Bella Italia - June 21st 2010
My 10th day - from Cortona to Fiesole.
No pictures from me today - but it was eventful. We had to get from Cortona to Fiesole, just north of Firenze (Florence). Getting downhill out of Cortona two bikes went down - one was Doug on some diesel, no harm done and he was amazed he wasn't even fussed by it. The other may have been aggravated by diesel, but Ferris had a dozy woman step out into the road in front of him. His own surmise (and the probable actual reason) is that the front brake was used a tad too much for the situation. He's a good rider, has a Triumph Bonneville, but scooters are a lot more twitchy, especially at the front end. Fractured right upper arm, fracture(s) in the right ankle. Ambulance, hospital, all sorted at no cost (of course!) and quite efficiently. If it had been me, I'd have stayed and got the Italians to sort out the probable surgery etc - he might well have got on his original flight home. His choice, just stayed strapped up and drugged up (very cheerful!) to get home ASAP and take his chances...
Behind the scenes, Al and Doug did a great job of keeping communications going, as the main party had stopped just a mile ahead for petrol.
It then started to rain, the roads were boring, and everyone was getting a bit cold and wet. At last a sensible place to stop for a break loomed up. We got fed and watered, Hal found some new (very cheap!) wet weather gear that fitted, and I found a new belt for EUR3 (trouser type, not bike type - mine had about 15 minutes of life left) and I kept my dignity.
We re-started, and eventually we climbed up into rain and clouds, with a huge slick of diesel evident - thankfully mostly on the other side of the road. Right at the top we stopped at a restaurant - closed - but five km further on was another one - with a roaring fire going! Much drying of gloves and warming of hands took place. For some reason a couple of old ducks insisted on sitting by the door and frowning every time someone went in or out... Kristin took my waterproof summer gloves, I put on my 'Safety Lab' sheep frightener and the fireman's gloves again.
Downhill now, Doug enjoyed overtaking the entire group and catching up to the front, and the Hornet couldn't shake off the Liberty, try as it may. The three of us had a few minutes breather - then the rest of the group hove into sight, and off we went again on the last leg.
At last we were able to drop folk off at the two hotels - those of us near to Fiesole centre had an adequate hotel - it did have washing facilities - and it was within staggering distance of the centre. Thank goodness, as it turned out!
Gay-Ann, Kristin, Hal and I wandered into town, spotted an Irish pub, but opening not until 16:30. Bah. So a funny-named beer was had at a bar the other side of the square (limoncella for Gay-Ann)
but as soon as I saw movement at the Irish pub (JJ Hill) I was in like a shot. At least they'd have Guinness - but better than that, they had Bombardier on draught.
Kristin joined me shortly afterwards, and thus started the education of Matt - the bar-keep from New Mexico - on how full to pour a pint of real ale. Jess and the rest of the gang arrived a bit later, and at some stage we moved on to a restaurant the other side of the square. Best meal of the trip for me - very simple, linguine e scallopine, but so, so tasty.
Meal over (who paid for that one?) and I headed straight back to JJ Hill's. I was soon joined by Kristin, and I confess we didn't leave leave until 01:00, with some discussion as to who should carry the trophy bottle I had purloined (which now is on display at the Mason's Arms Teddington, gratefully received by Rae). We re-earned elder son's nickname of 'Pinball' as we made our oh-ho-so-steady way back to the hotel. It didn't help that it was uphill.
If any of the guilty parties named above have any pictures of the day to share, please bring them on and I can add them to this rather prosey page. Contributions so far (do I have to say thank-you for these? [and it's not *my* arse]):
Odo at the end of the day (123km):
No track of the day AGAIN - I'd had to reset the GPS AGAIN - it had got clagged up AGAIN with tom-tom 'hidden via-points'. Grr...