Lets start by saying that this was not what we intended!
Yes, we slept like the proverbial logs again. Had breakfast in the main square, and then off with just one pannier apiece, as we were staying here another night. We climbed out of the town, and on up to the town of San Gimignano. Loads of tourists and coaches all over the place, which took the edge off the place for me. Especially as almost everywhere else wed been to had been so quiet even Assisi.
We tried to arrange our accommodation for the next two nights in Pisa, but the local tourist information offices dont seem to be able to book ahead for you. They sent us to a place called Munditravel, where the staff were very helpful and agreed to do it, - but (there always is isnt there) they couldnt do it now. Wed have to call back tomorrow morning and theyd let us know what theyd found. We hadnt planned on calling into San Gimignano again on tomorrows ride to Pisa, but that was it, take it or leave it. We told them wed be back tomorrow at around 10:00am and left San Gimignano for Certaldo. We passed through Certaldo and took the road for Lungagnana (mainly because it sounded nice).
We followed a white road on the map which took us up a very steep climb (probably the steepest wed hit yet), then the road deteriorated into a very unmade surface, and continued to climb steeply. We found ourselves on the top of a ridge, with the road switchbacking up and down across the top. Eventually, we got back to some tarmac and a couple of signposts. One was for Certaldo, and the others were barely readable, but we couldnt find any reference to the places on the map. We now didnt have a clue where we were, so decided to follow them anyway. The road dived down, and then deteriorated once more (but worse than before), so reluctantly, we re-traced our steps and followed the road down to Certaldo. Eventually we reached a main road, headed right for Certaldo then took the next left for Barberina Val dElsa (15km). This is without doubt the hardest 15km I have ever cycled. The road just got steeper and steeper, and I wasnt feeling particularly frisky today for some reason. Thank God I only had one pannier on! At last we reached the town, but had a stiff climb up into the town proper to find a bar, right on the crest of the hill. Coffee, 1 litre of lemon soda and cake were very welcome and much needed. Just before we left, it started to rain, so it was on with the jackets and off down (mostly) to Poggibonsi, and finally back to Colle di Val dElsa. Ive never been so glad to get back. I was absolutely stuffed for some reason. I wasnt looking forward to the detour to San Gimignano tomorrow.
On the plus side, we had a great meal tonight.
Bruschetta alle pomodoro (again), 2 Omelette herbe formaggio each (2 of the best omelettes Ive ever had the pleasure to eat and they werent small!), Mixed side salad, Strawberry yoghurt ice cream with fruits of the forest (and the usual litre or two of red wine).
The service in the restaurant was really friendly. We were the only ones in. I dont know how some of these places keep going. The chef came for a chat, and an old chap who sells him his sheeps cheese came over and insisted we try some. I can tell you, it doesnt go well with strawberry ice cream :-(