Wednesday, 23 May 2012

From Barcelona to Tehran: Day 21

Day 21:An Evening out in Siena; From Siena to Montalcino in Italy

May 20, 2012; Distance covered today: 42 Km; Total: 1462 Km

I left the campground rather late although I had woken up early. I knew I didn’t have a lot to cover because I met another couple from the Netherlands who gave me some information about the campgrounds on my way. 

On the Way
On the WAy

Getting out of the town was rather complicated so I got lost. I found myself on a highway so I had to walk my bike on the against the traffic. I lost a lot of time doing that especially since I had to bike east for 7 Km while I needed to go south. I was on the east side of the town this morning now I had to bike back to where I was. 

When I got to my route to Montalcino, I saw many people on the side of the road holding their cameras. I stopped and asked one of them what was going on. She said that is was “Mille Miglia” which means, One Thousand Miles. I was lucky to be on this road today to see a competition of old cars. For a couple of hours, I saw really old cars passing on the opposite direction. But I also saw some really top model Mercedes and Italian sports cars. I was thinking of Alireza who is crazy about Italian sports cars. I saw a lot of them today, but I didn’t know what kind they were. 

There were hundreds of them
So Cute

This one for Alireza Shahraiee

In the afternoon, I started climbing and climbing with no letup.  I climbed 600 meters when I got to Montalcino. The town was located on top of the highest hill in that region. I took a short walk with my bike in the fortress in the town and I saw two cyclists who were travelling for a couple of days in the region. They didn’t have any luggage though. They would stay in B&B’s. I asked them about the weather tomorrow. And they said that it would rain very heavily tomorrow after 5 pm. 

I know there was no campground after Montalcino, so I had to stay there. So I decided to find the campground in Montalcino and plan to start to bike very early tomorrow morning to get to a campground before the rain.  

In a coffee shop, I asked the people if they knew about a campground nearby. They didn’t, but they knew where Coco, the farm, was. I got the direction and with a little hesitation, I went to find Coco. My hesitation got worse when the signs to Coco lead me to a dirt road. I biked for a kilometer or so, then I doubled back. I found someone in another farm and he told me to keep on going for three Km. I was getting ready to look for bush camping; however, I continued on the road. 
The Road to Coco

When I got there, I saw a young man, Jiecomo, talking on the phone. When he finished, I asked him if I could stay there for the night. He said yes. There was a shower, internet, but no shop of any sort for me to buy something to eat for the night. He agreed to give me some bread and what I needed for the night. 

My tent and Coco

To use the internet, I had to go to his office, which was nothing but a cozy place, like a guest room for tasting wine. After an hour or so, a young  couple, Nicola and Catherina from Pisa, came to taste some wine. I thought that the couple and Jiecomo were friends because they were acting like close friends. Later on, I realized that Nicola and Catherina were campers like me who had just arrived. I was amazed by the hospitality of Jiecomo. He brought us some cheese and wine, both of which were out of this world. It was my first time tasting wine in a vinery. It was very interesting. 

Later, Jiecomo’s girlfriend, Crystal, arrived and we all had spaghetti and drank wine, the best wine I had ever tasted. They late brought some special drink, Grappa, which looked like tequila, but was supposed to be drunk in a special manner. First, you should only dampen your lips with it, then have very tiny little of it. Then, you should inhale form your nose and exhale form your mouth. Then, you will taste and feel a special flavor of the skin of the grapes. It was an awesome experience. 

I had heard about the stereotypical image of Spanish and Italian people being friendly and warm-hearted, and tonight, I experienced it myself. I was so desperate to find a place to stay. I was almost ready to go into the bush. It had started raining already and I was dying for a shower. I didn’t have water with me to even do bush camping. All I knew was a name: Coco. Then, what was awaiting me in Coco? A warm welcome. Jiecomo received me like a family member, cooked me Italian Spaghetti, and let me have some of his best wine. He wouldn’t get any money for all of this. I had to leave a very small amount on the table and leave because he wouldn’t accept it. I know that no money can buy this unconditional hospitality, but I left very little just as a token of appreciation. If you happen to be in Italy, you MUST pay a visit to Coco Winery. It is in Montalcino. Just ask the locals or look it up on the Internet. 


  1. Oh dearest Manus! These traveling blogs are absolutely entertaining. I am amazed and to be honest dumbstruck at your will of character and strength to pursue such an endeavor. Please continue to update us. Wishing you lots of love, good food, tasty wine and a warm bed along your many interesting and varied travels.

  2. Oleeevia,That's how I used to pronounce your name.
    Tanks for reading my blog and leaving comments. I was wondering who reads my blog. If they don't leave comments, I don't know my audience.
    Thanks for your encouraging words. Thanks for the awesome wishes as well. But, dear Oleevia, all the stuff you wished for me, are very rare in the kind of trip I am taking.
    Best of wishes to you as well.