Friday, June 22, 2012

Swimming at the 4 seasons, ride to Vincigliata

Yesterday, Thursday, Emily spent the day babysitting, and I did some marketing work for Riding With Cosimo, then picked up Viola at school, taking her home on the bus.  Last day of school for the year for Viola and she and the family are off to Forte de Marmi tomorrow.  Emily stayed with the kids while I did some errands during nap / quiet time, then off for a big adventure.  Kate was invited with the kids for swimming at the 4 Seasons, a beautiful hotel in the center of Florence.  Kate was working, so Emily and I were cleared to go instead.  After nap, Vittorio had his first bus ride, and all 4 of us were there.  The wife of the owner had invited us, and we had a beautiful, though energetic and tiring afternoon.  After getting used to the water (the kids had not been swimming since last August), which only took about 5 minutes, both were happy and insisting to be in the water all the time we were there.  Vittorio and I swam and I threw him up with him dunking his head all the way under water when he came down.  After shaking it off, he just laughed and asked for more, which he does by holding up one finger and saying moooor.  Viola was just as happy there, and we were dragging them away around 6:45 when they were setting up for a very fancy party.  A stage, instruments for music, floating flower arrangements, bars, etc.  We got everyone home, again on the bus, and then Kate was home quite quickly after us.  Emily and I were on our way home by 8:15, then happily just hanging out here the remainder of the evening.  I did not take any pictures, sorry.

This morning, after breakfast, I went for one of my standard quick rides.  From the apartment, out Via Faentina, under the train tracks in the sotto passegiata, then finding the way through Piazza della Cure, then back to Via Faentina.  It climbs gradually to Pian de Mugnone, where I turn off to climb to Fiesole.  This piece is quite steep in places, and as it is part of the world championship course a year from this fall, I have been assured that parts are over 15%.  The steep parts are not long, and it is really a reasonable climb to Fiesole.  You climb out of Fiesole for a kilometer or two, then continue climbing toward the turn off to Vincigliata.  There the road drops, narrows and the real fun begins.  Just for kicks, I counted 12 full 180 degree switchbacks on the way down.  This is a really fun descent.  Towards the bottom and Coverciano, I turn off and follow / climb some back roads toward Miano, then finish the descent to Firenze and home.  Total distance of around 24k in a little over an hour.  Fun  ride.

The start of Via Faentina along the Mugnone after Piazza della Cure.

Flowering tree along the steep road from Pian de Mugnone to Fiesole.

Looking down into the Etruscan and Roman ruins almost to Fiesole.

The incredibly beautiful, narrow road down to Vincigliata, then Firenze.

After returning home, I had a meeting with the activity director at the Palazzo Tornabuoni, which is a 4 Season residence club, basically million dollar plus timeshares.  The meeting was great, and it appears I will be on the agenda for a couple of outings in July and August.  Then over to Kate's to help with the kids while she finished the packing up for 5 weeks at the beach.  We went out to lunch, had some great pizza, then helped take the stuff and the kids to the car and they were off.  We will visit a couple of times while they are there, but basically have some quieter time here, for Emily especially, as she does the bulk of the babysitting.  

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