2020 and 2021 seemed to have lasted for an eternity. And an eternity with few rays of sunshine to which we could desperately cling.
Now it's mid-summer 2021, and the world is, mostly, opening up, with the power of modern medicine having delivered safe and effective vaccines (just go get your shot if you haven't). The distribution could have been better, but we are at least moving in the right direction. For me, as a result of a Johnson & Johnson injection, and one sweaty night's sleep, life can become normal(ish) again (Plug: go visit Jason at The Haven in JP, he'll be happy to see you all!)
For the Summer of 2020 I had been planning to tour through cheesemakers of Italy & Switzerland, traveling up through the Appenines and Alps, all on a bicycle. But, this morphed as the pandemic took hold, into a July trip to Vermont (which was a blast) and a September trip through MA (which wasn't so picturesque).
Finally this year, like many vaccinated others, my travels are back on to a degree: on July 8th, I'm able to enter Italy.
For 3 weeks, I'll be riding through il bel paese, taking in Lazio, Umbria, Tuscany, Emilia-Romagna, San Marino, Marche and Abruzzo. About 1300 km (800 miles). There will be some cheese, some coffee and some pastries, I imagine, and I'm sure there will be some spectacular countryside. No offense to the fields of Massachusetts, but I think the rolling poplar covered hills of Tuscany may have beaten you.
The same trusty Kona bicycle will take me on this trip as my previous tours last year. It's solidly built, heavy and will take anything that fate and Italian roads will throw at it. And I'll be traveling very light this time. I'm not camping, which removes the heavy camping gear and stoves and such.
There will be time for another camping tour soon.
You can see below how you have to pack up a bike in a box which measures only 32x120x75 cm - the wheels will go on top of the bike, followed by the hard lid. All in all it's probably a bit less than 20 kgs.
Once I get there, I hope that I will have time to share with you some, if not all, of the journey. I know I'll be staying in a caseificio outside of Montepulciano, and hope to visit the caseificio who made the Gran Mugello (one of our favorites in the shop), outside of Firenze. These should make great stories. Traveling light will likely also mean that what is purchased, will also be eaten, on the hoof, as it were.
There are worse ways to live.
Ci parliamo presto…