Ray and Anna Blog


Monday, April 8, 2019 I look at our tourist pamphlets piled up on the dining room shelves… our computer and all sorts of connectors spread out on the table… our camera gear all organized… our clothes neatly hanging in the bedroom armoire… and our toiletries gathered in the bathroom… and I am amazed at how quickly we can invade a space to make it our own! We have been here one full… Read More

Tuesday, April 9, 2019 We are hereby confirming that the tower of Pisa is indeed leaning! What an awesome and beautiful day! We took the train (always so comfortable in Europe) and arrived in the famous city of Pisa. The walk from the station is very pleasant, with long pedestrian stretches.   Reaching the “Field of Miracles” takes about a 30-minute walk if you go straight there, and about one hour if… Read More

Wednesday, April 10 & Thursday, April 11, 2019 A relaxing day in Lucca involves a bike ride on the walls. We rented a comfortable two-seater on Via Bacchettoni (wonderful service at Mercantino Rent Bike) and took the ramp to the walls. The steady climb was a bit of a workout, but we caught our breath when we reached flatter grounds. The rest was super fun 😀😀😀 We got many smiles from pedestrians… Read More

Friday, April 12, 2019 Escaping Lucca is difficult because it is so uniquely wonderful! And yet, Tuscany is so much more… Today, we explored a beautiful area northwest of Lucca. We rented a car – we now really blend in with our Lancia 🚙⛽️ – and took off right away. First stop: Marlia The villas in and outside Lucca are part of the Tuscan landscape. These lavishing properties, with excessive luxuries and… Read More

Saturday, April 13, 2019 Idyllic and idolized by millions of tourists around the world, Cinque Terre is indeed unique and captivating. It is also a testimony of human ingenuity when it comes to taming the land. Here, steep hills facing the sea are laced with beautiful terraces where vineyard, fruits, and vegetables flourish. Note to travelers: We drove to La Spezia, parked underground at the train station (clean and safe), then headed for… Read More

Sunday, April 14, 2019 This Montecarlo – about 25 minutes away from Lucca – has no casinos, but it is an absolute little gem and worth stopping by. Unusual weather has plagued the area, with rain and thunderstorms. Today was one of those. But when you want to make the most of it, nice surprises come along… Despite the rain, and since we had an extra day of car rental, we decide… Read More

Tuesday, April 16, 2019 Crowds, crowds, crowds… we surely have been spoiled so far, but all of that is going to change! This Renaissance city isn’t only high on a “Bucket List”, it is also Easter week, which adds to the chaotic drama… Mamma Mia! Taking the train from Lucca to Florence is an easy ride, but when you arrive at your destination, you are caught in a sea of people who… Read More

Wednesday, April 17, 2019 Breaking news: Today, in Florence, photography has become a contact sport! But first things first: we graduated to the “Group 1” mentioned yesterday. This time, we know where we are going, and are not stopping for cars when crossing the street! Since we had a reservation at 2:00 pm to see the Uffizi Gallery, we dedicated the morning to the Medici Chapels and the Basilica of San Lorenzo…. Read More

Thursday, April 18, 2019 By now, we navigate like pros in Florence and even found a tunnel from the train station to safely cross the square and avoid all the traffic commotion… This was Medici Day! We have been following the drama of this powerful Florentine family on Netflix, and it helped put some of the pieces of the puzzle together. But the story here picks up a few generations later when… Read More