May 18, 2017
You know, we’re not ‘cyclists’ by any means, we’re just going on a really uncomfortably long bicycle ride through the rolling hills of Tuscany: Siena to Montalcino to Pienza, and back. That’s why we don’t use the word ‘cycling’, and instead, we say ‘bicycling’. It’s different. Cycling is with Lycra and teeny tiny thin tires. Bicycling is with Lululemon outfits and batteries to help us get up hills. I can’t imagine this bicycle ride without this electric bike. We were going uphill at 20km/hr!
We bicycled and bicycled. Today felt like a total breeze compared to yesterday. Knowing we were only going 30km today (as opposed to yesterday’s 50!) made everything feel just a little easier. We arrived at San Quirico d’Orcia and decided that this would be our place for lunch. We pulled up to the old town wall, where we saw an unassuming stone staircase leading up to one of the turrets. We parked our bikes, locked ‘em up, and brought our picnic lunch up to the top. There, we sat and ate our €15 lunch with our €1million view. The prosciutto, the pecorino, the fresh bread. The orange, the banana. Oh my gosh, it all tasted so much better sitting on top of a fortress wall, looking out over ALL OF TUSCANY! Everyday is an adventure. And every meal can be five star.
We stopped again when we arrived in Bagno Vignoni, with hopes of finding a hot spring to swim in! This place is known for its huge Roman bath, and all the blogs and reviews celebrated the free hot springs open to tourists! We bicycled up the long, windy hill, and arrived at the top, only to find that no, in fact, there is no swimming allowed in the bath. If we couldn’t partake in any free hot springs, we would have expensive gelato instead! I had stracciatella, a sweet milk-based gelato with chocolate pieces swirled into it. Oh boy, I do love some gelato.
We left Bagno Vignoni and after a breezy bicycle uphill (thanks electric bike!) arrived in Pienza. We found our AirBnB quite quickly, as it is right on the edge of the old town and the old town of Pienza is teeny tiny. This evening, we decided we would have a picnic for dinner. We went across the street to a market and bought some meat, cheese, the most beautiful tomato you’ve ever seen, and some antipasto. We asked the man at the market if they sold porchetta, a pork dish Pienza is famous for, and he laughed, “no, we do not have enough room.” Huh? He told us where we could buy some in the old town.
We found the place and when we went inside, the salty smell of cured meat filled our noses. There, behind the display glass, was an entire pig, roasted, cured, salted, and cut in half. Ohhhhhh, that’s why he didn’t have enough room at the last place, because porchetta is an ENTIRE PIG! We ordered our porchetta and the old Italian lady working behind the counter hand sliced three beautiful pieces.
We had the most perfect picnic ever this evening. The tomato, the cheese, the meats, the antipasto, the wine, the view! Oh, the view. I may have a sore butt from bicycling, but I have a glowing heart. I’m truly having the time of my life.