City of shopping and MotoGP

Trip Start May 04, 2013
Trip End Jul 07, 2013

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Flag of Italy  , Tuscany,
Sunday, June 2, 2013

Thursday 30th May to Sunday 2nd June.

Our main reason for visiting Florence for the 4th time was to go to the MotoGP at Mugello - or was it to satisfy Kerrie's need for some retail therapy in what she says is her favourite city in the world!

Our apartment in Florence (home for 4 nights) was about 500m from the Duomo - one of the most magnificent structures you will ever see. The ride in was interesting because we were staying in the old part of the city and the cobbled streets and motorbikes are not really a good mix! The apartment was very roomy with a free laundry - a rare addition to any accommodation in Europe. After a quick trip to the local supermarket for breakfast supplies - and washing powder, it was off to explore the city. First stop - the Duomo and a dinner in the Piazza Republica. We decided to have dinner in a different Piazza each night of our stay - not difficult as there seems to be another spacious Piazza with spectacular statues at the end of every narrow cobbled street.

Friday was Kerrie's shopping day - a day to herself in Florence while Greg and Chris were sent to do a recce of the MotoGP and to purchase the tickets for the following 2 days of racing.

The boys left the apartment at about 9:30 and headed north out of town. The ride to Scarperia where the Mugello track is situated took about 40 minutes. On arrival Greg & Chris parked the bikes right out the front of the entrance, same place for the next three days. They parked next to two young Aussies, husband and wife who had hired Ducati monsters in Cannes, France and had ridden down to Mugello just to watch the Friday practise session as they had to have the bike back asap to go to the Isle of Man. Inside G & C met six more Aussies from Newcastle who had hired two camper vans for one month to go to six bikes races - Superbikes and MotoGP!! That's all they did - and drink beer! They also met one Aussies guy travelling by himself for 12 weeks also attending bikes races arranged by Pole Position. He was less than happy with the service. They spent the rest of the day wandering around the venue checking out the best place to watch the race on Sunday.

Kerrie, meanwhile back in town, had a sleep in and did not leave the apartment till about 10am. First stop was a local hairdresser to attend to the silver streaks that were appearing in her hair. Next was morning tea sitting beside the Duomo. The 5 Euro capuccino was a bit expensive but it was probably 2 Euro for the coffee and 3 for the view - well worth every Euro cent. That done, it was off to the shops! Florence is renowned for its leather factories and gold jewellery - two of Kerrie's favourite things. After purchasing a couple of leather handbags (Stacey - you get first choice) and a leather gift for Brett it was down to the Ponte Vecchio for a look at the gold. What started out as a look soon turned into a purchase - the good news is you can claim the tax back when you leave Europe! On the way back towards the Duomo, the shoes in the windows were too inviting to pass up so 2 pair of those went in the shopping bag as well. It was then back to the apartment to do the washing, rest the feet (and the credit card) and wait for the boys to return.

The next 2 days were spent at the MotoGP. We decided to ride out each day as the weather was good and Greg was getting back in to the riding style required for survival in Italy - pass everything, lane split constantly and get to the front at traffic lights then go like hell when the lights change! It took about 40 minutes each day to get to the track and parking was free and no problem - only about 100m from the entrance gate. We covered the bike each day for several reasons - to keep it dry - just in case, to keep prying eyes off our gear which was locked on the bike and to make it easy to find at the end of each day. We decided to sit on the hill at the Borgo san Lorenzo section of the track - this gave us a great view of much of the track and we were directly in front of a screen, close to food and toilets.

After purchasing the required t-shirts as momentos of the visit and a few extras for gifts, we settled down to watch what we had come for - racing! MotoGp racing is fast and furious. Without a doubt, the crowd had come to see Valentine Rossi. Yellow was the dominant colour in the crowd but we were delighted to see several other spectators who were Stoner supporters even though he is now retired.  Between racing there was always someone ready to have a chat and ask about our trip. It amazes people from Europe that we travel with our own bike and that we can get so much time off work for a holiday.

Unfortunately for the local crowd, Valentino Rossi had a coming together with Alvaro Bautista in the first lap and crashed out. The crowd was devastated - one woman was crying and many packed up and went home even though there was still 23 laps of the race to go. Jorge Lorenzo led the race from start to finish with Marc Marquez and Danny Pedrosa fighting it out for second. Marques crashed on the last lap leaving Pedroza second and Cal Crutchlow third. The crowd rushed on to the track at the end of the race to go and see the podium presentation - we left to return to our bike.  It was probably one of the easiest exits we have ever had from a MotoGP and we were back in Florence by 4:30.

 We decided to have dinner in Piazza S. Croce and then walk back the long way back to our apartment through several of the other Piazzas. We were fortunate enough to come across a free public concert of classical music (including the Italian National Anthem) in Piazza del Signoria.

What a great way to end another memorable stay in Florence

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Sandra Karamitelios on

Lane splitting overtaking getting to the lights first..... sounds normal to me!!!!

Nicky's Mallyon on

This would have to be my most favourite city in the world too - but not necessarily for the shopping. Makes me want to return....

parkdel on

I agree with Nicky - Florence is one of THE most beautiful cities. Love the leather jackets!

Stacey on

Shopping, the best part of any holiday. Mum, I think we should definitely organise a Boxing Day sales shopping extravaganza in Florence one year x

Merrilyn Pearson on

I wish that I was there but NOT on a bike, I don't think that I would survive. The scenery and buildings are really worth seeing. The shopping must be great to.

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