Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Changing Gears

This past Sunday, Caroline, Alex and I did a bike tour through Tuscany.
It was easily one of my favorite days abroad so far.
Even though it was only a 20 minute drive outside Florence, I felt worlds away from the city life. We rode bikes for a total of 15 miles, under a cloudless, sunny sky, in a tank top. AKA, as if I haven't already mentioned it, it's finally warm here! It felt so good to get back on a bike, get some fresh air, and after every big hill we went up, we would stop (to catch our breath) and check out the vineyards that stretched on for miles. It was pure bliss. Not to mention, we passed so many Italian bike riders along the way, and they would always wave at us and say "Buongiorno!" which made me smile, though I don't think I ever really stopped smiling that entire day. I couldn't help but be jealous that this once-in-a-lifetime bike ride for me was simply part of their weekly Sunday morning routine.
Midway through, we stopped at a vineyard to eat a delicious lunch, taste some wines, and tour the property. I knew a lot of the answers to questions our guide asked us regarding the production of wine, which made all the parents in our group laugh at me and ask "are you actually studying anything other than wine here?" I promise I am!
After lunch, we rode another route back to the starting point, and I kept wanting to take pictures, but knew I just needed to take it all in and try and make a mental image of everything I was seeing and feeling. Green rolling hills with the Duomo and snow capped mountains in the distance, olive trees lining the streets, perfectly ordered rows of grape vines, rustic, wooden signs marking each driveway leading up to a beautiful vineyard. It was the perfect combination of some of my favorite things: bike riding, good weather, great company, delicious food & wine, and incredible scenery.. Maybe I should just become one of the tour guides and get to do this daily. Yep. I definitely should.
We stopped for coffee, so, naturally, I got a mini cannoli!

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