Joy Ride

Although yesterday was our last full day dedicated to Firenze, we still have another before we pack up and move on.  Today, we are taking a road trip.  Avery’s first choice of activities while in Italia… a Vespa tour…Andiamo!

I scheduled this full day tour with Tuscany Vespa Tours.  I did a little bit of research and these guys received great ratings.  The meeting location was (once again) in the Santa Croce area.  We arrived at about 9:30 for a 10:00 departure, checked in, loaded in a couple of vans and made our way out of town to meet our motorbikes.

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The drive took a while.  Now I am beginning to understand the “7 hour tour”.   We first stopped at a castle/winery to take advantage of the bagnos and grab our helmets.

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Back in the vans we are off to our second stop which looks kinda like a rec center parking lot.  There are plenty of cars in the circle lot, but this is where we get to know our scooters.  I will admit, the first spin around I was a bit nervous, but to their credit, they make you do many.  While we are all doing laps, they observe.  There is one lady they advised to enjoy riding on the back of a scooter as a passenger and not as a driver.  Luckily, Avery and I both made the cut.  I will be touring with “Spiderman” today.

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We are in a small townish outside of Florence, but there is still traffic.  They split us up into two groups and give us a bit of information of how we should follow the leader.  There are six or so of us to a group.  I am number 4 in the line and Avery is 5.

We start off having to merge into traffic, take a couple of roundabouts then head into the hills.

It was such a thrill to putt through the Tuscan hills.  It was difficult to take all the beauty in.  I found myself trying to commit each view to memory, but then the next would rush in.  Varied greens and golds, patchwork sections with vines and orchards creating the pattern play.

During our roam, we made two or three stops to touch base with the leader and take in the views.

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At our stops, Avery would have to remind me, “Mom…take off your helmet.”  “But I am just going to have to put it back…..”  “Mom….take OFF your helmet.”

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At each stop, we learned a little bit more about the land, the grapes and the towns in the distance.  However, our pace prevented me from taking any notes.  All the more reason to take a tour again on a return visit.

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Hopping back on our bikes after a brief stop the air was warm but welcome.

The footage I am sharing here is not the most beautiful we saw.  This was towards the end when I was determined to capture at least a glimpse on film.

You know my family is FULL of suggestions, well I have a suggestion for Tuscany Vespa Tours.  They really should have an employee between the two groups with a GoPro on their helmet.  They could zip in and out capturing video as well as still shots.  Then we could pay a bit extra for a copy of the priceless footage….Hey…maybe I just invented a summer job for me.  This is something Dalton would be great at.  Avery and I know he would LOVE this experience and he would have his GoPro clamped and ready.

I do not advise zipping in and out of your spot in line as a novice though.  I found myself sucking in several times as cars, and my favorite, little transport trucks passed us as we putted.

After about an hour and a half of touring, we stopped for lunch.  A small, roadside trattoria had been chosen.  We parked, raising our seats as to not burn our posteriori upon our return and were welcomed with a lovely, traditional Tuscan summer spread.

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You could tell our tour leaders had a fun rapport with the owner/chef.  Our guys kinda double as waiters and hosts.  Towards the end of our lunch, as the last bites and sips were being claimed and plates were being cleared.  I saw the owner come out, prodding Angus, our guide, along.  The owner was laughing about something and began pointing at Avery.  Angus said, “Each time he picks someone to stay behind and help wash dishes.  He has chosen Avery.”  We all laughed as Avery gave prankster the smile he longed for.

Nourished and hydrated, we hit the hills again.

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Andiamo!!

This Vespa tour was SO much fun and definitely fulfilled Avery’s expectations.  If you  knew your surroundings a bit and could roam around on these for a day, visiting teeny towns and wineries…what an adventure that would be.  Perhaps there is a company that does custom tours.  Gee…I keep coming up with sound reasons to do this ancora!

But before we are able to be independent…we (both Avery and I) need to be master getting our scooter up on their kickstands!  I only accomplished it once.  Angus mentioned he knew he “had arrived” when during his first few days in Italia, he witnessed a women perform this in stilettos.

We made our way back to the “rec center” and returned our bikes.

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Such fun memories with Avery in my rearview!!

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Once our bikes were stored, we boarded the van again and returned to il castello.

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We concluded our time together with a brief tour and tasting of vino della casa.

Later that evening we talked about our time in Firenze over un altro bicchiere di vino at Le Volpi e l’uva.

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As we passed Vespa after Vespa on our via, Avery throws back a knowing glance…until we meet again…

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