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Exploring Tuscany by Scooter

Get away from the tourist traps in Italy and find some freedom by exploring Tuscany by Scooter like we did. Perfect for seeing the Italian countryside.

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Exploring Tuscany by Scooter

The blazing orange ball dips towards the horizon line. While bright yellow Sunflowers twist to catch the last rays of sunlight sweeping across the silent valley floor.

Rows and rows of perfectly parallel grapevines line the hills. Their branches hanging low still thick with the plump fruit that will be harvested in a few months time to create thirst quenching wine.

Tuscany Pictures, Tuscany wine grapes

The smell of freshly cut golden bales of hay lie freshly bound across empty fields.

And black ribbons of tarmac coated with sticky tar, melted from the summer sun, twist and turn between the Tuscan farms. Dipping in and out of sight, the roads seemingly go on forever.

Exploring Tuscany by Scooter

The silence is pierced only by a steady whine slowly building in the distance. It sounds like an entire beehive taking flight.

Bursting into the sunlight from around one of the twisting corners appears a single wheel attached to handlebars gripped by a pair of white-knuckled hands.

Two riders sit astride a sunflower yellow Vespa going hell for leather.

Urging the 100cc engine on, the driver gives another twist of the throttle. Leaning into the never-ending bends they sweep past the vineyards and sunflowers to disappear around a curve in the road.

Silence descends again on this remote Tuscan Valley.

Exploring Tuscany by Scooter

If you had looked closer before they whipped past, you would have seen a manic grin plastered across my helmeted face.

My chest gripped like a vice by Adela’s interlocking fingers. Her manic grin nearly wider than mine.

Scooter in Tuscany

Exploring Tuscany by Scooter

Earlier that day we had unleashed the motoring beast within and spent the day exploring Tuscany by Scooter. Our hired 100cc scooter giving us one of our best adventures to date.

Our route was wild and unplanned.

All we wanted was to stick to the back-roads and find the cutest towns possible.

Tuscany Village by Scooter, Tuscany Pictures

With a head full of ridiculously romantic visions and only 8 hours to take it all in we initially thought we had to move fast. That quickly changed as we cruised the empty roads.

Every bend revealed another sweeping vista with a village perched precariously on top of distant hills. The local town church spires guiding us to their coffee shops and sweet pastries.

Each of the villages only allowed access for local cars or motorbikes. And the usual hordes of tourists seemed to avoid them as they stuck to the main routes. Blissfully alone we zigzagged our scooter up narrow alleys before exploring deeper on foot.

Adela Tuscany by Scooter, Scooter in Tuscany

With recommendations from the locals in each town on where to go next we would blindly follow directions to find our next destination.

Places like La Porta di Kertine, an organic vineyard tucked off the beaten path.

The owner heard us puttering down the dusty gravel driveway and welcomed us with open arms. Even taking us on a tour of his vines. We were just sorry we could only fit one bottle of sweet Rose wine under our scooters seat.

Wine in Tuscany

Even getting caught in the middle of a summertime thunder storm didn’t give us reason to pause. Drenched to the bone we blasted on, quickly drying off when the torrential rained eased.

Wishing we could have stayed on the back of that yellow devil forever the light quickly faded as the sunset.

Sitting back with our bottle of Rose that evening we remembered the feeling of freedom and the beauty and emptiness around us. The perfect way to see a side of Italy and Tuscany that many don’t.

Scooter Tuscany Thunderstorm

Extra Travel Tips:

We stayed in Certaldo and can recommend the Fattoria Bassetto B&B and Hostel for travelling couples.

We rented our scooters in San Gimignano which is 35 km’s from Florence. Easily accessible by train or bus and worth a few hours of exploring separately.

You have 24 hours so it is worth picking up the scooter the night before. It means you can set off early the next day.

Don’t try to go too far. We only covered 140 km’s on our scooter and stopped often. Also make sure you keep an eye on the fuel gauge as there are not many gas stations around.

Stay safe, obey the speed limits and be careful on the winding roads. Italian drivers can be quite aggressive although we only saw a handful of cars all day.

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36 Comments

36 Comments

  1. Laurence

    September 12, 2012 at 9:41 AM

    Wow, that is an amazing bit of narrative to kick the post off! Nice work! I’ve always loved the theory of a scooter adventure, but am slightly terrified of falling off. Still.. it does look like fun though!

  2. Mike

    September 12, 2012 at 11:43 AM

    Driving around the Tuscany with a scooter is really a cool idea. You would get to feel the relatively mild weather. Nice to know that we can rent easily accessible scooters at San Gimignano.

  3. Jess | GlobetrotterGirls

    September 12, 2012 at 2:30 PM

    Love, love, love it! I didn’t expect to love Tuscany, thought it would be too cliche for me. But Dani was so excited, so we went. I love Tuscany, the same way I love Paris, too. I can see that it inspired you here, really got you writing awesome narrative, and I absolutely felt the same way. Tuscany is magical, and seeing it on a scooter must be amazing! We had a cherry red Fiat, so felt pretty Italian, too, while we were there 😉 Great story!

    • Cole Burmester

      September 13, 2012 at 4:42 PM

      I felt like that was one of my best posts actually and so visiting somewhere that inspires you definitely helps the writing flow! Awesome you rented a Red Fiat! Can just imagine you buzzing around everywhere haha.

  4. Candice

    September 12, 2012 at 6:15 PM

    This is a great idea, and looks like so much fun! I like that it was an unplanned trip directed by the locals. No so sure I would like to get stuck in the rain though!

    • Cole Burmester

      September 13, 2012 at 4:44 PM

      The rain was actually fine because it only lasted about 10 minutes. And luckily it was still warm. Even though we were in t-shirts 🙂

  5. Karen @ Trans-Americas Journey

    September 12, 2012 at 8:42 PM

    When in Tuscany, scoot like the locals! Pity your yellow beast only had room for one bottle, however…

    • Cole Burmester

      September 13, 2012 at 4:45 PM

      We have their card so might have to order some over here 😉

  6. bronwen burmester

    September 13, 2012 at 2:00 AM

    Loved San Gimignano – and have a nice black and red leather bag too from there! Had yummi8est pizzas there too, x

    • Cole Burmester

      September 13, 2012 at 4:49 PM

      The towers were really cool! Maybe you need to snorkel along the Italian coast rather than the Pacific coast 🙂

  7. Brenda

    September 13, 2012 at 4:32 PM

    Would love to do that – sounds like so much fun

    • Cole Burmester

      September 13, 2012 at 4:54 PM

      Definitely do it if you get the chance Brenda 😉

  8. D.J. - The World of Deej

    September 13, 2012 at 9:43 PM

    Awesome stuff, although I doubt MJ would trust me to operate a scooter:)

    • Cole Burmester

      September 14, 2012 at 3:40 PM

      Haha I asked Adela if she wanted to drive at all and she made it clear she was alright with me. Would be fun to get a bunch of people together and do it.

  9. Angela

    September 13, 2012 at 9:45 PM

    Italian drivers aggressive?? Ooops 😛 Looks like you’ve had a lovely trip, the best way to enjoy Tuscany’s countryside!

    • Cole Burmester

      September 14, 2012 at 3:40 PM

      I was glad it was country roads and not Rome! Might have been run over in any of the cities.

  10. Shamis @ Gawaya Travel Blog

    September 14, 2012 at 10:25 AM

    Thanks for the follow on Twitter. I like how this is written, Cole. Funny I was watching a program about Tuscany the other day. Scooter ride looks like a fun way to explore the city. Love the photos.

    • Cole Burmester

      September 14, 2012 at 3:43 PM

      Thanks Shamis. Definitely a good way to get around the countryside rather than with public transport.

  11. Ashley

    September 16, 2012 at 2:41 PM

    I LOVE your photos. I actually stayed in Fattoria Bassetto four years ago… such an amazing place! I definitely should’ve rented a scooter as well.

    • Cole Burmester

      September 16, 2012 at 5:45 PM

      Fattoria Bassetto such a nice spot. I bet the same Aussie guy was working there then! Hopefully you go back sometime and then you can rent a scooter 😉

  12. Lillie - @WorldLillie

    September 17, 2012 at 2:21 AM

    Awesome photos!!! I can feel the wind rushing through my hair 🙂

    • Cole Burmester

      September 17, 2012 at 9:40 AM

      Cheers Lillie. Was such an easy post to write. Maybe because we enjoyed it so much!

  13. avaapollo

    September 17, 2012 at 4:07 AM

    Looks so beautiful!

    • Cole Burmester

      September 17, 2012 at 9:41 AM

      It truly was. Could have spent so many days exploring Tuscany by scooter. Need to go back I think.

  14. Diego

    September 21, 2012 at 8:20 AM

    Locally made wines in Tuscany taste really good. I’ve tried before in Tuscany how to make wines from the its harvest to its processing. I really wish I could go back there soon.

  15. Andy

    September 24, 2012 at 7:25 AM

    Awesome stuff guys! I had the exact same idea as i head to florence (from auckland NZ) next week with my partner. I really want to see tuscany on a scooter and am going to hire one from florence. Is there anything close to florence that you would recommend we see by scooter?
    Cheers
    Andy

  16. Pingback: Meet the Kiwi Bloggers: Four Jandals Adventure Travel Blog - Flashpacker Family - Family Travel Blog, Travel with Kids, Toddler Travel Tips

  17. Deepak

    March 12, 2013 at 12:13 PM

    Hi. We are planning to go in first week June and while researching found your journal. Very encouraging! Curious to know which month did you travel in?

    • Cole Burmester

      March 18, 2013 at 9:13 AM

      Hey Deepak,
      We travelled in the middle of June and it was the perfect time of year. Nice and warm but not too busy with tourists. Beginning of June will be amazing! Enjoy and have safe travels.
      Cheers,
      Cole

  18. Brandon

    March 14, 2013 at 7:43 PM

    Great post! Do you remember the company you used to rent a scooter? My wife and I would love to do this.

    • Cole Burmester

      March 18, 2013 at 9:21 AM

      Thanks Brandon 🙂
      The company we used was called Bruno Bellini and they are located near the village of San Gimignano. Hope you manage to rent Scooters in Tuscany and go exploring! Such an amazing day out.

  19. Kelly Archidiacono

    July 23, 2013 at 3:14 PM

    I am curious to know the route that you took. This looks like an amazing adventure and I would love to do it. Is it easy to get lost or did you map out the route prior to starting your trip? Also, where there gas stations easily accessible?

    • Cole Burmester

      July 31, 2013 at 9:28 AM

      Thanks for your comment Kelly. We just picked a route around all the small villages within a 100km radius from San Gimignano then took off! I can’t remember the exact route but we stuck to the small back roads and found petrol stations along the way. Most towns are only about 10 – 20kms apart so it’s easy just to pick and choose as you go along. Sorry I can’t be more specific but sing out if you need anything.

  20. Dom

    August 16, 2013 at 4:10 AM

    Hi Cole, your trip looks so amazing, I am trying to book through Bruno Bellini and they are asking for credit card and personal details via an email and I’m just a little bit dubious as it is not the way that I normally make payments. Did you book in advance and if so did you have the same experience

    • Cole Burmester

      August 16, 2013 at 6:25 AM

      Hi Dom,
      Thanks for your question and reading the blog. We just booked it when we walked into their rental shop in the evening. We then had the bike for 24 hours so could use it that night and all the next day. Allowed us to get an early start the following day too.
      Good luck and enjoy it!
      Cheers,
      Cole

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Adventure Travel

Five Steps for Stress-Free Travel

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Many people travel to get away from the stresses of daily life. Vacation is often associated with relaxation and a lack of worries. However, many travelers still find themselves stressing over little things while on the road. Fortunately, some efforts can be taken before a vacation to help reduce these worries. Here are five steps to take before traveling to help reduce stress while abroad.

Research Your Destination

Traveling to a foreign country can be a daunting experience. Foreign languages and other cultural barriers can make it difficult to function during the trip. Even though smartphones make it possible to overcome many of these obstacles within a few minutes, it is still critical to research destinations before visiting. Even the smallest bit of research can help to make the trip much smoother and stress-free. While there are endless topics that can be learned before traveling abroad, there are a few key pieces to keep in mind. All travelers should have a general idea about local transportation, cultural customs, and language before visiting a new location. Furthermore, it’s a good idea to have a sense of the general state of cybersecurity in that part of the world, in order to reduce the chances of a security breach of your laptop, smartphone, or tablet.

Purchase Renters Insurance

When traveling abroad for a trip, there is already enough to worry about on the road. In order to have a stress-free vacation, travelers need to take care of any potential problems at home. One of the best ways to accomplish this is by protecting a house or apartment with insurance. Although a robbery or natural disaster may occur during vacation, travelers can rest assured that insurance will cover the losses. Travelers can research renters insurance online to see what kind of options are available.

Organizing Travel Documents

Seeing vacation pictures on Instagram and watching the Travel Channel can lead many people with an idealistic picture of traveling. While travel is still an amazing experience, it requires a lot more red-tape and formalities than most people think. Many countries require foreign visitors to have visas before visiting. These visas can only be obtained upon request and after showing the appropriate documentation. Even when traveling in countries without visa requirements, it is important to carry some important documents. Some of these include a passport copy, flight details, hotel reservations and more.

Budget Beforehand

There is nothing worse than returning home after a vacation with less money than you had expected. This is often a result of poor, or a complete lack of, budgeting. Some travelers make the mistake of assuming that budgeting can take place on a daily basis. In reality, it is much more effective to budget before traveling to a destination. Tourists should calculate the total cost of a trip by adding up transportation, accommodation, food and activity expenses. This budgeting will help travelers save money in the long-run and can help remove any stress associated with potentially over-spending.

Buy a Local SIM Card

People rely heavily on their smartphones to get through daily life. With accurate information just a few taps away, there is no wonder that these devices have become some of the most popular gadgets in the 21st century. People run into a problem when traveling abroad as their phones don’t have data abroad. Ironically, traveling to a foreign country is one of the most crucial times to have a smartphone for maps and other helpful information. Instead of searching desperately for wifi, tourists should buy local SIM cards to activate their phones. This will make it much easier to find directions, translate foreign languages and calculate conversion rates.

Stress-free travel is something that needs to be prepared beforehand. These five steps can help to ensure that your next vacation is as worry-free and relaxing as can be.

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Adventure Travel

Seven Destinations You Should Visit With Your Spouse

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When you’re traveling as a couple, finding the perfect romantic destination is essential. What could be better than spending quality time together, just the two of you, in one of the most beautiful places in the world?

Here, we bring you 7 destinations that you absolutely must visit with your significant other. Whether you love relaxing on golden sand beaches, enjoy exploring amazing sights or discovering culture and heritage, there’s sure to be a destination here that appeals to you and your spouse.

1.New York City, USA

So good they named it twice, New York New York is one of the ultimate destinations for lovers. What could be more special than standing at the top of the Empire State Building together, admiring the panoramic views? Whether you’re fans of history, culture or theater, you’ll find something in the Big Apple for you. Take in  Broadway show, discover world-class museums and then take a romantic carriage ride around Central Park. If you’ve got time, there’s always the famous Katz Deli where you can recreate the iconic “I’ll Have What She’s Having” scene from When Harry Met Sally!

2.Paris, France

One of the most romantic cities in the entire world, Paris is an absolute must for lovers everywhere. Strolling hand in hand in Montmartre, kissing on top of the Eiffel Tower and looking into each other’s eyes over a meal in an intimate pavement café, what could be better than that? A dinner cruise on the Seine, watching the lights of the city twinkling on the water is the perfect way to end a perfect day in the City of Love.

3.Honolulu, Hawaii

If your idea of indulgent pleasure is lying on an endless golden sand beach and listening to the sound of the waves lapping on the shore, Honolulu is the place to go. Luxurious hotels and outstanding service paired with gorgeous surroundings and amazing weather – it all adds up to a fantastic couples’ break.

4.The Maldives

If you dream of having endless time with your loved one in an exotic destination unlike any other, The Maldives is the ideal vacation spot for you. Gorgeous beaches and clear water make for a wonderful spot, whether you love relaxation or water activities. If you and your spouse are keen divers, this is a destination beyond compare. There are many wonderful dive sites here where you can get up close to colorful marine life and explore the world under the sea. You can even make planning for your trip a romantic couples’ activity! Spend time together browsing online and get details from Scubalist.Pro of all the best diving items on the market.

5.Venice, Italy

After Paris, Venice must be one of the most romantic spots on the planet. With its unique canals and gorgeous buildings, Italy’s city of love presents a world of opportunities to spend quality time with your spouse. Ride in a gondola together as the sun sets, enjoy a romantic meal by the canal side, or explore stunning ancient buildings in an amazing setting. It’s a vacation you’ll never forget.

6.Santorini, Greece

Greece has it all – a wonderful climate, welcoming people, amazing food and gorgeous surroundings. Santorini is one of the most beautiful and unique Greek islands. With its iconic white and blue buildings and black volcanic sand, it is a truly stunning place to explore with your other half. You can dine on traditional cuisine at an authentic taverna, stroll through rustic villages and simply soak in the sunshine together.

7.Blue Lagoon, Iceland

A surprisingly popular destination with couples, Iceland offers something truly unique to partners who prefer to stay out of the sun. With its spectacular landscapes, beautiful natural attractions and welcoming locals, Iceland is a destination for lovers. Also, what could be more romantic than snuggling up together on a cold winter’s night? The Blue Lagoon’s stunning blue geothermal spa waters are the ideal way to spend time together in this one-of-a-kind destination.

These are just seven of the best destinations in the world for lovers to get closer together and enjoy themselves in their own special way. Whether you love sun, relaxation or activity, one of these seven spots is sure to give you the romance you’ve been searching for.

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Adventure Travel

5 Tips to Avoid Conflicts During a Big Vacation

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No matter, if you are with family or friends, traveling with a big vacation party almost always, seems to be nothing short of a grueling experience.

Whether you are going through some well-planned and scenic Uganda tours or a culturally rich expedition through Europe, if there are more than 4 people in your traveling party, then the possibility of arising conflicts would certainly be be present.

Most people, when assembled to spend extensive periods of time together, seem to run on high emotions. While that phenomenon is most apparent in reality TV shows, a vacation is not immune to its effects either.

That is why, whenever you plan a big vacation, keep the following tips in mind in order to get the most of your traveling experience while also making sure that your traveling party is not getting at each other’s nerves.

Discuss Itineraries Before Finalizing Them

Itineraries are a touchy subject. While traveling in groups, one of the biggest pet peeves often noticed by people is how a single person hijacks their whole vacation by presenting their own itineraries. On the other hand, if no one discusses itineraries, then it leaves room for all kinds of scheduling disasters to take place.

Therefore, the best approach here is to not just let a single person print out a set of schedule for everyone, but rather to discuss the itinerary with the whole group. Take suggestions and incorporate them wherever you could, and ensure that everyone is agreed on the final itinerary.

Leave Room for Disaster Management

While fixing those itineraries, you will also need to make sure that while your schedule makes the most out of your vacation, it does have wiggle room for times when your car breaks down or when one of your travel companions has a wardrobe emergency.

By ensuring that you have a great schedule as a guideline but which has flexibility for disaster management, you can make sure to maintain the stress levels of your travel party accordingly.

Ensure That You Have Activities Planned for Downtime

Even during great vacations, there may come a time when you would find yourself stuck in your hotel room due to a last minute cancellation of your plans for any unforeseen reason.

For those times of collective confinement, ensure that you have a few indoor activities planned with your travel party. If possible, pack a deck of cards to play some poker or ensure that you have electronic group entertainment with you.

By making sure that you keep your travel group busy even during times when you are not out exploring, you can keep emotions from running high by someone delving into overthinking someone else’s behavior on the trip, which could lead to some interesting but quite unfortunate arguments.

Make Sure That You Have Some Gastronomic Pleasures Planned

During travels, one of the things that could irk people the most is them missing wholesome meals back home. This is a major stress factor that many travelers often ignore until it affects their mood to the level where it leads to testy behavior for no apparent reason.

Thus, ensure that wherever you are traveling, you are aware of the food customs of your destination. You may ask locals about where you could get a good bite to eat, while also packing some healthy travel snacks so that no one in your party goes hungry.

Ensure to At Least Listen to Other’s Suggestions, No Matter If They Are Last Minute

One of the best things that you could do while traveling in a group is to make sure that everyone feels included. Instead of pushing opinions down other’s throats, ensure that everyone in the group is open for discussion and last minute ideas from everyone else.

While not all ideas are great and some may need to be turned down, this will make sure that none of your group members feel like they are on someone else’s vacation. You can also introduce a casual voting system of your own where all of you could vote on certain suggestions so that the majority wins on a travel option fair and square.

Ensure to Stick Together In Order to Avoid Disasters

Vacation disasters are quite common. While they make for interesting stories a few years after, going through those experiences could be quite daunting.

Remember, looking out for each other goes a long way especially when you are traveling. Keep that in mind the next time you are about to snap at your travel companion (and tell your companions the same thing, but in a nice tone, you know, to avoid conflict).

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Meet Cole and Adela

Cole and AdelaWe have been wearing out our jandals (Kiwi for flip-flops) on our travel adventures around the world since 2009. We think our blog is thought provoking and a little witty. But we have been proven wrong before. Find out more about us here...

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