We just arrived in Florence after two great days in Lucca. It is a really neat medieval walled city, about four kilometers around and really neat to explore. To get there we took the early train from Vernazza to Pisa, hopped off for a really quick trip into town for a picture with the leaning tower (good thing it was quick because it was really hot and we were carrying all our luggage). Then we got back on the train and took the rest of the line to Lucca. Our hotel was outside the wall, so we dumped our bags, went to the grocery store for lunch, then went into the city to explore. It was really surprising how high end all the shops were, but they were fun to window shop in. We didn’t stay in town too late, mostly because it is just so hot, and went back to the hotel and made dinner in the kitchen. Pasta with pesto and peas, salad and bread, really good dinner! We had a bit of an adventure trying to open our bottle of wine, as there was not corkscrew in the place. Mom and I decided to walk out on the street with our bottle and just find someone to open it for us! And it worked! We got our wine open and sat in the kitchen drinking it and meeting other guests that were staying there. Two men from Arizona and one from London. The London guy told us about a medieval flag throwing competition in town the following day, so we decided to do that in the afternoon.
Our second day of Lucca was split into two parts: the morning of biking aroud the wall and through town, then a late afternoon visit to town and dinner. The middle of the day was far too hot to do anything productive, so we just stayed in our room keeping somewhat cool and sorting photos and napping. Siestas are a good thing when it is this hot.
After our siesta, we made our way back into the wall and found a cool shady piazza to sit in and people watch. Mom went off to take pictures and left me t sit on my own…and get chatted up by two Italian men and asked out to dinner! Thanks but no. We went to the flag throwing event and that was really neat. Kind oflike our US civil war reinactments. It was a neat thing o expereicne. Lots of Italian men wandering around in tights and skirts, women in mideaval velvet dresses…it looked really hot. I would not have wanted to live in Lucca during that time!
Our dinner was great, much more local food than most of the menus that we had read. It was called Trattatoria da Leo, and was off the beaten path down a little alley in Lucca. The menu is handwritten every few days in very hard to decipher Italian, which made ordering a bit interesting, but the waiters were able to help us out. Mom and I split a really good ravioli dish, and then each had a main course of meat. We have not eaten much meat this trip at all, but it is the traditional fare in Lucca. I had a trio of boiled meats, and it was really good. I was a bit surprised to find out that one of the unidentifiable pieces was actually cow tongue…but I actually liked it! I would never have ordered it though! Guess that is what a language barrier will do…get you to try stuff you never thought you would! Mom had pork in a bean and pine nut sauce. Great dinner.
Now we are in Florence, and are going to go to Sienna this afternoon. Tomorrow is touring the main sites here and trying not to melt in the heat!