Speeding up to Lucca
Monday, April 1, 2019
Europe has such an amazing railway infrastructure, with high-speed trains (Frecciarossa) that almost burn the tracks at 250 Km/h (and 400 km/h between Rome and Milan on dedicated lines, covering that distance just under three hours), while the countryside goes by in a flash.
Fun fact: There are 120 Frecciarossa train connections per day throughout Italy: from Turin, in the North, to Bari, in the South.
After the 1.5-hour stretch Rome-Florence, we had to switch to a regional train, and all those small-town stops took me right back to my youth when we traveled from Belgium to spend the month of July at my uncle’s, in Northern Italy. Noticeable difference, though: Graffitis are now everywhere…
We arrived in Lucca in the afternoon, where we are renting an apartment for the month of April. It is an awesome place within the massive historic walls, and it feels like stepping back in time (plus the tourists, of course). Met the very nice owner, got settled in and… found the baker! All set! Even got to the grocer for the bare necessities, including espresso coffee and local cheese. Voilà!
Dinner at the Old City Bar. The quaint corner terrace was welcoming and we started with a Prosecco to celebrate my birthday. We ended with the simple but delicious “Torta di nonna”, for dessert. Yummy.
Tuesday, April 2, 2019
We woke up rested, and I cannot tell you how quiet this neighbourhood is… I had not experienced a “quiet” Italy for a long time but on this trip, both our hotel in Rome and our apartment in Lucca seem to be in a world of their own.
Lucca is an absolutely lovely city, full of charm and history. With many churches, towers, and interesting squares, there will be lots to explore!
Lucca is also the birthplace of Giacomo Puccini, and concert recitals are offered every day at 7:00 pm in the church of San Giovanni. Stay tuned…
Today, we did a 4.2 km loop on Lucca’s remarkable wall: a construction that includes a Roman wall, a Medieval wall, and Renaissance ramparts, all built throughout history and impeccably maintained.
On a more “contemporary” note, let me tell you what has changed since we arrived in Italy: 1) We have dinner at 8:00 pm. 2) We have a last espresso after 9:00 pm. 3) My Fitbit registers way over 10,000 steps a day. 4) I am drying my clothes by sliding them on a rope outside my balcony. 5) I sort out recycling items from the kitchen in 4 different categories. 6) And the hot water tank might just stop once in a while… which, with my luck, will probably happen when I am in the middle of a shower, with lots of shampoo in my hair!!! But then… I love it all!
Dinner: Spaghetti, meatballs and pecorino cheese, our first “home-made” meal. Espresso and local cookies. Buon appetito!