Friday, August 14, 2009

Exploring Some New Territory

The streets are getting hotter and emptier. I'm surprised at how well I've adjusted to the heat in Florence. It's easy whenever I think of what it was like living in Brooklyn as a kid, when the only way you could cool off was by taking numerous cold baths, and fanning yourself with the refrigerator door. On some streets the kids would open up the fire hydrants. And the police didn't stop them. Nothing like New York heat where the city streets would burn straight through your soles and you could barely make it to the street corner without passing out. This, in Florence is ever more bearable, although most people here are looking quite uncomfortable.

Florence is suddenly emptying out in a mass exodous for the beach. It is Ferragosto (August vacation) which will climax this Saturday, 15 August, (which is the equivalent of our Labor Day.) Florence will be totally deserted on Saturday. I am looking forward to it in order to more meaningfully connect with la mia bella citta' (my beautiful city) even more intimately. I want to get to know her better. I am her new resident and few people have that priviledge. I am blessed and a day doesn't go by that I don't appreciate this gift.

Rolling out of Florence on my bike has been an amazing adventure. Every moment is filled with endless roads whose beauty is spellbinding. Riding under the cypress trees with the intoxicating smell of pine, seeing the abundant groves of olive trees, the old stone houses, the wildflowers along the road, the green fields dotted with bales of hay and laced with vineyards, is beyond stupendous . After climbing up to Fiesole, a whole new world opens up in the roads beyond. The only human beings to be seen are local cyclists. Many still bucking the helmet idea.

Today I ventured out again to ride at the higher elevations up to Bvigliano, where it's always guaranteed to be at least 15 - 20 degrees cooler than in Florence. A natural choice. Then I headed up to Scarperia in the Mugello area of Tuscany. I stopped to have a quick panino and feeling so strong and motivated, I decided to have a tiny glass of vino rosso. What a mistake! What had seemed like a flat road on the way from Pratolino didn't feel so flat on the way back.