Tuesday, July 5, 2011


Lucca is a small walled town between Florence and Pisa.  We were flying out of Pisa, but not until late in the evening so we decided to take a train to Lucca, maybe cycle around as that was highly recommended and then continue on to Pisa in time to see the leaning tower then fly back to London.

Well as Robert Burns wrote "the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry", and these ones certainly did.  All started well, we got the bus to the train station and managed to catch the appropriate and very cheap train to Lucca.  The trip took about 1 hour as it stopped quite a few times.  Then things derailed, Connie had been assured by one of her trusty guide books that there was a place that you could leave your luggage and rent a bike right by the train station.

One of the beautiful squares in Lucca
There was no luggage drop to be found so we headed dragging our bags behind us through the large city walls.  I asked a policeman if he knew of a place, and my Italian was nonexistent, and his English not much better, so he directed us back where we came from and we tried again at the train station.

Still no luck, so now starting to get hot and tired of dragging our luggage around, we headed back through the walls.  This time we asked a bicycle rental shop who suggested we tried the bus station, the route he sent us on, was up on the wall surrounding the town and back down about a 1/4 the way round.   This was the low point, and there are no pictures of this very picteresque walk as no one was in the mood to take pictures.  Fortunately by the bus station there was somewhere to leave our luggage (for about double the price of the train!).  All thoughts of cycling had left my head, I wanted to find a restaurant in a shady spot for a cold drink and something to eat.

Nancy enjoying a cool beer after the route march
We found the perfect little spot and ordered beer and prosseco, cooled off and relaxed. We ordered two pizzas and two salads to share.

pizza with mozzerela, mushrooms, arrugala and parmazan

One of the salads was a salad called farro salad.  Farro is an ancient grain that was a staple of the romans and was a speciality of this town so I had to try it. Actually I enjoyed it so much (taste starting to come back) that I bought some farro to make the salad at home.

Farro salad

Although it was a grain, in fact it was quite light and refreshing and the farrow had a nutty flavour and texture.

Tuna and bean salad
The tuna and bean salad was also delicious, or was everything tasting so good because I could finally taste?

After we had enjoyed our refreshments and were all in a much better frame of mind we spent some time wanderting around Lucca.  It is a beautiful little town and certainly very bike friendly as there were hardly any cars.

In the centre of the town was a beautiful church which we wandered around and then headed back to pick up our bags and continue on to Pisa.  We were right by the bus station and there was a bus going to Pisa in 15 minutes so we decided to take it.  The bus was very hot and we soon regretted not taking the train. The trip was not very long fortunately and we arrived in Pisa and  drove right by the leaning tower with out stopping, and landed at the airport with all our luggage and no where that we could leave it again and not sure how to get back to the leaning tower.  So that is how I went to Pisa with nothing but a drive by of the tower. Fortunately it was a lovely warm evening and there was a beautiful grassy area outside the airport and as this was Italy you could buy a bottle of wine and we "borrowed" some plastic glasses and made the best of a bad job.

Enjoying a refreshment outside Aeroporto Galileo

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