Day five

We have come to the conclusion that we are altogether too rowdy a six-some. We might have been disruptive at a couple of group meals  (too much laughing), so we are trying to ratchet back a bit. But I digress.

We headed a bit west today by bus…not public transport, but our own tour bus. This involved meeting outside the hotel at 8:20 and pulllllling our luggage up the hill we brought it down day before yesterday. As I mentioned before, the road is too narrow for the bus to turn around, so we have to meet it at the top of the hill. Destination Lucca for the day and then on to the sea shore for two nights.

The countryside between Volterra and Lucca was just spectacular:  loads of pine nut evergreens lined up like soldiers, colorful trees in full bloom, fields just turning a soft green, olive trees by the zillions, and picturesque buildings in stone, brick, and earth tone stucco. Just like in the movies. We passed Pisa and could see the top of the leaning tower from the highway. In the distance were white capped mountains, some of which had snow at the peak and the others were actually Carrara  marble. During the drive our tour guide, who is excellent I might add yet again, ran through a quick, efficient history of the fall of the very sophisticated, ordered, civilized life during the height of the Roman Empire with its 50,000 miles of paved roads, public baths, etc. and the gradual slip into the dark ages…and eventually  on to the Renaissance. As heavy as that sounds, it was very interesting to those of us not napping. Well, to me anyway. He covered the rise of the merchant class (think Venice) and the concept of banking which at the time was a sin of the highest order.

Our stop in Lucca, formerly a proud silk center and now a major producer of toilet paper, was great. It is 9-ish times larger than Volterra,  in case you were going to ask, and claims Puccini (think opera) and another composer as native sons. We had a quick tour of the old city which is totally surrounded by an ancient wall. Its unique town square is actually oval since it  was established on the grounds of an ancient colosseum. Where there used to be seats, there are now four and five story homes, condos, and apartments. The ground level is for businesses of all kinds. The highlight of Lucca for all of us was the wall. It is 100 feet wide at the base and, thanks to Napolean’s sister, a park on top. We six got bikes and rode the 2.5 miles around counter clockwise and then  turned around and went the other way. I brought up the rear, as usual, and Emily was in the front. Lunch was fun. We chose to sit out at a lovely restaurant rather than to grab and go. A wonderful decision. We were offered a round of Prosecco on the house which made us feel like celebrities.

Back on the bus for the ride to Levanto, right on the Med. We are in a small hotel a block from the water and prepositioned to enjoy Cinque Terre tomorrow. Dan and I have a room with a wrap around balcony which has the hotel sign attached to one end. Lights are bolted into the sign, so luckily we have roll down shutters on the balcony door.

Tonight is a pesto making demo and a buffet of local dishes for us to enjoy and then complain about over indulging.


3 thoughts on “Day five

  1. Well the blog continues to delight me! Love hearing about the countryside…as you know Tuscany on my bucket list! So glad the Mongeons are having a grand time! Safe travels!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s