Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Cinque Terre to San Gimignano

We had a great nights sleep; probably due to the state of exhaustion that we were in after yesterdays exertions. I don't remember 8km of walking without a real backpack being so exhausting although it was really hot.

Woke up bright and early and we were packed and on the road by 09:30, it seems to take us about 20 minutes to setup and take down the campsite which isn't such a long time.

Our first stop, more because it happened to be pretty much directly on our path was Pisa to see the leaning tower. I can confirm that it really is leaning and it looks quite unnatural that it is still in one piece and standing.

We had a bite to eat and some coffee at the cafe across the road and I snapped this of a police officer walking away from me. Now guys, don't you wish that every police officer looked like this?

The cops here walk, cycle or drive around in pairs, one man and one woman which I found to be interesting since that is not how it is done in South Africa.

Dotted around the leaning tower were loads of people having their photographs taken while they act as if they are holding up the tower. If the photographer aligns the camera, the actor and the tower just right it could look quite good. I tried to get Caron to pose but it was a no go.

I'm glad that we had only planned on a whistle stop visit to the leaning tower of pizza because the number of touts and hawkers made it an unpleasant experience. One couldn't walk more than 50m without being asked to buy a fake rolex or sunglasses or something else one just doesn't need and one gets the feeling that one is being cased. Maybe I'm just more sensitive to it than I used to be but I really find it annoying.

Thankful to leave Pisa behind we headed out into tuscany to the town of San Gimignano where we found an awesome camping site which is well treed so we have shade almost the entire day. Pretty wierd to be searching for shade when a couple of weeks ago we were desperate for just a few hours of sunshine.

The Tuscan countryside is, as andre puts it, 'achingly beautiful' and it truly is.

The actual town was founded and is still is, a tourism town. When it was founded it housed and fed pilgrims on their way to Rome and when the pilgrim route changed it's prosperity plummetted which, as it turned out, is part of it's charm because it is extremely well preserved and reminds us a bit of Bellagio but without the lake of course. Without the pollution as well come to think of it. Streets are clean, no touts and very beautiful. Just perfect.

We spent a bit of time wandering around taking photographs before resolving to return after dark to try some nighttime pictures, it should lend itself to some nighttime photography.

Heading back for camp we had a hodge-podge supper because we are trying to finish the half bottle of this and quarter packet of that because our limited packing space is being consumed by various foods which we don't want to throw out but aren't enough, in themselves, to make a meal.

Caron is looking longingly at buying some limoncella which is an alcoholic lemonade type of drink and I am sure that in a couple of days I will be able to report back and give an honest comparison between it and witblitz!

We had a chat with an Austrian cyclist who is touring on his own which must be a lonely way to tour and Caron is convinced that he's gay because when he arrived he was wearing a cerise jersey and that was it; he's gay. I must make a note never to wear cerise! It was a little tricky talking to him due to the language barrier but interesting nonetheless. He was compaining about the water here which is not bad but not great either and he was comparing it with the water in austria that they get from the snowmelt. I know this may sound a little malicious but I got the definite feeling that there was a little bit of Austrian superiority on display there.

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