The large time gap between our last update and this post can mostly be attributed to my lack of courage. The lack of courage to admit to myself that I'd been to an Ed Sheeran show in Dublin. If you know anything about me at all you know live music plays a big role in my constitution and I'll never pass up good live entertainment. Now, I'm not a big fan of Eddie's music and probably wouldn't have seen him in Rome if he'd come but I learned he's a fantastic live performer and talented musician. I'll have to admit that before the trip started I was a little hesitant of standing in a park with 80,000 fans to see ANY show, especially Ed Sheeran. It took some time to find my way but now I've mustered up the courage to admit I had a great time in Dublin and want to share it with the world.
The most logical reason for the tardy post can be blamed on Mother Nature. We've been enjoying a beautiful spring here in Italy and haven't really wasted too much time indoors. Spring has by far become my favorite season here in Rome. We've been doing our best to enjoy the warm sun and spring colors before the stifling heat of summer returns. Which really translates into more mountain biking.
There is no truer sign of spring than when snow skiers are spotted outside their mountain haunts looking for warmer climates. Our first encounter of the spring with these skier types came when our good friend Charlie Wolf chose to spend his 40th Birthday Celebration with us in Italy. We couldn't have been more honored to have him choose us to help him celebrate. And celebrate we did. Chuck's trip was full of the best food and wine an old man could enjoy, Urban Assaults, and a weekend getaway to Puglia.
Brindisi is a 45-minute flight from Rome and puts you right in the heart of Puglia. Puglia is the region in Italy that encompasses the "heel" of the country's boot shape. Surrounded by the Adriatic Sea the region is a beautiful representation of classic southern Italy with a twist of Greece. Small towns filled with bright white stone houses contrasted against the clear blue water of the Adriatic are home to some of the greatest Italian dishes, wines, and olive oils. Puglia has been on our hit list for a while and what better way to see it than to share the experience with Charlie for his birthday. Thanks for the memories Chuck, we love you!
As soon as the first dirtbag skier left another two arrived. Somehow two Frenchie transplants found their way from the snowy French Alps to Italy. Evan and Becca Gould arrived in time to help us kick off our season of lounging on our terraces with cold wine and fresh food. I was stoked they choose to come down and enjoy a change of scenery. They had a historic snow year at La Plagne this winter and I'm sure they were happy to be in a warmer climate with more great food and wine to explore. The Gould's ventured out on a side trip to the southern coast of Italy to soak up the sun before hanging with us for a weekend filled with Urban Assaults and wine here in Rome. Thanks for the fun Goulds!
After a deep clean of our apartment to get the dirtbag off of everything we took a couple of weekend trips to Tuscany to ride and relax before we'd have to gear up for a big weekend in Dublin. Back in October (When Ivy was here. We miss you!) our friend Michelle rallied the concert club for Ed Sheeran in Ireland. My first reaction was why wouldn't we go to a new city and see an entertaining show but as we grew closer to the show date I started to wonder if this show was going to be worth the short trip. As the details started to unfold that the concert was in a huge park with 80,000 people and the hotels had started raising prices for rooms I started thinking how I could resell my ticket. Even up to the day of the show I would have probably sold my ticket if someone would have offered me face value for it. Driving the unwarranted hate I had deep inside, I started looking for other options to fill our time while we'd be in Dublin. Actually, I looked for only one option, mountain biking, and I found some.
Twenty minutes in a cab put us at the front door of the Glenellen Adventure Park. The GAP is a young bike park being built within a defunct golf course. The GAP is perched perfectly above the Dublin Bay among the classic Irish countryside of rolling hills lined with stone fences. The park was a perfect way to spend the first half of the day before the concert. The GAP offers a wide range of trails from manmade flow trails to rugged downhill tracks. Riders have the option to use the parks shuttle service or an uphill designated trail to reach the top of the park. We chose to use the shuttle to maximize our time on bikes. With a little planning, we were able to bring our own bike shoes, pedals, and protection which made renting a strange bike for the day a little less stressful. We had a blast all morning and really enjoyed riding some buff singletrack we rarely find around Rome. The folks at the GAP are amazing and friendly, they have a fantastic park setup for the area they have and I would imagine they'll see a ton of success as mountain biking continues to grow. Sidenote: Don't give E-Bikes too much shit, they may offer you a free ride some day.
Before the Ed Sheeran show, we ventured out on the town with a couple of bikes from the city's bike program for some food and beverage before we'd try to find Michelle. The Guinness was great as always but the fish and chips fell a little short. We made a quick plan to meet Michelle in the show and made our way towards the venue to scope out the situation. When we realized we didn't have to walk the 5km to the concert site with the masses and could ride our bikes right to the gate we knew it was going to be a good night. We found Michelle as the show started and settled in for a good time. Sheeran puts on an amazing show and has a lot of great interaction with his crowd. He's truly talented. Even the Dads and Boyfriends he jokingly called out for being there and pouting about it had a good time.
The weekends following Dublin the focus has been to ride bikes as much as possible to prepare for our summer bike trips. We've spent most of our free time away from Rome in Tuscany. We found we love being in the countryside where the food and wine are a given, the riding is some of our favorite and the people are very laid back. So far we've had a return trip to my favorite trials in Punta Ala, a new adventure in Calci, and a weekend on Monte Amiata. As school wraps up for Heidi and with plenty of good spring weather, we'll be out exploring until the heat sends us to the higher mountains. You can always check the Strava icon on our main page to see where we've ridden last.
With a big summer of riding rapidly approaching I'll do my best to keep everything updated and fresh. We'll be traveling for almost six weeks this summer riding bikes but will start our summer trips with another return to Portugal for a surf trip the first week of July. Our riding adventures will start in mid-July when we head to Scotland and Iceland for weeklong trips before returning home to Rome. From Rome, we'll start a three-week road trip with stops in Switzerland, Slovenia, Croatia, and Germany. Come to join us!!