Have you ever pictured yourself enjoying a leisurely afternoon in Tuscany, perhaps shopping and sipping wine? Well, did that vision ever include you riding a bicycle? Up until today, I must confess, mine did not, but all of a sudden here we were getting sized up for our helmets and rental bikes in the absolutely lovely village of Lucca.
We arrived via a deluxe motor coach which we boarded directly where our cruise ship had docked, at the port of Livorno, Italy. It was a gorgeous day outside and the comfortable, scenic bus ride was made even more enjoyable by the presence of our tour escort for the afternoon, a charming native who, typical for European guides, knew her historical facts like we Americans know our cheeseburgers. (I mention a food item here because we all know that Americans kind of suck at remembering history, but fast food choices? Got it.)
The width of this path was huge, similar to a wide road, but picture it as being wrapped around the entire circumference of an old city, in which no cars or vehicles are allowed inside. To top it off, this pathway is mostly dirt and/or soft green grass lined with beautiful shade trees and gorgeous garden vistas so that your bike ride is one ogling, goggling, smile-inducing view after another. If I had been a more agile or coordinated bike rider (ahem) I surely would have taken many more pictures than the few I was able to snap during our brief stops! But in lieu of those, my descriptions will have to suffice.
I should also briefly add that I’m not much of a bike rider back home so I was a little worried about my capabilities and stamina – especially because there were quite a few younger riders with us on this trip and well, you know, I didn’t want to be the ‘old lady that was huffing and puffing’ the whole way. But honestly within minutes those concerns all vanished. I say this in case anyone reading should ever question whether or not they have the ability to ride a bike in Tuscany. My advice now would be run, don’t walk, to the nearest bike shop upon arrival, and enjoy the journey!
So out of eleven possible excursions offered to us today we felt we hit the jackpot with this one. A lot of fresh air, a little exercise, just enough history so as not to overwhelm us, and most of all unexpected fun at every turn!
And then tonight? After another stunning gourmet dinner, we gained a little more culture on board the Mariner as we enjoyed an excellent entertainer, Italian tenor Ugo Paliotto from Naples. He had a powerful voice singing both opera and popular songs, and of course just oozed with Italian charm and charisma.
And it should come as no surprise that once again we ended the night on the dance floor, closing down another nightclub. But you already knew that was coming, right?