GBI TOSCANA 2021_ Trip exploring lovely Tuscany

We are back

After a long break caused by the Covid 19 also known as Corona Virus, we (my people from Ghana) couldn\’t wait any longer. We and many non-Europeans missed GBI 2020 because visas were not being issued due to covid 19 error. My friends from EU who did not participate were held by the fear of getting infected therefore had to miss while others fund it less interesting because of rules which were set to fight against the Virus.

We spent 4 days full of cycling and fun while we discover inspiring cities, world-famous monuments and a gorgeous countryside.

We slept in exciting locations, ate and drunk typical Tuscan food and wine and returned with unforgettable memories. I must admit that this trip fixed me. I had been in Italy on another GBI trip, but I had not liked Italy due to the rudeness of the drivers and discrimination facial expressions (because of my skin). This time we were with a friend of ours who spoke their language and also looked different which revealed some positive facial expressions from the faces in the restaurants and beyond.

as usual at the GBI events there are always two routes, the long / hilly also known as Track 2 and the easier and shorter (but not recommended to non-trained participants) also known as Track 1. From my past experience, I belong in Track 1. If I ever had a lot of energy, I would spend it on having fun because I don\’t come here to suffer but to enjoy.

Day 1: Pisa to Lucca_91km _500m above the sea
From the GBI hotel we first cycled together to the Leaning Tower of Pisa, where the tour started officially (most of us got here late due to an error which was made during the trip planning, but this was the beginning of the real fun), but the obligatory team photo had been taken, although some members were still loading their luggage in the Vans. 

It was mostly flat on our way towards the coast and we passed the well-known town of Viareggio. The fine sandy beaches on the Costa Versilia were inviting us to plunge into the sea. 

We pedaled a little further towards Carrara, where the famous marble quarries can be seen in the nearby mountains. When we turned away from the coast, the back country become increasingly hilly. 

Behind Camaiore we crossed the foothills of the Apuan Alps and enjoyed wonderful views of the mountains and the coastal landscape. 

The ride this morning started in kind of challenging way but interesting. We had planned to ride all the way to the camp but after discovering the beaches and the food joints we decided to take our time and arrived near the destination by the train. I usually feel cheated when I plan to ride and drop off and arrive by car or train, but this day was too good to feel bad. Everything was just as it had to be, and it added the fun.

Day 2: Lucca to Florence_110km _ 1000m above the sea
We left Lucca to the east and reached Altipascio on minor streets. We headed towards Vinci, the home of Leonardo da Vinci, whose birth house we passed later in the hills. In Empoli we met the Arno River, which we accompanied for a while. But in Montelupo Fiorentino we left the river valley and climbed a range of hills before we could see Florence in the distance. After passing the Duomo, Piazza della Signoria and Ponte Vecchio, our route led out of the city. There was the final and really fierce climb which led us to this day\’s destination.

I arrived very exhausted. For years I have always fed energy from my boss whom I consider to be elder and if he can so can I. Therefore, I had a fight to finish. It was so hard and left most of us speechless. Some bough lands (we use this term in Ghana, when you fall off the bike, it is called buying a land) but there were no injuries.


Day 3: Florence to San Gimignano _ 77km _1440m
Today was another hard day, we pedaled through the Chianti country. The hilly landscape went to the heart and into the legs! Along the way we saw vineyards as far as the eye could see. In Greve you enjoyed beers and coffee on the beautiful market square. 

We reached the hilltop village of Castellina in Chianti, and descended to Colle di Val d\’Elsa, where we explored the little village on a rock. Our stage destination was only 10 km away at San Gimignano, which is known for its medieval towers.

In Greve Track 2 turned towards Lucolena in Chianti and crosses the highest mountain pass of the Chianti area, the Vallico del Morellino. Our journey led us to Radda, Castellina and further on to the beautiful hilltop village of Monteriggioni with its fully preserved city walls. At Colle di Val d\’Elsa we meet Track 1 again.

Day 4: San Gimignano to Pisa _90km _740m
After we left San Gimignano we have to climb for 15 km, before we descent via Gambassi Terme to Castelfiorentino. There was a final climb up to San Miniato high above the Arno valley, which we followed to our tour destination in Pisa.
Track 2 enjoyed the hilly landscape a little longer before reaching the Arno valley at Pontedera.

again, this was an end to another amazing experience. I look forward to the next one