Under a Tuscan Cloud

Before the clouds rolled in last night we had dinner at I Cche Ce Ce, a little restaurant near our flat that came highly recommended.

It deserved the accolades; it was the best meal I had on the trip.  Very nice, attentive, and accommodating wait staff, excellent food, reasonable prices.  They started us off with glasses of Proseco on the house, and finished with a grappa.  In between, I had Tuscan bean soup, followed by Osso Bucco.  For dessert we obtained cannoli from the little sweet shop in the alley next door to our apartment building.

Somewhere in the middle of the night we were awakened by thunder, which echoed through our alleyway.  After opening the shutters, I was able to time the lightning strikes and none were more than a kilometer away.

The storm rumbled on for an hour or more.  When we got up for our bike trip, it had stopped raining, but it started drizzling while we were walking to the Tuscan Bike Tours office.  We boarded vans and rode through driving rain to the castle where the tour starts.  Actually, the van ride was a nice tour in itself.

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It was uncertain whether we could take the bike tour because of the weather, so we toured the castle, which is just a front for wine-making (Chianti) and olive oil production.  One olive tree yields a half-litre of extra virgin olive oil.  (How are extra virgins counted in a martyr’s afterlife?)  They took us to the top of the tower (outdoors) when suddenly lightning started to close in.  The guides got very worried looks on their faces and tried to usher everybody back down the stairs.

Startled tour goer dodges bolts.

Startled tour goer dodges bolts.

Just as soon as we all got inside there was a flash/boom combo that might very well have hit the lightning rod on the roof.  So we went back downstairs where they poured us the local wine and served us olives, grapes, and olive oil on bread, and we resigned ourselves to the van ride back.

Then it stopped raining.  We road downhill for the first few minutes, and stopped for lunch:  salad, three kinds of pasta, dessert, and of course more wine.  Then we started the climb back to the castle.

Vera and Rebecca admire each other's attire.

Vera and Rebecca admire each other’s attire.

Rebecca’s bike, incidentally came with a flat tire, but they switched out her bike.

Becky Armstrong

Becky Armstrong

When we got to the steep part of the return route, most of us, myself included, took the van instead of  pedaling, except for four.  Only one woman pedaled up, but at least I wasn’t the only man to wuss out.

Tuscan grape country

Tuscan grape country

Tuscan grapes

Tuscan grapes

Just before we got back to the castle (all aboard bikes) the bottom fell out.  My shoes are soaked, so I’m not sure how I’m going to wear them home.

This concludes this portion of Filbert Hockey’s Travels.  Stay tuned for the exciting photo gallery coming soon.  It should include dozens, if not hundreds, of shots of the same subject from minutely different perspectives.

Arrivederci.

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