Monday, 11 July 2011

Friday - Deiva Marina to Castiglione della Pescaia

Friday, 24th June
Deiva Marina - Grosseto - Castiglione della Pescaia

The Soil Cushion

Waking up at 8 am, shower and pack our baggage.  We head for breakfast!

Very nice dining area with premium cutlery, well, we did find ourselves a 4* hotel.  Breakfast on offer was the usual continental but ordered.  We much prefer the help yourself approach or even better, a good greasy English Breakfast!  Can’t beat a good English Breakfast! Nom nom!

As I haul the bags to the bike, Aimee sorted out the bill and bonjournos!

Everytime I stack the bags I manage to bungie them down a different way.  Yet as the week progresses the firmer and stronger my strapping down becomes.  Aimee cant move much the back, so I use the bag carrying our previously worn underwear (I had to find a better way of saying ‘soiled’, quite sure this was achieved) to cushion aimee’s back from the hard items in the bag.  Aimee was confused why I brought a load of electrical stuff such as wires with bits and bobs.  I wasn’t too sure either, must’ve been a reason.

Cam installed, switched on, and off we go...not before we both do a little dance infront of the camera.  Sweeping back up the valley to join the Autostrade.

Our plan was to travel to Piombino, but during the ride we decide to go that little further so the final road was shorter.

The Grosseto

It was a fair stretch of 270Km, a good 3 hours ride.  I manage to record some tunnels and Autostrade miles.  We stop off at a few stations, at one point we stopped just for some rest and shade!  The heat is a bit too much when wearing all the protective kit.

Beware the service station pit entry lanes in Italy, the lanes are very short.  Some were no longer than 10 metres, so slow down before you enter.  The UK, you have a good time to slow down before entering the actual service station.

We enter Grosseto, which is a nice looking town.  Then we find a sign for Castiglione and head on down.  The ride is very nice and flat, through yellow fields and past some army barracks.  The road actually seems endless, but there are no awkward signs to negotiate!  Just keep following the road until you hit Castiglione della Pescaia.  The way out offered more of a challenge!  Will go into that in Day 6!

We see the sea, and buildings!  Gently ride into the town with Aimee Navigational System repeating to me, Right Side! Right Side!  Thanks Aimee x  J

Hotel Hunting

We do not see any signs of hotels, as we cross a bridge, I notice in my mirror a huge complex with a huge sign shouting ‘Hotel’.  We carry on into the complex of Beachside apartments and hotels inbetween.  Park up and take off my helmet, so hot here!  Apparently we were stuck in a minor heatwave according the the weather channel.

Aimee checks out a hotel, comes back with a sullen expression. And tries a few other hotels as I ride slowly behind panting.  We cant seem to find a hotel, aimee is mildly distressed.  So we decide to go back across the bridge to see what was over there.  Maybe fate was on our side as the other side was a better placement for tourists and not Beach bums.  We find a hotel called Hotel Lucerna.

Learn how to Starfish!

The derobing process
Aimee strikes a deal and I park the bike in the hotel grounds, unpack and heavy the bags upstairs.  Nice hotel with pictures of Bull fighting and the likes.  The room, well, after sleeping in previous high quality, were..OK.  I am interested primarily in a place to sleep and starfish so wasn’t that bothered. So, of course as per our usual habits, we decide to starfish!  You should try it, especially after a 3 hour ride in 35degs heat!  Instructions as per below:

Step 1: De-robe

Step 2: Jump on a bed, lie down

Step 3: Spread legs and arms at equal angles, imitate a starfish.  Facial expressions not required. Not sure what actual Starfish do

Step 4: RELAX!

Tasting the Mediterranean

We are both confused why we did not bring shorts. Bikini or suitable footwear for a beach!  But fearing not, I found a cheap clothing store selling ill-fitting clothes...must be the Italian TK MAX.  I buy a pair of shorts and flip flops, those annoying ‘between your toes sandals’ that make you walk like an alien.  I much prefer the strap around sandals.  Aimee buys a sexy lil number, nice summer dress and bikini.

Back to the hotel, we get dressed and head out to the beach.  Two options, walk across the beach to the populated area with their lielows etc or walk across the riverbed which is dry and sandy.  At the waters edge are kids playing football and not as many people.  We decide the latter!  There are rocks acting as a break and to protect the sand from erosion, we go sit and chill.  I am the first to go swimming as we have belongings.

Off it comes, my T-shirt followed by a white glow that is my unrefined torso reflecting the suns rays, the clouds are confused..hang on, there aint any.  No wonder I cant get a tan...too white damn it!  I hear the screams while mothers cover their kids eyes...It doesn’t last too long before my white hot body is submersed into the Mediterranean.

I swim out quite far, until my feet are not touching the sand.  I do not really like swimming without snorkel... I like to see what I am swimming with.  After 20 mins I paddle back and we swap places, Aimee is reluctant saying it is cold.  There is a nice breeze though.  I assist Aimee by splashing her with water, seems to do the trick!  Aimee stays out for 10 minutes.  As we dry and chill, we watch the people doing things and inparticular the folk selling items on the beach.  We remark at them and the heat, they walk around with at least 10 towels over the shoulder and carrying all manner of goods.  As far as I witnessed, they sold nothing.  I hope they are doing ok!

The ducklings, castle and dodgy cinema

We head for a walk, stop by the hotel to drop off some items. Then head up behind the hotel where we find we have a hotel right in the heart of town.  Shops, ristorantes and a Castle.  We find a ristorante and order some food!  It looks of Bavarian origin, but I am told the Italians of the Alps also dress like those from Munich.  We eat up, pay up and get up. Walking around looking at the goods we promise ourselves an Icecream later on, Icecream becomes a primary objective for the lasting days of the trip!

We find a steep path which looks like it winds to the castle, on the way we pass a dark stone doorway with what looks to be the local cinema.   Showings are a few times a week, I imagine they use Cinefilm and have a darkened hall or old dungeon to show the movies.  We decide to head back down and again promise to go up there later on!
We find a little promenade and find ducklings panicking, then we hear around the corner the distressed shouting of the mother, no doubt telling off her lil’uns!  We round off and head back for a chill out! 

Aimee perspired so much she shrank

At 7pm we head back out to hunt for food!  But become distracted by the castle and find an entrance, looks really old.  Then find ourselves in the grounds which reminds me of Mdina, Rabat, Malta.  Except the streets are steep.  And people live here!  How wonderful, these old buildings are being lived in and kept tidy.  We find the top, where we are blessed with a magnificent view! The view extends far into the distance, hills to the left of us with forest behind the shore line until it meets what looks like another town, possibly Marina di Grosseto followed by an island further on called Monte Argentario.

The Ristorante with Pick and Mix!

We head back down and find a ristorante, Aimee discusses if we can sit outside and we do.  The breeze is still apparent and seems like it is getting stronger as the night progresses.  We are given some pompedoms, for some reason Aimee thinks I said Condoms.  I wonder what was on her mind?  The waitress was shocked that we do not want wine with our food, just table water please! The food took a while but was nice!  Paid up and we decided to venture into the street we had been to earlier to get an icecream.  This place certaintly comes alive in the evening!

The streets are so busy!  The Icecream idea is thrown out for the window for tonight so we wander among the Italians and some Americans.  Aimee spies a candy shop with here hawk like eyes, or extra sensitive buds.  We collect 3 bags worth of sweets, while I am outside waiting, Aimee is struggling with the cashier.  We purchased too much and aimee had to ditch a bag.

We decide now to head back after a short walk along the quayside.

Chill out, I transfer the content of the memory card to my MSI Wind netbook.   Very good Net book by the way, always dependable!  And survived the bumps and maybe the only laptop to travel at 120 mph, probably better than Isle of Man Internet speeds!?

Sleep!  For tomorrow is Icecream hunt! 


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