Monday was going to be a travel day, therefore no time for a last ride. My flight was departing from Milano on Tuesday, but to make it in time, my sister and I traveled up on Monday afternoon and spent the night near the airport. My sister went to work as usual on Monday morning, and mid afternoon, I would meet her in Florence.
I had also had something I wanted to do before catching the two twenty five bus out of the town. After packing my bags, and eating a quick meal, I left the house and walked five or so minutes over to the roundabout on one of the main roads into town. By the time I got there, there was already a decent group of people gathered around and waiting. The police had cordoned off the roads and were on hand for possible crowd control.
Yes, Il Giro d’Italia was going to pass right through town. I think I waited about forty five minutes or so. As time ticked away, we were greeted by a few cars, some official, some press and some team related. Every so often some motorcycles would streak by. These were all signs that Il Giro was fast approaching.
Suddenly a group of cars motorcycles came rushing through. In the middle was a lone cyclists from Il Giro. He was on a solo breakaway with about five minutes on the main group.
After the initial excitement died down, we waited about five more minutes for the main group to come through. Suddenly, they were here. close to two hundred riders rode by followed by team cars with loads of bikes.
Just as the last of the vehicle slipped through, I ran back to the apartment, and grabbed my luggage and ran for the bus stop at the train station. Of course, the bus ended up being twenty or so minutes late. The fifty minute ride to Florence was uneventful except for the loss of my RockyMounts hat I got for free from them. I think I dropped it in the bus while I was dozing off.
Meeting up with my sister, we got on the high speed train to Milan. It is fun knowing that I am on a train that will make the journey in an hour and forty-five minutes at close to three hundred kilometers per hour (over one hundred and eighty miles per hour.) Back in the day it used to take more then four hours.
In Milan, we grabbed the train to the airport and from there the hotel shuttle. For dinner, we took advantage of the restaurant in the hotel, and the price fixe meal they offered with our room.
The next morning we got to the airport around eight in the morning even though my flight was not until twelve thirty. My sister had to get back to Florence by twelve for work. In the end it was a good thing. I had to wait two hours online at checkin since Alitalia checkin system was not working. This did not offer me whole lot of time before boarding time, but, the lines at security were not that long so I whizzed right through.
Arriving in New York, I also breezed right through immigration, which is a first for me. More train rides and I finally made it home in time for dinner. As per usual, this trip was all too short. Considering that there is another trip in the works in the fall, I could not take as much time off as I would have liked. I am also right smack in the middle of Road and Track season, so I tried to plan this trip in order to miss the least amount of races.
All said and done, I must say that I really do miss being in Italy. Most of all, I miss my sister. She is, and always will be, my best friend. Throughout our childhood, straddling three countries, we came to rely on each other and in the process we grew very close. Yes, we had our moments of hating each other, but that is just part of growing up. Since the two of us have no family of our own, I plan to buy a place in Italy so the two of us can retire together and look after each other. In the meantime we will only get to see each other a few weeks a year.
Lastly, I miss the smells, the views, and the solitude of riding in Italy. This is the fourth time I have ridden there since 2015 (I skipped 2016, and 2017.) It is by far one of the best things I have done. Like all those years ago, I do not think I can ever tire of trying to satisfy my curiosity in discovering what comes after the next hill, and the next, and the next.
I do not know if I will ever find what I am looking for, but I will keep trying until my legs can no longer take me there.