Cremona to Modena

Yesterday's ride was our second through the Po Valley, and much like the day before, it was flat and uneventful. This place is just somewhere we have to pass through. Not that there aren't some nice towns and such, but its not a place where most foreign tourists would choose to visit when there are so many other interesting places in Italy. One of those most interesting Italian places is Florence and the region of Tuscany, which is our destination for today. We left early yesterday morning in an attempt to beat the heat. It's not super hot here, but it has been in the high 80s and low 90s and should be that way for the remainder of the trip. Riding earlier in the morning was pleasant because it reminded me of riding at home in the morning with the cooler temps and moist air. Being a Sunday morning, the traffic was light. That also meant that most places were closed but when we passed through Parma at about our halfway point, we were able to find some open cafes and have a lunch of paninis, espresso, and some water. The second half of the ride was still flat but often through more industrialized areas. Throughout the day, Paul and I shared the work by riding 10 minutes at a time up front with a real attempt to save our legs for today's ride to Florence. Saturday was over 90 miles and we rode that hard and we were pretty tired. Those miles and all the ones we rode before it are starting to catch up so yesterday was an attempt at some "active recovery." We got into Modena earlier than usual and were checked into our hotel by 1:30 pm or so. Turns out this place is pretty swanky - it's low season here and must have gotten a good deal for us. Anyway, we enjoyed having a really nice hotel room for a change. The place was so empty that the hot water ran brown when I turned it on and stayed that way for about 10 minutes - yuk! The front desk assured us it was okay and I let it run clear for awhile before showering and laundering my clothes. After hanging out in the hotel for awhile, we walked into the old part of town for dinner. It was supposed to be 800 meters away, but was much longer. We looked around town, had a free set of tapas appetizers with some Pino Grigio, and then had dinner at a nice place with outdoor seating. Very good food and service. Sorry, no pictures at all today. There wasn't anything interesting or unusual on the road, nor in the city. I'll try to make up for it by taking lots of them in Florence. Our ride today is about 95 miles with a long but (hopefully!) non steep climb. The climb should be through the Tuscan countryside, so we're really hoping it will be beautiful and relaxing and not just a lot of work. We get an off day in Florence tomorrow and we're really looking forward to resting our legs after three long days (over 260 miles or so in 3 days....), and of course, visiting Florence. Our plan is to wander around the city in the afternoon and see what we can see, and then visit the Duomo Museum in the morning and then the Uffuzi art museum after that. One other thing to look forward to is staying at the Westin in Florence - Paul got us nice hotels in Florence and Rome with his Starwood travel points and its nice to know there are pleasant accommodations awaiting us. The places we have been staying in are generally okay, but the quality has been mixed. Trip Distance: 877 miles

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