by bike  
Tuscany & Umbria 

  Site home page  |  Mechanics  |  Tour  |  Gallery  |  Contact us

by Allan Nelson & Konrad Orlowski  

Day 4 - Sunday 17th May 1998

<< day 3     day 5 >

Siena to Siena

In Sienna - In the rain - With a broken wheel

Sunflrbt.gif (1265 bytes) What route?
Kilometres: 0

Had a good breakfast in the hotel, collected all our stuff together, paid up and went to load the bikes. Konrad thought he'd just put a bit more air in his back tyre - which he did, however, when he hung the second pannier on the back, B A N G.

At first we thought he'd just blown the tyre off the rim, but on closer inspection, it was much worse. The rim had split. It was Sunday today of course, so there were no bike shops open, and we were going to be stuck in Siena for another 24 hours. The more we thought about it, the more we realised how lucky he'd been. If the rim had gone coming down the descent from Castellina in Chianti yesterday, he probably wouldn't be here now. We were doing well over 60kph in several places. No, if it had to go anywhwere, then this was the place for it to go.

So, the plan was to be a conventional tourist for today, buy a pair of wheels tomorrow and get back on schedule. We went back into the hotel, and re-booked our room for the night, then changed and went off for a walk around Siena.

Lovely steep winding streets, terracotta roof tiles, and surprisingly, not very busy. We went to the Campo, a huge sloping Piazza of honey coloured bricks which is apparently where the name of the colour 'Burnt Siena' comes from, and up the 12th Century Bell tower (500+ steps). It's quite a climb, but the views are tremendous. Once you're at the top, it's also well worth going the extra few steps up to the bell, vertigo permitting. On the descent, I stepped into a 'window' to let some others pass who were on their way up, and as I was there, took another photograph. I assumed Konrad was still behind me, and carried on down. I got to the bottom (1000+ steps negotiated), and waited - and waited - and waited. As Konrad's eyes aren't too good in the semi-darkness, I thought I'd better go back up and look for him. I went right back to the top (that's 1500+ steps now!) and he wasn't there.  I looked over the top, and who do I see 500+ steps below, wandering around Il Campo, oblivious to all this - Konrad. So, back down again. That's well over 2,000 steps! Still, it came in handy whenever I felt a bit tired during the next couple of days - 'if I hadn't had to climb 2,000 steps, I'd be fine' ;-)

After all those steps, we decided to have a pizza in the piazza. Half way through, the clouds rolled in, the sun disappeared, the wind sprang up, and the heavens opened. A terrific thunderstorm ensued.  Amazing, at 11:40 we were sat in glorious sunshine, and by 12:30 the piazza was flooded (and deserted).  We waited and waited for the rain to ease, but we were getting quite cold, the temperature really had dropped, so we made a dash back to the hotel.  After we'd dried out, we planned a new schedule for tomorrow.  We decided that we'd head for Asciano and Sinalunga as planned, then instead of going to Cortona, we'd go directly to Montepulciano which is where we'd planned to be tomorrow night anyway. Fingers crossed that we can get a pair of wheels fairly quickly tomorrow.

Tonight we walked around Siena again, and had a meal in a restaraunt just off Il Campo. Quite expensive, but delicious! Watching a waiter chatting up two American ladies was very entertaining too. Hope he got a good tip. We did notice he sold them two very expensive bottles of red. Maybe he's on commission.

Sunflrbt.gif (1265 bytes) Looking at that storm, I'm rather glad we weren't on the bikes today!
Sunflrbt.gif (1265 bytes) Are the God's smiling on us or what!  We couldn't have picked a better place to be 'stuck'.
Sunflrbt.gif (1265 bytes) Missed the cycling badly today.  We were just getting into it.

< day 3     day 5 >