Lucca is also a tourist town - I heard more American and English spoken in the day we were there than I have heard on the whole trip! The streets are narrow and windy, filled with interesting shops, numerous churches, bars, and restaurants.
Puccini - Lucca is his birthplace.
In Lucca we stayed in a little B&B that had 65 steps to our room - Elizabeth counted them! As part of the €85 we also got a delightful breakfast of bread and jame (sounds boring, but it was very tasty!) bruschetta, hardboiled eggs, fruit, and of course yoghurt and cereal. The dining room had a frescoed ceiling, and the table seated 12 without any problem, and above one of the cupboards we could see table inserts to double the size of it - though then it wouldn't have fitted into the room!
As part of our rest day, we took a bus ride down to Pisa, where we inadvertantly went past, a long way past, the sites we were there to see. As a consequence we saw a lot more of Pisa than we otherwise would have! I thought it was really rather a nice city with arcaded streets, a large river flowing through the centre, and quite clean and tidy. I say that because the further south we have been going the more we seem to see of overflowing rubbish bins and graffiti!
We went to Pisa, as you might imagine, to see the marble Tower (as in leaning!), Duomo, and Baptistry. We went, along with many hundreds of others! They were there in what seemed like their thousands, but that is probably a slight exaggeration. There was every race, and every dress style you could imagine, and we heard many different languages. We also saw many different people trying to hold up the tower as thay posed for photos in front of it - I didn't!
I was surprised at the gentle colours of the marble - soft grey and white, and the carvings on the buidling - especially the Baptistry and the Duomo were very intricate.
The leaning tower.
The Duomo, with the tower in the background.
I had a scenic bus tour down to the coast, where I could see glimpses of beach shelters on the shores of the Mediterranean for many kilometres before the bus turned inland again. Carol and Elizabeth had a very hot afternoon, with very little shade and a steep hill before reaching Lucca. They had walked double what I had, and were pretty tired! Leaving Pietransta was quite pleasant, until we had a little spot of bush bashing to do up and over a steep hill. I was pleasantly surprised that we all came out with very few scratches, as we had to deal with a lot of blackberries!
Our spot of bush bashing!
At present I am sitting in the Biblioteque at Altopascio. I bought a wonderful new map at Lucca which has all the refuges listed on it, and tonight we are in a sports complex, having rated it the same number of stars as our first night out of Pavia. As I sit here typing I can look out the window and the trees blowing in a good (cool) breeze - something that has been a rarity thus far, and I look across to the hill oppostite at a village perched on the top, complete with its tower. Carol and Elizabeth have been occupying themselves with their favourite pass time - shopping, while I have been taking this opportunity to post this blog, and also add photos to the last 2 blogs, if you want to go back and look.
Tomorrow will be a longer day, but still flat. I am hoping that it will be cloudy like today, and as cool. When we left Lucca this morning it looked to me as if there was a black cloud on the horizon, and it wasn't till I had been walking for a while that I realised that it was actually the hills with so much haze on them that it looked like cloud.