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Italy - Day 7 : Tuscany

When we woke up the man next to us had already left. After 5 days of cycling we were more than a day ahead of the minimal distance required to catch the bus. Instead of cycling directly from Pisa to Florence we would therefore make a loop through Tuscany and spent half a day in Florence. At this campsite we again needed to pay less than we the normal fee. They had charged us for 2 people and only one tent. We didn't mind because this campsite was ridiculously expensive. Pisa lies on a large plain, cut through by a river. The only road running in our desired direction was a highway, so we were forced to take a 10 km long detour. The first 40 km went fast, cycling was a lot easier now the roads was flat. After a quick stop at a supermarket we continued to Volterra. The landscape became increasingly desolate and mountainous.

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View over Tuscany
 

We finally arrived in an area that looked like how I had imaged Italy, dry, hot and a lot of plains filled with cypresses and a few houses. It looked just like a pasta commercial.

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In a Tuscan village
 

Volterra is a relatively large town, on top of a mountain. The climb wasn't very steep but it was ridiculously hot today. During the climb we met a group of cyclists from Switzerland. They were between 40 and 60 years old and cycled about as fast as us. They were cycling from Zurich to Rome. One man told Bram 'yeah we are cycling 120 km a day, but we don't carry luggage'. Bram thought it was better not to reply to that. We talked with them for a while until they took a break. The last part of the climb was pretty steep. In a supermarket we bought way too much food and cycled to the old center to eat. There was an old lady hanging out of her window spying on us and everything else.

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View over Volterra

During the descent we were completely blow dried. We passed through a few villages that were all build on hills. It was so hot we each drank 7 liters of water today. Near the end of the day we were out of water and in search of a supermarket. There was one in a nearby village, but it was closed for another hour. We took a detour to find another village. We arrived at some geo-energy plant with some houses next to it. The entire mountain was covered in aluminum tubing. Luckily we found some water (and a closed supermarket). The following road climbed up through a forest, sometimes at an 10% incline. At the bottom of the descent was a city that would likely have a supermarket.

 

Upon arrival we asked a lady if there was one, but she didn't understand my English. I knew just enough Italian to say 'supermercato' to which she pointed downhill. We bought a bunch, including a kilo of cherries. In a park we sat down to eat in the shade. I was super hungry so ate three quarters of the cherries. I could feel I was getting in shape and more used to the heat, therefore I had less difficulty keeping up with Bram.

 

Near the end of the day the landscape got less dry and there were more forests. We could cycle to Florence in three ways, a short, medium, or long road. We chose the medium one, which was about 100 km. First we still needed to climb a lot though. After the descent we followed a river for about 10 km. By then it was already 9 and we arrived at a village on top of a mountain, called Roccatederighi.

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View over Roccatederighi
 

All stores were closed. After the village we sought a place to camp, which was difficult because there were still many houses. Eventually we found a steep path leading down the mountain along some meadows. 

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Today's camping spot
 

Bram noticed a fire fly when it started to get dark, a while later there were at least 30. I had pitched my tent without the outer tent so it would be less warm. When I woke up in the middle of the night the flies were still there.

The route of day 7

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Height profile of day 7. The flag indicates Volterra, afterwards it was still hilly. 
Around 110 km the GPS lost signal for a while

 

Distance cycled : 165 km