No blog last week as I was on holiday in Italy for a week. It’s short hop from Edinburgh to Pisa – 2.5 hour flight which is very short if you’re used to travelling on flights to Dubai or Australia. So, a week of culture, good food and wine and mid 20s temperatures (12-13 here now). In terms of food, my wife and I did our homework. It’s too easy to go to cities across the world and go to city centre restaurants which are easy to find. In general, I find that they are expensive and often lack quality i.e. unless you are prepared to spend big money. Searching for “the best pasta in Pisa” we found the excellent Spaghetteria Alle Bandierine and even better, the Osteria dei Cavalieri. Both were restaurants off the beaten track and you could easily walk past these restaurants, as there were no flashy signs and no pushy waiters outside – just good service, good food (i.e. no pizzas) and a choice of Tuscan wine e.g. Trebbiano. The best known feature of Pisa is of course, the Torre Pendente or Leaning Tower. What I had not realised is that the tower is part of a stunning architectural quartet (see 1st photo) consisting of the Cathedral, the Baptistery and the Monumental Cemetery in the Piazza de Miracoli. The tower certainly does lean (see 2nd photo) but it was reinforced not long after it was built.
So today, as they say in Scotland, it was back “tae auld claes and parritch” (old clothes and porridge) and back on my bike. I chose a fairly flat route and did 50K. All the walking done on holiday must have done some good as my legs were strong for the most part. Autumn is definitely here now – the leaves are falling and the potato fields have been harvested and are now being ploughed. I saw a number of ploughs making chocolate cake of the fields, with flocks of seagulls following the ploughs. Although it’s sad to see the end of the summer fields of barley, wheat and potatoes, a glinting newly ploughed field is a sight for sore eyes.