Biking to heaven

We didn’t make it to church yesterday because of the rain. We did penance today, biking half way to heaven to reach a church on a hill.

We’ve been visiting all the churches in this area. Massa Macinaia, San Leonardo, San Giusto. All of these were within easy walking distance.  The one we hadn’t visited yet was one that seemed most intriguing. Built at the peak of a fairly high hill, San Ginese is visible for miles in all directions.

Confined to our house yesterday, we were ready to stretch our legs today, so we mounted our trusty one-speed bikes and headed toward San Ginese. I have not been on a bike with any consistency in years. Getting to the supermarket and back each day this week – a round-trip distance of only a couple of miles – has left my thighs burning. I knew San Ginese would be a challenge.

We asked directions from time to time. The word an elderly Italian woman used repeatedly was ‘lontana,’ which roughly translates to ‘a heck of a long ways.’ And she pointed up hill. She was right.

It took us an hour of riding, pushing, resting and starting again to get the 5-6 kilometers to San Ginese. When I could catch my breath enough to look, I had to acknowledge the views were excellent.

The church was locked, but we toured the grounds to the music of someone practicing the cello in a nearby house. A monument to local soldiers killed in WWI was particularly moving.

The trip back down was much easier – though I should mention that I only have breaks on the front tire so my left hand, as well as my heart, got a workout as I wondered if I’d be able to stop when I needed to.

Half an hour later, we were picking up groceries at the supermarket and for the first time, I biked back to the house without feeling as though my legs would burn up.

Perhaps that is my reward for biking half way to heaven.

Ciao!

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