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Read and rate Travel Journal Entries for Toscana, Italy

Oct 14, 2018 - Florence to Munich and then home to Canada

Buongiorno, Friday was our last full day in Florence. After breakfast we made our way to the Mercato Centrale Market and checked out the vendors and their products. So many different cheeses, meats, fish, produce and more. Italy really is all about food and enjoying life! The rest of the day we explored more of Florence, packed up our stuff and ended the night with one last pasta dinner and a final close up look of the incredible detail on the exterior of The Duomo. On Saturday after a light breakfast at a cafe near our apartment, we...

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Oct 11, 2018 - Florence

Buonasera, Yesterday we had a great day! We went on a day trip to Siena, San Gimignano and Pisa. It was another very long day but it was a good tour. Standing in the main square of Siena, our guide told us about the Palio. The Palio is the most important event in Siena, taking place on July 2 and August 16 every year. In the Palio, the various Sienese "contrade", or areas in which the city is divided, challenge each other in a passionate horse race in the heart of the city in the Piazza del Campo. Next we walked up the hill to the Siena...

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Oct 9, 2018 - Florence

Buonasera from Florence, On Monday, we went on an excursion to Cinque Terre which is a rugged portion of coast on the Italian Riviera. It is in the region Liguria, in the northwest of Italy, to the west of the city of La Spezia, and comprises five villages: Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore. The coastline, the five villages, and the surrounding hillsides are all part of the Cinque Terre National Park and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was a very long day (checked in with our tour group at 6:45 am and...

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Oct 7, 2018 - Rome to Florence

Buonasera, Saturday was rainy so it was a good day for traveling. In the morning we took a taxi to the train station. We waited at the departures board for our track number to be posted. Finally it was updated to say track 11, so off we went. As the train was coming in, some people started to leave the platform. We thought it was strange but we waited for passengers to get off so we could get on. Once on-board we realized something wasn’t right...there were only a couple other people in our car. Apparently they discontinued the train at...

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Sep 24, 2018 - Day 11 - Florence - walking tour

The kids had a nice lie in this morning. We are doing a walking tour in Florence that doesn't start until 10:00am so a good opportunity for a bit of catch up for them. We had breakfast at home....toast and butter and Sarah had some yoghurt. I'm pleased I brought tea bags from home because between the 3 of us, we've been drinking quite a lot. We headed out the door with plenty of time to meet our guide Nora for the free walking tour. The tour covered the main square and the sculptures displayed there, a walk past the Uffizi Gallery, followed...

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Sep 23, 2018 - Day 10 - Siena, San Giamgnano, Pisa

Big day today. I think I may have said that a few times. We are doing our tour to Siena, San Giamgnano and Pisa so a very full day. We leave at 8:30 and return about 8:30 in the evening. It's also a big day cos it's Pete's birthday. I sent him a happy birthday message when I woke and hope to call later in the day. Woke the kids about 7 so they had time to eat something, dress and head off so we were at the train station at 8:15. Our walk over was very pleasant, the river was like a mirror so I snapped a few photos on the way. Our apartment...

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Sep 22, 2018 - Day 9 - Cinque Terre and train to Florence

Our last day on the Cinque Terre with our train to Florence leaving at 3:00pm. Valerio said he would drive us down town and then meet us at the station at 2:45 with our bags. Sounded like a good plan so we wouldn't have to worry about our bags. We decided to catch the train up and down the Cinque Terre and visit all the villages. We bought our all-day train tickets and set off for Riomaggiore, the furtherest village and decided we would work back from there. The kids didn't have breakfast before we left Valerio's so we stopped at a cafe....

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Sep 18, 2018 - Stage 25 Rest Day Siena

Everyone explored Siena separately. Tom and spent much of the day walking to the train station and planning our trip on trains with bikes, back to Switzerland from Rome. Found a great GF shop along the way. Everything GF. Fresh croissants. Etc. At the station we had a very helpful ticket man. Who had lots of patience. Bought tickets. Chatted with an enterprising young woman from Florida in the station bar. She’s setting up a wine import business. In fact at age of about 25 she seemed to be doing everything.. and was desperate to surf in...

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Sep 17, 2018 - Stage 24 San Gimignano to Siena

Overview/ Highlights Sealed roads initially then we were on white Tuscan gravel roads for quite a while. Included some steep climbs. Quite tough cycling. Followed a lovely rail trail for 6km into our morning tea stop at Colle di Val D’Elsa. A large cafe on the town square few drops of rain whilst there but nothing serious. Supermarket stop in the way out of town then back onto white gravel roads. Saw a few other cycle tourers as well as some cycle tour company groups. Took a sealed road to our lunch stop at an old fort/village on the top...

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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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