Tuscany is a place one simply has to visit with a motor home. Looking through the forums, websites, talking to motor home owners... everyone has been to Tuscany before, some come back, and all of them love this Italian region. Hills, vineyards, old cities, beautiful colours, delicious food and drink - all of this calls out to you.
OK, I'm not exactly a motor home owner, but I do greatly love to travel with it, so the decision was made: we're going too! When? As soon as possible! How long for? Well, that's already a problem... say, we leave on Wednesday and come back on Sunday. It's not much, but it's something. So me and my co-worker talk about it and pick a time at the end of May. Everything is beautifully in bloom then, the springtime is at its peak, the weather will be generally beautiful, so it's an ideal time.
Well, we start turning, and He above us turns... the bucket around! Even a few days before the chosen time it was obvious, that we made the bill without the innkeeper. May was not May but, in fact, late April. And not fickle like April, but stubbornly rainy. Alright, then we will go after June 15th. What was said must be done! Of course, a minor issue appeared immediately - I also had an compulsory training that Wednesday, luckily in Strunjan. In the morning, I loaded my girls into the motor home, we drove to Strunjan, where they enjoyed the sun, and I took my class, which only ended at 17.00. The lecturer did not cut it even a minute short. But we also survived these long minutes and at 17.00, the voyage towards Florence began. I turn on the motor home, set navigation to the desired coordinates, and on we go, through Trieste. But lo and behold - as soon as we entered Trieste, the navigation took me along the closest possible route, which was better suited to a Fiat 500 than a 7 metre "cow". Suddenly I found myself in a narrow, steep street, which started to become even steeper... The girls went pale and I spoke quite a few words that are not appropriate for this text. I somehow managed to turn the motor home around, I don't even know how I managed myself. It was by the millimetre in terms of length, width, and height. First, I shut off the navigation, and then found my way trough all of Trieste to the highway without a problem.
Since our goal was Florence, we had no more time to waste. I bravely drove along the motorway and towns just flew past us. A bit past Bologna, though, it happened again... I just passed a truck, drove in front of it, when a yellow light was displayed on the control panel and the motor home began to lose speed. The trucker behind me was absolutely sure that I was making fun of him and angrily turned on all lights he had, honking all of his horns. His arsenal was considerable! An exit from the motorway, magically appearing in front of me, saved me from the raging trucker. I took the exit and entered some kind of an industrial zone. The motor home decided that 2000 RP is the most it'll provide, not a bit more. I once again used every single rude word I knew and attempted to use my meagre knowledge to find out what is wrong. The fact that I had lunch with mechanics a few times did not help me at all. But it did help me that I could call one of them and we found out that the electronics were throwing a fit, and that nothing bad would happen. True - I turned off the engine, turned it on again, and everything was alright. The engine worked as if nothing had been wrong. Scoundrel! With a bit of fear and full of hope I drove on, reaching the goal at 23.00. A large motor home stopover, a true and proper campsite. It was almost fully occupied, orderly, and close to the city. Great. A well deserved sleep followed, and it was welcome after the two shocks.
The wife and I woke up into a beautiful day. At around 7.00 we were already sitting on bicycles, riding to the centre of Florence. The streets were completely empty, we only met a sleepy local or two and a few stray cats. In an hour and a half, the streets filled up considerably, and we got lost in those narrow streets. I tried to act important, pulled my phone out of my pocket and waited for Google to help me out. But no, it was not possible. Even the satellite can't reach those narrow streets, so that we had to talk to a kind local lady. After returning to the campsite and a breakfast, we all took a bus to the centre and explored the beautiful town until the middle of the day. The difference was that it had been entirely empty in the morning, and completely full during daytime. It is no wonder, that the locals aren't too fond of such a rush of tourists into their city.
Around five o'clock, we moved to a new location. This time, the motor home stopover was outside the city, surrounded by nature. It was in the context of a farm, the main activity of which is winemaking. There were vineyards and nature all around. Well, there was a small detail... a bit before the stopover, the road goes through a small village, where the streets are very narrow. Almost too narrow. I stopped before the narrowing and wondered whether I should or not... whatever happens, happens! My wife stepped out and controlled, while I folded the side rear-view mirror and drove on. It was a matter of centimetres. The feeling was not exactly pleasant, but I got out without a scratch. The stopover was entirely empty, orderly and neat, so that we were like kings. As much space as you want, thick shade, water, power, in other words, bingo! We spent the night here and in the morning (again a matter of centimetres) drove towards Siena. In front of the city, we found a parking lot that had to be paid for and a young man from Kosovo. In the name of brotherhood and equality, eh gave us two parking tickets for the price of one. It's something that even Franz from Munich cannot get! Siena is a beautiful city. Narrow streets, a majestic square, and the buildings leave you speechless. We intended to stop for about three hours and spent our entire day there. It was worth it.
We then went on towards San Gimignano, a city full of towers. The very first view was beautiful, as the towers rise towards the sky like guardians of the city. Incidentally, a bit before Sam Gimignano we saw the only lavender plantation, and even this one was small. Oh well, it sufficed for a picture. We parked at a campsite, a stone's throw away from San Gimignano, so that we had a beautiful view of the towers. The wife and I sat on our bikes at dusk and scouted out the city. It was magical in the dusk, with the lights giving it a mystical vibe. In the morning, I went alone at dawn, to take pictures in the morning light. The sunrise between the towers was wonderful. The colours are at their prettiest in the morning, when the light is soft and the air is clean. It's especially magic for me to visit cities early in the morning, when the streets are empty, when you perhaps encounter a local, a garbage man, a delivery man, and stray cats, which later avoid the stampede.
And really, during the next, common walk, the streets were once again incredibly crowded, we barely moved between all the people. But this, too, has a special charm, when life evolves. Stores are packed, bars too, everywhere words in all the languages. After we were done with sightseeing and shopping, we returned to the camp with a bus. The driver must have been in charge of potatoes previously. I have never experienced such wild driving in my life. The driver obviously wanted to break a speed record. He cut curves, accelerated as much as the engine allowed, and braked in the last moment. Pure adrenaline, but fun to the end. After a successfully completed rally, we packed our thing and moved towards Pisa. The tower must be seen before it potentially collapses. They say that they reinforced it, but one never knows...
The drive between Sam Gimignano and Pisa lasted a bit under three hours, but was interesting, as Tuscany is simply beautiful. Wonderful sights were revealed to us all the time, every one different, every one prettier. Vineyards, meadows, sunflowers, fir trees, hills, and pleasant roads...
The navigation made almost no mistakes and after only one minor correction, we were in a campsite, 15 on foot from the famous tower. Of course we couldn't wait and immediately headed towards it. There it was, in all its beauty, leaning but not seeming to ever be in danger of collapsing. And around and on it, a big crowd. Half were taking pictures (of themselves), most in the famous tower supporting pose. That's how it is. We had an idea to go to the top of the tower, but do not enjoy long queues, so we left this joy to those who like to wait. We did a few laps around the tower instead and tried to avoid pesky street salesmen, who were all selling selfie sticks. We finally took pity on one and bought a stick. After visiting the tower and the church, we headed for the city, to the river, and then back to the campsite. If I hadn't seen it, I would not believe it. The city is entirely empty, as if is another world. Obviously everyone just wants to see the tower and do not care about the rest.
In the campsite, we made the final dinner, as it was Saturday already. On Sunday morning, the sun caught us already on the highway in the direction of home. This time without problems, complications, smoothly.
In these days we saw and experienced a lot, but there are still many places which we haven't visited, since we simply did not have the time. It doesn't matter, Tuscany was beautiful and will be there for a long while, so we will definitely go back to see it.