Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Party and a ride on the day of the epiphany in Florence

Fun day today.  A friend from the team invited us over for a party to celebrate the epiphany then to go watch the parade.  The group was breaking up before the parade, and I probably had my times mixed up, but Emily and I left to find the parade early.  Alas, I think everyone else had the timing correct, as we were early.  Anyway, I am not real good in crowds, which would definitely show up when the parade happened.  So,  with beautiful blue skies, and predicted warm temperatures, I walked home and suited up for a ride.  Good decision, as a nice ride always makes me feel good or better.  In a rare occurrence for me, I only had a couple of Mimosas this morning, then switched to straight orange juice.  Normally when something like that is offered, I just keep going with it until I go, hold it.  Today, I switched early.  Perhaps because it was only 11:00 when we started, but either way I stopped early.

The party was fun, and there were around 5 people from the team there along with many other friends of Barbara.  I talked to one person, Luca (yes, another Luca) who did a lot of cycling, but during the winter did a fair amount of mountain biking here.  He invited me to join his group of locals, and will sometime give me a call.  He said he would arrange for a mountain bike, which is really nice.  I talked to lots of people, and it was a nice mixture of Italians, mostly Florentines, and expats, mostly from the US.  Barbara has been here for I think around 10 years, and has good friends from both groups.  It was fun, and although my Italian is always a challenge, it worked reasonably when I needed and wanted to speak with the Italians.

My ride was out the main road to Le Falle, then up to Monteloro, then up to Montefanna, before descending back to Florence through Fiesole and Pian de Mugnone.  36.3 kilometers in 1:40 for an average of 21.7 kph with 596 meters of climbing.  Another great ride!

Today is epiphany here in Florence, and the statue animals at the 
creshe in piazza del Duomo are replaced with real animals, as you 
see here.  There is a parade from the Pitti palace to this location with 
the three wise men bearing gifts.  Also, many people in medieval costumes
and the flag throwers, which is pretty neat to watch.  I did not wait for the 
parade, as it was coming slowly, with many, many more people, and the
beautiful day was calling out to me to go for a ride, which I did.

A winter view from just above the monastery below Monteloro.

Winter vines above the road to Monteloro.

I took an extra climb today on this beautiful little road to Montefanna.

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