Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Tuscan Loop - Farewell

The Museo Piaggio behind us, we made our way back to Motonoleggio Toscana so I could return the MP3.

Just like that, the Tuscan Loop ended.

I parked the bike, took the Sena headset off the helmet and returned the helmet to the shelf. I thanked Roberto profusely for the experience of a lifetime, and walked out the door.

Jonathan and Andrew were on their way to pick me up. Sonja and Roland were itching to ride into Pisa to visit the famous tower that Mark Twain referred to as the "old shot tower" when he visited in 1867. He noted that the tower could easily have been attributed to Michelangelo, had it not been "so awfully out of the perpendicular".  The city of Dubuque Iowa has a real shot tower they're proud of.  It sits not far from the mighty Mississippi, another topic that was dear to MT's heart.  I add the link because it helps to appreciate Mr. Twain's acerbic wit.

Sonja and Roland insisted on sticking around until my sons showed up though they would soon be faced with a setting sun. Such class. I felt bad having them cooling their heels in Pontedera when Pisa was beckoning.

Finally, Jonathan and Andrew pulled up at around 6:15 and Sonja and Roland rode off into the setting sun.  For once this hackneyed phrase is actually true, they were heading west, and the sun would soon be setting.

Later they e-mailed me a picture to show me what I had missed.
If the Pisan architects of the tower had suspected the sheer volume of visual puns that would be inflicted on that otherwise grand tower in the age of digital photography, they might have done a better job on the foundations.  Seriously, troll for images.  Among them you'll find this gem.

What you won't soon find is one quite as classy as the send-up by Roland and Sonja.

And that dear friends, is where the 2014 Blogger to Blogger Tuscan Loop ended, and the 2014 summer riding season began.

Up next: an epilogue.


Trobairitz said...

A nice ending to the loop. And I think we are all thankful Sonja and Roland have way more class than the frat boys in the other pic, lol.

David Masse said...

Brandy you are so right about that!

Coop a.k.a. Coopdway said...

Fun post David, an extra bonus for me since I've not done a Tuscan Loop though that tower in Dubuque has been in my travels.

I'm sure it was an amazing I'll go back, start from the beginning and confirm.

Travel safe!

David Masse said...

Thanks Doug. The first time I read Innocents Abroad I had to do some research to understand what a 'shot tower' was. Doing research for this post, I discovered that there's a 19c shot tower on my scenic commute route and I never knew it. Most folks assume it's a chimney. Hard to tell them apart.

Dar said...

Sigh, I wish I was on a Tuscan loop, or any type of travel loop for that matter! It is always nice to meet up with other moto bloggers! It sounds like it was a trip of a lifetime David and I am sure you will treasure the memories & pics.

(PS I did get a little snort out of the frat boy Pisa picture)

The City Mouse in the Country said...

David, I always learn something new when reading your posts. I had never heard of the term "shot tower" before. Now I'm going to have to reread Twain to make sure I didn't miss something else the first time around.

David Masse said...

Dar, it was the trip of a lifetime.

Who knows, if I get out to Victoria (and I probably will), we'll get together for a coffee and a ride.

David Masse said...

Rob, Twain wrote five travelogues including The Innocents Abroad and A Tramp Abroad.

The first book I think is the better of the two. It was an 1867 pilgrimage to the Holy Land that included side trips to Gibraltar, Paris, Milan Venice, Florence, Rome, Athens, Constantinople, Damascus, Jerusalem, Alexandria and Cairo. It's fascinating reading.

The second book covers a boat trip through central and eastern Europe, including (are you paying attention Sonja?) south-western Germany (Heidelberg, Mannheim, a trip on the Neckar river, Baden-Baden and the Black Forest).

Both books are well-worth reading (or re-reading).

SonjaM said...

I only know about the essay on the awful German language, and still believe he was a secret admirer of said language.

Is it pure coincidence that Twain spent a lot of his time in Heidelberg? Heidel(beere) = Huckleberry

David Masse said...

Sonja, if memory serves, he was even a second in a duel. It could have been in Heidelberg.

Twain couldn't resist poking fun of pretty much anything or anyone. If he was critical of the German language, he was also very hard on Turks, Arabs, religion, the French, and tour guides. But he was consistently funny. And for that he deserves forgiveness.

The copyright in all text and photographs, except as noted, belongs to David Masse.