Anyway, not discouraged by my last almost-accident while biking, I got a littel stir-crazy today and decided to go on a longer ride. I glanced at a map decided to head south-east (sort of towards Florence) and try to get out into the mountains. On my way out of the city I passed the stadium where, I deduced from the masses of riot police loitering around, there was a game going on. I later confirmed this with Jeannie, apparently David Beckam was there, which I guess explains the riot police.
At one point I had sort of a Taiwan flashback. There was a line of cars at a stop light and I went ahead and pulled up all the way to the front. Cause I'm on a bike and I get special privaleges. After I had been there for a second a moped pulled up beside me. Then another one pulled up in front of both of us. Then a Mercedes pulled out into the intersection and stopped in front of all of us. I realized I probably should have been wearing a helmet. The light turned and I pulled out into the intersection. I was in the center of the intersection and it seemed much more prudent to be on the right side so I decided to merge. I looked over my right shoulder to check for traffic. All I saw was my hair. I looked again and saw mostly hair but it seemed clear and I was starting to lose intersection so I went ahead and moved over. Apparently I don't just need a helmet, I need haircut too.
It seemed to take a while to get out of the city but once I did the mountains were very scenic. I could even see, off in the distance, snow on the hills. I only consulted the map once after I made it out of the city. However, after I saw two bikers ahead, I quickly disregarded the knowledge gleaned from the map though, and decided to follow them. I turned too late and missed them but, after a brief period on a road, albiet a 2 lane road, with higher speeds than I would've liked, found my way out into the mountains. It was gorgeous, quite, and virtually car-less ... everything I had wanted. Unfortunatley it was only about an hour before dark and I felt like I should turn around so I didn't make it far enough to be turned around by snow (which had sort of been my vague goal.)
On the way back I saw 2 more bikers turn into the same road that I had followed bikers down before, which leads me to believe that there is either a good biking trail down there. That or some kind of wierd commune where a bunch of bikers live. I also ran into a police road block near the stadium on the way back. Really it was just a small car and one cop blocking off half of the road, but I was worried that he wouldn't let me pass and that we would have an awkward half Italian and half non-communication conversation. So, doing my best to smile nicely, in hopes of avoiding any awkwardness, I biked past. The cop, however, didn't even appear to notice me. The reason half of the road was blocked off quickly became apparent. It was filled with busses, presumable those of the football team. I did my best to ride along unperturbed with busses towering over me on my one side and traffic zooming past on my other side. I ended up making it home without incident.
Other interesting tidbits:
Our kitchen is tiny. Tiny enough in fact, that I can touch both of the sidewalls at the same time. There are benefits to the tiny kitchen though. For instance, if I sit in the right spot at the table I can reach the sink, the food cabinet, the refrigerator, and the oven without getting up. So thats pretty handy. Heck, if the kitchen was any smaller I could do all my cooking from a sitting position.