To make up for our dinner disaster, Rosita arranged a walking tour of Lucca, where we learned from a very knowledgeable local guide about the various layers of history represented in the old city. I mostly took pictures.
It was a short riding day, and we got on the road after noon. We started with a ride around the town walls again–because, why not?–then started towards the end of the tour in Pisa.
After leaving town, we were back on gravel levees and river banks; very nice riding through poplars and teak farms.
At a railroad crossing, Kathleen had a fairly spectacular face plant, coming in second to Mary Ann’s pole crash for Best Biff of the tour.
After crossing the rails, we were back on roads, mostly low traffic, but as we approached Pisa they got gradually busier.
Then once we reached the city itself it got quite chaotic as we rode together to the Field of Dreams where the famous tower is.
The tower is certainly impressive from the outside, as is the cathedral which would be the primary attraction if the tower weren’t so unique. But the place is so inundated with tourists, all Pisa snow globes and trying to take the “holding up the tower” picture, that I find it hard to enjoy. And officially you’re not allowed on the grass, though Nancy was willing to transgress.
We were already near our hotel, but there was an option to do another 25km out to the beach, which seemed like the right thing to do. Grace unfortunately had a problem with the valve stem on one of her tires, and I stayed back to help her out (yay vise grips!). After getting it fixed, she, Nathan and I started to chase after the group.
The ride wasn’t anything special, along a straight, flat road with a decent shoulder and a lot of traffic. We kept up a good, solid pace, just above 25kph, and when we caught the rest of the group we just kept rolling, and cranked into the marina at the mouth of the Arno, where we got great views of mountains and the fishing huts in the lagoon.
While we were taking pictures we saw group pass by on the main road, and we followed them over to the beach, where most of us went for a swim. (Two sport day!)The water was nice, warm by California standards, and very salty. Debbie, who was from Kansas, said it was the furthest she’d ever been out in the ocean.
It was heading towards evening, and I got on the road with Dave to head back. In one of my favorite moments of the trip, we were doing our bonus loop of the roundabout at the marina just when the main group was doing the roundabout to enter, so we got to whirl around with them before heading back onto the main road to Pisa.
We’d had a slight tailwind on the way out, so now we had a slight headwind, but we still kept up a good pace, and caught up with Nathan, Grace and Mark at the edge of town. figured out how to find the hotel, and had our first apertivo. After cleaning up, we walk with the group to have another one.
Then, back over the river to the hotel for group dinner and the award ceremony.