Furious flight

Setting off at 11:00 after a hugely frustrating morning I resolved not to allow my momentary misfortune to divert me. Yes I had been robbed but I would be damned if I'd let that stop me visiting Pisa and Lucca and Sienna and Florence and damn all those who tried to stop me.

Half an hours furious peddling and I was in Pisa looking at the tourists looking at the Leaning Tower too angry to appreciate it and after a 3 minute cigarette I was back off onto the hot highway heading for Lucca where I planned to walk the walls and eat my lunch.

Anger it turns out is a marvelous motivator and the kilometers fell away easily.

Lucca, unlike Pisa, provided a much needed tonic to my diabolical mood and despite the crowds of tourists walking along the wide and breezy city walls,  just made for perambulating, soothed my bitterness.

I found a nicely shaded bench from which to eat a slightly stale end of bread and some distinctly dubious cheese from the bottom of my pannier.

My leatherman knife had also been in my now stolen barbag meaning I could not cut my bread or cheese. Realising this momentarily sent me back into paroxysms of rage startling a young American family with such vehement use of the C word that its a wonder I wasn't taken for an Australian.

Angrily tearing my bread and cheese into sandwich like lumps I was approached by a brave German guy who it turned out was also a cycle tourist. We chatted me moaning and him nodding and commiserating.

It was at this point that I was approached by yet another person (my consonance must have been truley miserable as usually people do not come up and say hello to me while I sit on benches.) She, it turns out, worked for the Lucca tourist information desk and having overheard my tale of woe was keen to help. Likity-split she had taken me to her office googled trains to Orvieto and had lent me the 12 euro I needed to make the fare.

To say that I was overwhelmed with gratitude would grossly under-estimate my appreciation of this woman. I lent across the desk gave her three kisses called her my angel and swore undying fidelity.

The last train left from Florence at just after 21:00 - plenty of time - but stubborn anger still bubbled beneath my glossy renewed faith in humanity. So it was that I initially set off for Sienna aiming to reach there and still get back to Florence in time.

I made it as far as Poggibonsi, perhaps 3/4's of the way, before I realised this wasn't going to happen. I caught sight of a petrol station digital clock and had to concede that afternoon had well and truly waxed. (My cheap digital watch had also been in the bar bag) Despite my determination, Sienna was a step too far. Unthinking, I pulled a U-turn on the road and began retracing my steps before heading east for Florence.

I arrived at 20:30 tired, stressed but satisfied that I had at least worked out some of my anger. I had time for one utterly insufficient lap of Florence.  (A city which demands days to scratch the surface) Then I raced to the train station bought my ticket and was on my way south to Orvieto.

Later I would discover that my route that day had taken me nearly 170 kilometers.

I had set off at after 11:00. I honestly don't remember much about that days cycling but I don't recall dropping out of top gear even on the steep hills outside Lucca. Reveling in some pedal based self flagellation I had gone further faster than I ever had before. It's not a method of travel that is pleasant or makes for great memories (or blog posts!) but boy was it effective.

Sitting on the train I cadged the use of two English girls mobile (sensibly they kept the phone and have me dictate the number and message - if only I were similarly sensible) to text Nick and Simone that I was heading their way that night and hoped to reach Allerona if not that evening then the following morning,

My plan for cycling to Allerona from Orvieto along the notoriously tough Italian white roads in the dark was hazy at best but as it turned out I needn't have fretted. I arrived at Orvieto station to the warmest of warm welcomes from Nick and Simona. Oh what relief what joy. Food! Beer! Good company! In a little less than 24hours I had been through the gamut of emotions the most prominent one now being tiredness. Off to bed!

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