Kit Rawson


Kit Rawson

Kit and Kathy, Mount Vernon, WA

Europe » Italy » Lazio » Rome October 11th 2016

We are back home now (Oct 13), safe and mostly sound after two and a half weeks in Italy. We keep reminding ourselves that is a long vacation by many standards even though it wasn’t the five-week tour that we had planned. Biking was wonderful, the scenery spectacular, people friendly, and food and wine were superb. We loved it. The memories of a bike trip that we treasure are the warm days with just enough sun, a slight tail wind, and effortless pedaling along scenic back roads. However, we have heard from many of you reading this that you love the stories of the tough times when we pitted ourselves against the weather and bike gods, surviving in a sodden heap at the end of the day. Some of the classic tales from previous tours include ... read more
The Forum
The Forum
St Peter's Square

Europe » Italy » Tuscany » Siena October 7th 2016

We had a few days off the bikes in Siena and the hill town of Volterra and had planned to complete our time in Tuscany with two grueling (and scenic) hilly days (3600 and 3200 feet of climbing, respectively) to the hill towns of Montalcino and Montepulciano. The bikes were cleaned, chains oiled, olts tightened up, and we were ready. Then, on Friday night, back in Siena Kathy twisted her knee, re-aggravating an old injury. Full range of motion was impossible, so much so that further biking and even travel of any kind was out of the question. So we shifted gears, changed plane reservations, cancelled B&B and hotel reservations, and figured out how to get ourselves and the bikes to Rome and home as soon as possible so that Kathy can see her doctor there. ... read more
The Piccolomini Library inside the Siena Duomo
View from the top of the Duomo Museum, Siena
Siena Duomo, with bell tower on the right

Europe » Italy » Tuscany » Siena October 5th 2016

We arrived in Siena yesterday after two days of beautiful biking through the hills of the Chianti region south of Florence. Florence was crowded with tourists, and amazing. There's not much to say that hasn't been said, nor photographs to take that haven't been taken many thousand times. Still, I shot Michelangelo's David in the Academia with both the camera and smartphone from many angles, while most of the packed roomful of fellow tourists were doing the same. Then I started reading The Agony and the Ecstacy, which I hope to finish by the time we get to see the Pieta and Sistine Chapel ceiling in Rome. It's how I process this peak experience, I guess. We saw most of Florence's key sites and museums, ate great food on both sides of the Arno, got great ... read more
Peak art experience, of many amazing ones, in Florence
Peak architectural experience, of many, in Florence
The only two extant telescopes used by Galileo, Galileo Museum of Science, Florence

Europe » Italy » Emilia-Romagna » Ravenna September 30th 2016

Three beautiful sunny days, flat terrain, riding along the Adige and Po rivers, the Po delta with farms and wildlife reserves teeming with birds (and mosquitos), two short ferry rides on the last day, and arrival in Ravenna to end the first six-day biking segment. Sixty miles Chioggia to Ferrara, 40 miles there to Comacchio, and 35 here to Ravenna. Except for the swarm, huge, dense swarm, of mosquitos for about 30 minutes today along the lagoon south of Comacchio, this was all very pleasant riding. Apparently, Dante died in Ravenna of malaria. The abundance of mosquitos makes it clear how that could have happened. The food just gets better with each day. We will have more to say about that, eventually. Today will be more touring of early Christian sites, with great mosaics in Ravenna, ... read more
Rest stop along the Po
Church in one of the many small towns along the Po
Sinistra Po bike route on the dike

Europe » Italy » Veneto » Chioggia September 26th 2016

Sun, beaches, flat terrain, gelato, vino: life is good pedaling around the north end of the Adriatic Sea. Leaving Trieste on Saturday morning, we negotiated city traffic and then joined the throng of weekend drivers and many bicyclists as well heading north. A bit of a climb to good views from the limestone cliffs and then downhill to industrial Monfalcone and a turn left to the flat delta of the Isonzo River. The elevation profile from here to Ravenna will be best approximated by a horizontal line. Much of the delta area is a biological preserve with separated bike trails along sloughs and the northern Adriatic coast. A lot of this area is biological preserve and so we were tempted by and followed the bike routes through the natural areas, thus lengthening our planned 40+ mile ... read more
Limestone cliff north of Trieste
Mosaics in Aquileia basilica
Roman ruins along the bike trail north of Aquileia

Europe » Italy » Friuli-Venezia Giulia » Trieste September 23rd 2016

We (Kathy and Kit) arrived in Venice Wednesday evening after delayed and rerouted flight, lugging 50 lb bike cases on and off of two trains, a vaporetto ride up the Grand Canal in the twilight, and a short walk through the cobblestone streets of the Mercato Rialto to our small pension. The whole trip from home to our fourth floor (calculated the American way) walkup room consumed over 24 hours, only one or two of which involved any sleep. The plan was to relax for a day, start to get over jet lag, and enjoy the Venice show without any exertion. And so we skipped the Guggenheim and Leonardo museums, strolled aimlessly in our San Polo neighborhood near the Rialto Bridge, and rode the vaporettos (vaporetti?) to San Marco Plaza and out to the Lido, which ... read more
Musical items in mask shop
Animal masks
Zucchini with blossoms in Rialto market

Europe » Czech Republic » Prague » Old Town October 8th 2014

By luck we chose the right time for a rest day in the beautiful castle town of Cesky Krumlov. We stayed in a B&B in a 500 year old house built into the rock with a magnificent room overlooking the Vltava River, which winds around the old town there, way upstream of Prague. It poured rain for much of the day, but we did not have to ride the bikes, and everything in town is within very easy walking distance. We enjoyed the castle, touring only the Baroque theater, which is only one of two in Europe that still has the old mechanical mechanisms for changing sets and creating sound effects, very interesting. We also enjoyed the ambiance of the old town and the tour of the Josef Seidel house and studio, which provided an interesting ... read more
Josef Seidel's photography stuio in Cesky Krumlov
Example of Rural Baroque architecture in Komarov, south of Tabor
Kathy, St. Vitus, the Vltava, and Prague

Our good friend and travel buddy, Karen (see previous travel blogs for Great Britain 2013 and China 2011), often talks about having a theme for a trip. While we didn't have one planned for this trip, a theme emerged early on in the form of depictions of St. John of Nepomuk. As you know from the first post, we learned about him during our first visit to Prague, where his statue dominates the Charles Bridge the site of his drowning in 1383 on the orders of King Vaclav (Wenceslas) IV. What we didn't realize until we got about the countryside on the bikes is that he is a very popular saint in Central Europe and, in an area where statues and pictures of saints are seen more frequently than anyplace else we've been, he one of ... read more
On the bridge at Telc
In the Bogen town square
On the road near Moson Magyarovar

Europe » Czech Republic » South Bohemian Region » Cesky Krumlov September 30th 2014

We had a rough go of it getting across the loosely defined border between Moravia and Bohemia, the two ancient kingdoms that, along with Silesia in the northeast, make up the Czech Republic. Rain showers came and went, and the Greenway goes through some steep dirt trails. We have biked for the last ten days, coming from Bratislava, Slovakia, briefly though Austria and back into the Czech Republic, interspersing some hard hauls through the mountains with delightful days on flat greenway trails and some very short days. We are now in Cesky Krumlov where we will take a much needed day of rest. We spent last night outside the town of Nove Hrady in a pension in the woods at a partially restored area that had been built as a spa by a countess in the ... read more
Folk art out of hay bales along a Moravian country road
Telc and surrounding countryside from the old tower
South Bohemian road scene

Europe » Czech Republic » South Moravian Region » Vranov September 25th 2014

Early Sunday morning we found our way a couple miles through the streets of Pest to the Kaleti Station to catch an express train back to Bratislava. The streets were busier than we had expected for 6 AM Sunday, and we soon realized that the activity was Saturday night revelers finishing their evening out on the town. Again we found comfortable places for us and our bikes on a modern Czech rail car, and we debarked at the Old Town Bratislava in 2 1/2 hours, a trip that we had recently completed in reverse in five days of cycling. The plan now was to begin the second part of the trip by cycling up the Morava (Slovak and Czech) or March (German) River for two days to Mikulov, Czech Republic, where we join the Vienna-Prague Greenway ... read more
Families play in front of former border bunker
Numerous named and  numbered bike routes here
Wine cellar where we stayed in Jarislavice

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