Italia 2004
 
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Toscana 07-19.11. 2004
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Navigating out of Fiumicino Airport gave us some problems. Even with good map readers (?) and GPS, we had x number of laps around the area before we found the way north. GPS map did not have all the roads that were in the area. Road markings in Italy are challenging! The first day we cycled about 60 km before it started to get dark.
Day 2 we cycled more than 140 km in good tailwind and ended up in Grosseto

Elba

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From Grosseto, we went on and took a boat to Elba. The boat from the mainland to Elba takes about 1 hour. It cost about 15 € for a person with a bicycle.(2004)
We decided to take a "rest" day on Elba to see 
Napoleon's residence and the island. We started early in the morning to reach around the island. We had some trouble finding the way out of town.
The picture shows clearly that we are somewhat confused where to go.
Picturesque landscapes

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Elba was a positive surprise, with its rugged landscape and picturesque bays. We cycled 90 km around the island.
The westcoast of Elba
80B.jpg (55873 byte) Bjørn Tore posing in front of one of many bays around the island.

Morning sun at Elba
95B.jpg (28552 byte) We left Elba early in the morning to reach Pisa. To avoid the A12, we chose to take a "shortcut" that was not marked on the map. (Despite the fact that we were strongly advised not to go there by the locals.) We ended up at a dirt track. The "Shortcut" meant 2 extra hours of biking and a puncture.
Pisa

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We arrived in Pisa as it got dark, but navigated straight to the hotel, thanks to GPS. The next morning we went to see the Leaning Tower of Pisa. The trip continued to Florence and the weather was partially damp and cold. In autumn, the temperature is lower.inland than at the coast. Moreover, there was a blizzard to the north as we thankfully avoided.
Firenze
137B.jpg (37122 byte) The Bridge Ponte Vecchio over the Arno River.
In Florence, we had a rest day. We left the bikes behind and walked around in the beautiful city.
The Cathedral and the Baptistery

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View from Piazzale Michelangelo of Florence.
The next day started with a new "Shortcut" out of Florence, which resulted in ended up  in Florence again, after 10 km. We managed eventually to find SS222 and finally we were on the right way to
Siena. The tour went through the inner parts of Tuscany. Beautiful and rugged! On the tour to Siena, we were up to 500-600 m 2 times.
Orbetello
165B.jpg (58866 byte) After an overnight stay in Siena, we went on towards Grosseto. The day started with lightning and thunder, but after a few km it cleared up again. The next day we went in to Orbetello and on to Sivitavecchia.
Cola?
175B.jpg (41078 byte) BT conducted his first ride with us in Italy. He hung on the whole trip, thanks to his aerodynamic body, that is built for speed!

Coliseum
187B.jpg (45002 byte) After completing nearly 1000 km in 10 days we were back in Rome, and took the opportunity to see some of the city. We visited, among other things Coliseum. So far I must say that Grosseto, Orbetello, Florence and Siena were the most positive experiences.
Returning
216B.jpg (38478 byte) Satisfied cyclists after a great tour. We would like to see more of the inner parts of Tuscany, but as usual, we only had 10 days. Tuscany can certainly be highly recommended. Italy and Italians were a positive experience. Traffic was no problem. Italians are used to cyclists. Much positive shouts and waving were commonplace. The Italians we talked to, were all helpful and friendly, but English skills were rather poor. A language course and an Italian phrase book would have come in handy.
 

Total: 950 km