Thanks to our tour advisor in Rome (aka Karim) we stopped off in Pisa for the day then onto a charming town named Lucca. Yes Pisa -Leaning Tower OF.. Well, Our train ride was again pleasant and took around an hour and a half with day the day being the bluest skies we have had yet. The air was cold and crisp but glorious sunshine. We checked our bags in at the train station and walked from one end of Pisa to the other -a fairly easy task. There is a big square, complete with Tower that leans, Museums to wander through and a large Cathedral. It would have cost us $60Aud to climb the tower – a lot of money for sore knees – so we took the cheaper option, climbing only 300 steps (yes, we counted)in the Duomo. (Large Dome building next to the Cathedral and tower.) We looked in one museum and went back to get our next train to Lucca.
We loved this town – Admittedly not a lot to do after seeing the square and tower etc, but a quaint little place with a country feel.
Onto our next destination only 20 mins away by train is Lucca. This is known as the City of 100 churches. Well, we went to 7 of them, only 93 to go! Our lodgings here would described by a Lonely Planet (or other such guide) as “characterless but functional”. With this, the Barkers agree. It was clean, the bed was comfy (unlike Florence, which sank in the middle like the Titanic) and the water was hot. We also partook in a home cooked meal (at the hostel) (packet pasta opened and boiled by me of course) We tried supermarket wine – at the huge price of about Euro 5 (we didn’t realise that it came from California!) Still, it did the trick and we slept well.
After beautiful weather for our arrival, the heavens opened and we had rain in Lucca for two days. I admit to feeling the coldest yet and we tried out the highly spoken of -Italian ciccolata calda. (Hot chocolate) It is like chocolate soup – very thick and creamy and piping hot. No amounts of coffee this day warmed us like this tasty beverage did. Divineness in a mug. Walking, walking and walking was the order of the day – trying to stay warm and dry the challenge. We accidentally gate crashed a funeral at one of the 7 churches (so that is what the big black car out the front was for)and found another church with dear little old nuns paying money into the heaters to sit by and pray.
This town is definitely worth a look – it is surrounded by the original stone wall and moats probably used to keep out the “baddies” (although they let us in Only 4km to walk around the top of this wall and the view is pretty good. Next time perhaps the weather will be more appealing. Thanks to another David (our host in Lucca) for his advice and chats. We wish him well for his visit to Mexico in February
Dave & Narelle