Thursday, September 18, 2008


It was a bit chilly this morning and the streets are too narrow to get any decent sun, so we went to the Campo for breakfast drinks. We were a bit grumpy that the cafés seemed over priced, but then we inexplicably went nuts ordering. I upgraded my tea to a hot chocolate when I saw the waiter bring one piled with whipped cream to someone else, and I got sucked in by a plate of biscotti that they had on display at the counter. With Kevin’s drink, the bill came to €18! That’s $27! But sooo tasty.

The next Tuscany hotel was La Gemma in Lucca. The old part of Lucca is within a wall, and the wall is so thick the top is used as a bike and walking path. This city was one of our favourites. Once again, we had trouble driving within the wall and this time a police officer yelled at us. Our hotel had a private parking lot, so after checking in, we got it straightened out.

We had a quick lunch of pizza, then rented a tandem bike. We were supposed to give passports in order to rent, but I guess we looked innocent enough and the rental guy trusted us with no i.d. Sucker! We rode the perimeter of Lucca twice on top of the wall. Being good Canadians, we did return the bike and pay our bill. Stealing it seemed like more of a hassle.

For the rest of the day we checked out Via Fillungo – a street with shops and cafés, and the flea market. I tried Italy’s variation on the beaver tail – buccellato. We also walked the wall a bit more.

On the way to dinner, we stopped at opera composer Puccini’s former house. The posted museum hours said it was open but the door was locked. The guidebook said it wasn’t much to see anyway, so I settled for a picture with the Puccini statue.

At dinner, we started with pasta and went with the waiter’s recommendation for the second course – grilled steak. He said it was pretty big so we might want to share it. Thank goodness we did! It was so big it was hanging over the sides of a dinner plate. It really was just average, so it was kind of a weird recommendation since Italy’s not big on steak. We suspect he picked something he thought boring North Americans would want.

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