Once we'd landed at Pisa, we
collected the bikes and panniers (unscathed) and phoned Sergio who was coming to collect
us. While waiting for him to arrive we unpacked the bikes outside the airport
building. We'd just finished when two total strangers came up and introduced
themselves. Sergio and Daniela. We'd met at last. The plan was that
Konrad would travel in the car with Daniela (plus the 3kgs of tea), and Sergio and I would
ride the bikes.
The car pulled away and Sergio and I
set off after it. I vaguely recognised some of the buildings and roundabouts as we
made our way through the ever darkening streets. It soon became apparent that red
lights, one way streets and other distractions don't affect cyclists in Italy. By
the time we reached the house it was quite dark. Sergio's daughter, Adele and their
friends Antonio and Maria were there to meet us.
Sergio's house is beautiful, for
several reasons. The first one has to be it's location, with unrestricted views of
his favourite ride 'Monte Serra'. He told us he picked the plot for just this
reason. The second has to be the enormous (and that doesn't do it justice)
garage/workshop in the basement. You could run a small engineering company from there! And
another? What else - he has his own pizza oven!
I'd read on the plane coming over
that when you visit an Italian house you should take a gift of one of two things - tea or
whisky. Well we had 3kg's of the stuff! After handing that over, we settled
down to an excellent meal of home made 'Italian' pizza. It was great to finally put
faces to these names we'd come to know over the past months.