Monday, November 21, 2011

Autumn Highlights

The touring season ended a month ago, bringing my second year of guiding bike tours in Tuscany to an end. Guiding tours in the Tuscan hills while sharing its wine, food and culture from such a unique office chair is pretty awesome. It's something I dreamed of when I took my first cross-country bike tour of Italy in 1996.  It's something I dreamed of from my office on the 23rd floor of Chase Manhattan Plaza.  But who woulda thunk that there would be the place, the space and the time to live it out?

While the prolonged summer resulted in an underproductive grape and olive harvest, not to mention no porcini anywhere, we've been rewarded with an equally prolonged, unseasonably warm autumn. Which has beckoned me to soak up these last days outside before surrendering to the winter. And so in the past month, I've abandoned my touring saddle to immerse myself in outdoor events, fairs, as well as riding for pleasure in the Tuscan countryside with friends.

But that's not all.  Despite the political and economic disarray in Italy, over the past few months Florence has been outperforming itself in its repetoire of cultural events and there's no end in sight.  The city has played host to an extravagant program of concerts, fairs, feasts and exhibits.  New museums continue to pop up everywhere and the ever-more popular Mayor Renzi has launched countless new community initiatives, improvement projects, cultural events and forums.  It is also the season for theater, classical music and opera, which abounds in Florence, making it hard to decide what to do next.  Just in the past week, we've had an international documentary film fest, myriad ethnic feasts, sagre, truffle, wine and olio nuovo fairs, the Sicilian Fest, the Maggio Musicale.....the list goes on, leaving me litte time to blog.

But thanks to my IPhone, I've been able to capture a photo here and there! Memories of Autumn 2011.