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Tuscany & Umbria 

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by Allan Nelson & Konrad Orlowski  

Day 14 - Wednesday 27th May 1998

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Pisa - the bank raid!

Duomo - Pisa

Sunflrbt.gif (1265 bytes) None - Tourist mode today.
Kilometres: 0

Strange getting up this morning, and not getting on the bike.

I must admit to getting withdrawal symptoms as the day wore on.  I needed to pedal!

We went for breakfast in a busy square a few hundred yards from the hotel.  We were well into 'watching the locals go to work' now.  I could do that for a living.  Especially in Italy.  There were lots of bikes around.   Immaculately dressed women pedalling off to work.  Couldn't happen here we summised - the climate's against us.

After a long slow breakfast, we headed off back in the general direction of the hotel, to the banks of the Arno, and on over the Via de Roma.  As we reached the far side of the bridge, police cars appeared from everywhere, screeching to a halt just in front of us.  We leaned against the wall, and watched the drama unfold.   It seems that someone in the bank thought they were being held up, and called the police.  Police were appearing from everywhere, all brandishing guns of various sizes - one had what looked like a machine gun!  It really was just like the movies.   Two policemen disappeared inside the bank, and after a few minutes, escorted a skinny looking chap out.  He was wearing a camouflaged crash helmet!  After talking to him for a minute or so, they let him go and he climbed on his scooter and headed off up the road.  There was lots of shrugging of shoulders, and in no time at all, things were back to normal.  What struck me about all this was - what if it had been a kosher hold up?  What if the guy had come out of the bank with all guns blazing?  Not one of the police asked anyone to move (and quite a crowd had gathered).

Well, that was about as exciting as it got.  We walked around the 'Orto Botanico', Botanical Gardens, which had definitely seen better days.   With a bit more effort, they could be stunning. We took lots of photos (infact by the end of the day we'd finished our respective films off).

In the afternoon, when the sun was at it's hottest, we went back to the hotel, and 'packed the bikes'.  We'd decided that we'd pack the bikes this afternoon, and get a taxi the short distance to the airport in the morning.  It would be a lot less hassle.  As we'd disposed of the bubble wrap and cardboard when we arrived, we cut up the KarriMat we'd been carrying around with us 'just in case'.   We just had enough to wrap the tubes, and cover the chainset and rear mech.   Actually, it seemed to make a better job than the bubble wrap and cardboard.

After we came back from dinner that evening, we were amazed to see 5 Buggati's in the hotel car park.  The very ones that had been taking part in the Venta Mille which we saw passing through Poggibonsi the week before.

Sunflrbt.gif (1265 bytes) First time I'd seen someone riding a bike, with a dog on a lead trotting along beside them - and in that traffic!
Sunflrbt.gif (1265 bytes) That 'bank raid' looked like something from the Keystone Cops :-)  (Glad it wasn't for real though)

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