This weekend was a women’s only fun packed adventure fest. We nicknamed ourselves the ‘spiderwomen’ due to our newly discovered ability to stick to walls in a bid to (a) not get our feet wet or (b) fall to certain death …..ok so I exaggerate a little, but we did feel euphoric on our canyon adventures and to us it felt like we had real super powers.
We started by driving into the heart of Tuscany and found ourselves near Bagni di Lucca where we embarked on our first stop, Canyon Park. This is Italy’s first adventure park where you zip, fly and climb inside a canyon.
The canyon is quite small, but because of this it is extremely intimate and inviting. It doesn’t take long to feel like you really must be a long lost decedent of Tarzan and Jane.
The canyon experience is guided, and all equipment is provided at the site. Hard hats and harnesses for everyone. Just don’t eat a heavy lunch before hand as they are well tightened ….looking on the bright side I finally had that 36-26-36 Lara Croft body i’ve always wanted. Trust me the snug fit is very welcome when you’re swinging above the canyon river.
Our guide was very professional and we were given a good safety briefing at the start. Then the fun begins! There are numerous zip lines and climbing sections, wires and Tibetan ropes to walk along. The course gets progressively more challenging as you move through the canyon. You build your confidence quickly from those tentative baby steps across the first wire and soon every section is a real thrill! Its exhilarating and super fun lasting an intensive 1.5 hours and at 23 euros, well worth the experience!
At the end of the adventure we devoured our picnic lunch soaking up some sun rays beside the ‘blue lagoon’. The place is magical and really a world apart. The water is the most incredible combination of emerald green and blue sapphire.
We took the opportunity to rent a stand up paddle board (SUP) and paddle in between the steep canyon sides. I imagine this is what it feels like to be an amazonian goddess …… I mean its not everyday you get to glide along the river in the midst of the forest, with only the silence and beauty of nature overpowering your senses.
Recharge & Relax
No girls weekend would be complete without a little pampering and obligatory spa visit. We arrived at the spa Terme Bagni di Lucca still sweaty from the canyon adventure to be greeted with a surprised ‘welcome sporty ladies’ (I think the usual clientele are a little less rustic)! As we relaxed our tired muscles in the spa, our hosts at the hotel offer complementary aperitivo (prosecco and finger food). What a treat to walk around the hotel lounge still snuggled in the big white hotel dressing gown, grab a naughty prosecco and gossip in the gardens ….all while watching the sun go down. Pure luxury!
Another day another Canyon – Orrido di Botri
Day 2 we headed to Orrido di Botri, Tuscany’s largest canyon, carved out of the limestone rocks over millennia. This time we would be walking with our feet firmly on the ground …. although they wouldn’t always remain dry!
This place took my breath away. With the narrow river bed and the high imposing canyon walls, I was transported into another realm. Every angle, every rock and every pool of water is in itself a piece of art.
You have to pay a small 2 euro fee to enter and with this the park rangers also give you a helmet which is obligatory to wear in the canyon.
The trek itself lasts approximately 4 hours, so slip some easy snacks and water into your back pack as you’ll need to recharge on the trail. However as you are walking in the cold river for most of the trek, picnic time is best left for when you return to camp!
So pack your bags and head to this incredible corner of Tuscany, away from the typical tourist trails to discover a slice of the wonderful and exhilarating nature that Italy has to offer. After all at the end of this adventure, there is always a bottle of Italy’s finest red wine waiting for you as a well deserved reward!