The deeper you head into Tuscany the more expansive it becomes. The estates also become bigger, and so do the houses. The roads are better too. You can feel the wealth wherever you look. Siena and San Gimignano were mobbed with tourists and yet it's only June 3. I pity anyone who lives as a normal resident in those cities. Today's ride headed south until eventually I crossed the regional border between Tuscany and Lazio. Along this ride I was surrounded on every side by large wheat growing farms and "agriturismo" who seemingly cater for the high-end tourists. Once I had crossed the non-descript bridge over a dry creek bed that marks the Tuscany-Lazio border, the roads were noticeably in much poorer condition, the landscape was dotted with forests and I made my way around the impossibly large Lake Bolsena. Traffic also became heavier as I encountered the masses making their way home on a Sunday afternoon following a three day weekend. After the physical hardship of the past few days my reality check set in when I came across a Commonwealth War Cemetery on the eastern side of Lake Bolsena. 600 men are buried here and like every cemetery the Commonwealth War Cemeteries Commission looks after these graves are in immaculate condition. Overlooking Lake Bolsena it was a fittingly stark reminder of just how many gave their lives for a real cause. Especially poignant in light of the cowardly attacks last night in London. Tomorrow, it's on to Rome and the last leg of my journey.
What's a ride through Tuscany without the iconic house view ....
Meet Phil and Veronica. Two Kiwi's grabbing life with all four hands. I met them outside a supermarket as they made their way north to Paris and this was their first day of riding. They hope to be there by August. Serial bikers (they rode from Mexico to Vancouver a year of two ago) they had all the gear and that special "can do" attitude that Kiwi's are famous for. They were even using a paper map! Was a lovely 45 mins swapping details of riding experiences and suggestions. 1,900 km into a 2,000 km ride and I finally meet some fellow antipodeans! Who would've thought? Highlight of my day by a country mile.
Tuscany certainly provides its iconic views.
A "beach" in the middle of Italy!
Lake Bolsena Commonwealth War Cemetery ....
I have seen 322,456 of these signs since leaving Richmond in the UK on April 25. Number of deer actually seen? 0. Yup. Big round doughnut. 0.