|The bottle of wine and artisan bread were waiting for us. And with all the grocery stores closed on Sunday, enough food to last a day or two. And one of the cutest apartment inside the city walls owned by a lovely retired italian couple. We certainly would not run out of things to do in this town for a long time, certainly longer than the 3 weeks we planned to stay.
Lucca is one of the few town with the medieval wall still fully intact. In fact, you can walk, run, cycle, picnic or anything else along the top of it's 4 kilometer long perimeter. Inside the wall, the traditions have been going on for decades - conversations at every corner, locals sipping coffee at numerous cafe's and boutique shops selling the best focaccia one has ever tasted. Tratoria's overflowing with patrons who spill out onto cushions on the steps of the duomo. More conversations. A wonderful place.
Now we did think there were a few too many tour buses arriving on a daily basis, but then we cycled to Pisa one day. Wow, we'll take our 5 daily tours buses to their 500 any day. You would think every tourist in Italy was visiting Pisa on the same day as you! And once you've walked the "Plaza of Miracles", it is, as Julia succinctly put it "time to go!"
Another day trip had Julia in Florence visiting numerous museums. Tomas, who had been to Florence previously, went cycling in the Tuscan hills. Julia's day was much more interesting and thrilling, especially when you get to see works by masters that you have heard of, read about and studied for many years. Tomas just keeps riding that dang bike of his!
Back in Lucca, we trained for the upcoming 10k fun run, rode our bikes in the area and delighted in shopping every day. Even greater delight in eating the food we shopped for, and generally doing our best to live like a couple of locals. We loved it!
Now we took some heart in our 10k fun run. Not only are italians bad at signage for cyclists, they are hopeless at signage for a 10k run. Tomas ended up on the marathon course and had to run 3k back to town in the pouring rain with another italian. A bit further back, in amongst a large, Julia veered off course. Fortunately the teenage marshall finished his cellphone conversation prior to the group getting too far off course. I'm not sure either of us saw a finish line.
We decided to shorten our trip so that we could return a few weeks early to attend to some family matters, so venturing to Sicily or Sardinia will have to wait for another time. So the conversation goes like:
Tomas - "I was thinking"
Julia - "uh oh, what"
Tomas - maybe we should end our trip in Alba.
Julia - "what's there"
Tomas - "wine, truffles and great bike riding"
Julia - "are you sure about the wine and truffles"
Tomas - "absolutely"
Julia - "Great, Let's go...... I sure hope you are right!"