adventure / backpacking / italy / travel / travel blog / travelling / travelling the world / tuscany

Driving in the clouds, Bike rides in the rain | Our time in San Marino and Tuscany

After the abysmal boat journey, Mr. Kiss and I successfully made our way up from Rimini to San Marino. We were pretty stoked to cross another very random country off the list. On the day we visited, the incredible hilltop community was covered in cloud but every now and then would show us hints of the views below. The cobbled streets were home to many a handbag or gelato store and we made the most of our time there by sampling some of the local gelato.

As we were about to leave and head for Firenze (Florence) we noticed that there was a gallery near where our car was parked, we stopped and walked in to check out what was showing only to find the door was locked. As we walked away a lady and gentleman stopped us and asked if we could return in 30 minutes as they were just heading out to lunch, we said we had to go so instead they opened up the exhibition room especially for us. As it turned out, the exhibition was to commemorate those killed in the 2004 bombing of a train station in Madrid. The point of the exhibition was to remember those who lost their lives and so for every person there was an assigned photographer from a different place. It was very moving and amazing to stand there and remember. The point of the exhibition was that this attack has been somewhat forgotten. The pair were brother and sister and were very enthusiastic about it reaching as many people as possible.

From San Marino we headed west to Firenze, thinking that we would save a few dollars on tolls we took the back road through the mountains. I think it would have been a good idea if we hadn’t spent the previous two nights mostly on a boat… we arrived just outside of Firenze just after dark and discovered we hadn’t downloaded the full address for our airbnb room. We sat ourselves down at McDonalds thinking that we would be able to get on to their free wifi. Alas, not this time… in Italy it appears you have to have an Italian phone number or have your bank allow 1 cent transactions on your credit card (I think McD’s are scamming people). After half an hour of trying we left and headed for the nearest restaurant feeling pretty tired and defeated. We were pleased to have a traditional meal of soup and pasta and were finally able to reach our host.

Alessandro had a large apartment near the centre of Firenze, which did mean driving through the centre…. Such fun! But it was conveniently located the room was more than comfortable and he was a gentle man in his 50’s with a lot of enthusiasm and a desire to see us enjoy ourselves! That we did. While it totally bucketed with rain on our first day out we enjoyed gelato, buying art supplies (YAY) and checking out the Duomo. Day two was equally wonderful, walking the narrow streets and up to the Piazzale Michelangelo – a MUST if you are visiting Firenze as it gives you views right across the city. We also visited the San Lorenzo Markethall, which is basically a modernised, massive food market with every wonderful Italian food you can imagine. Let’s just say it was very difficult to leave.

After a magical stay we headed north to Siena and relaxed in the countryside. We again enjoyed the gelato the town had to offer and the speciality biscuits which are particular to the area.

Our final sojourn in Tuscany was a stop in the beautiful town of Lucca, while similar to Siena it is a lot less touristy and I think more beautiful. Mr. Kiss and I had been recommended to cycle around the city walls and so with limited time we set off. At around 21 degrees we were happily wandering around in the sunshine in our t-shirts and thought nothing of the ominous looking black (not just grey) clouds in the distance. Just as we were halfway around the town, the skies opened up and totally peed on us. It was glorious! And totally unforgettable, especially after the double rainbow appeared!

Next we are off to the north of Italy to try our hand at woofing…exciting times!

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