I stayed on the second floor... DOWN, that is!
15/07/2010 - 16/07/2010 35 °C
once again, Wifi and Internet defeats me, so I have resorted to tapping things out in note form in my iPhone, and then TRY and hunt down a wifi place as Internet is generally 1/4 price of a hostel for the night... Eek!
Luckily I was pointed to a placed called Freni E Frizioni where they have a password protected site - but it's lovely here! And the best news yet, I thought I was buying a €6 glass of Pinot Grigio (when in Rome, eh?! - which is actually where I am right now) - but they also put on a fantastic and bountiful vegetarian buffet banquet feast- so I am sated in almost all areas of my wanting!!
Anyhoo... This is my thought series from the other day!!
I arrived in Lucca after falling asleep on the train. I know, I know, but it wasn't my fault! I was really tired after getting no sleep at the hostel the night before as the bunk bed I was on was the only sleeping arrangement in the room that had springs instead of slats, and squeaky ones at that! Any movement resulted in a gawdawful noise that would make a teenage frat boy blush. So, sleep resulted only from a half a bottle of red and some very shallow breathing so as not to make my body mass any smaller or larger. I felt like an anxious bag pipe all night!
Anyway, so I was tired from that and tired from deciding to leave Firenze and the comfort of knowing a city without a one and a half metre map. So by the time I reached the train station - bags packed and a plan in mind, I was tired. But the adventures that day could only continue to mount.
I had purchased a ticket to get on the train after many failed attempts to use the electronic ticket dispenser (where has my use of English gone?! Why am I speaking broken, how you say, sentences?!). Anyhoo, I watched my perfect timetabled train leave - without me on it - and tried again. This time from a magazine and cigarette vendor. So - €5.20 later, I found the station platform, tried to validate my little ticket in the big slot, watched others fail before me, and then thought I'd board the train and hope for the best. The back of the ticket did say that if the machine didn't work to alert the station or train attendant, and as neither was about, thought I'd once again hope for the best. What's the worst that can happen?! Never answer that.
But luckily, all was fine, in fact, there was NO fine, and the train lulled me into a gentle sleep. Once I awoke and looked about at the mostly empty train, and the countryside I did not recognise (why would I?!), and my mostly usesless map - and then lastly my watch, I began to calmly panic and wondered if i should get off the train and catch the next one going in the other direction - surely an hour and twenty minutes was too long for a journey such as this? But then, I saw the apparent stop before me.
At this point i must point out that my normally next to useless navigation skills are reduced, in Italy, to trying to remember the places, towns and street names by relating them to food. Italian food, naturally...or at the very least. Therefore, I should get off at the town after Anti-pasto and then walk along Agnolitti street, ignoring signs to Baci.
It works, but not relaiably in all situations. Perhaps I should limit my travels to Bologna, or San Remo at a pinch.
Anyhoo, I managed to look at the not very helpful electronic display in the train (apparently we were travelling at 90 km per hour and it was 20 degrees on board and 4 degrees outside) and the time was 5:30 but there was a word that looked like Retardo 11 minutes, so I assumed Lucca was yet to come. Thankfully it was not just me that was retarded in this situation.
So I walked the 20 minutes in the (pasta) baking heat after taking my life in my hands in trying to cross the road (frogger style) at a neverending roundabout of torture, and arrived at a very nice looking guesthouse. Needless to say, I found myself staying In the cellar in the basement of this fancy guesthouse. We, the unclean and backpacking scruffs, are kept below stairs... And I was in the dungeon section by myself. But for one night, I didn't mind... It's normal to recall such films as Silence of the Lambs, right?!
They have bikes and Segways for hire and the nice shirted owner passed me on one of these ridiculous people movers - just like Gob - which I found hilarious as he sped off, leaving me giggling for apparently no visible reason, he vanished that quickly!!
Besides all of this natter, Lucca is a lovely little town. A maze of streets and piazzas nestled within the old city walls. I think Napolean gave it to one of his endless relatives to rule until they misplaced it one day... And I think it missed the war atrocities - so it is still a lovely little village boasting one of the best apples I think I have ever eaten, and some nice small raw green beans to soak up some of the cheese on my pizza square for lunch. Mmm.
I rode around the walls of the city, atop the actual height of the structure, and then meandered the streets until I thought it was time to cash up and leave for La Spezia and Cinque Terre...
More of that and more adventures to come!
AMAZING PLACES how sweet these finds that saved a wretch like me... Wish I could upload some photos...
All the best, Pen xx