose the river and the hotel for the pictures. The tower of Pisa, about 1 hour30 mins from Florence is not visible from the road as the whole area has a wall around it but when you come to the gate and turn and walk in the gate the wow factor is truly there. It is like a decorated wedding cake all white and shiny with beautiful green grass around it. It is truly magnificent to...

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Trip Journal


Our Big Trip

Jul 27, 2018 - Siena

Siena Arrived in Siena on the 22nd by bus as there was a train strike in Firenze.. but at least we made it without any hassles !! Siena is incredibly beautiful, we are really enjoying being here, the tight streets and walls that enclose the main area of Siena are filled with history and bustling with atmosphere, every corner you turn has s historic church Duomo or fountain, the piazza del campo is really large and very impressive it would have been amazing to be here for the horse race!! then you walk to the top on the hill on the slight...

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Europe Holiday 2018

Jul 26, 2018 - Day 11 Michelangelo

Academy of Fine Arts has a wonderful collection of Michelangelo sculptures including his most famous one David. The statue was commissioned for the tower of the church but the Pope disapproved of the naked David so he was put inthe town square. Because of the damage caused my weather, pollution and the pidgeons, the original David was moved into the museum and a replica was placed in the square. There were 4 unfinished statues started by Michelangelo. He died before they were completed. The museum named them the Prisoners because they look...

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Our Travels 18

Jul 25, 2018 - Day 10 Pisa

On are way to Florence, we stopped at Pisa. The old walled city was much smaller I thought it would be considering it was such a powerful city-state in the 13th and 14th centuries. But the leaning tower did not disappoint. We ate lunch next to the tower. That’s something I never thought I would do.

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Our Travels 18

Jul 25, 2018 - Day 11 Florence

When Florence was a city-state, it was run by the Medici Family. They very rich and very powerful because they were the bankers for the Vatican during the Renaissance. Their palace is in the town square. Many of the buildings in the town square still had their decorations. The buildings were made of brick then covered with plaster and painted. The richer you were the more elaborate the paintings on the front of your home. From there, we walked down a narrow street to the Ponte Vecchio. That bridge has been used for the last 4 centuries.

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Our Travels 18

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