All good things come to an end, and on Monday morning, I had to say ciao ciao to Cinque Terre. I was sad to say goodbye to the villages and the area, but not sad to say goodbye to the somehow increasing number of tourists. Somehow there were more tourists in Cinque Terre then there had been in Pisa with its Leaning Tower.
I caught the 8:53 train to La Spezia to change trains to one to Viareggio to change to another train to Lucca. If I had more time, I would’ve spent it exploring these towns after another day of hiking Cinque Terre. However, I had to make the most out of my four days there, so it was on to Lucca.
Today, Lucca has a population 87,000. The Piazza San Michele is located on the former site of the Roman forum, and the Piazza dell’Anfiteatro still has traces of the amphitheatre (and has a circular shape). In 56 BC Julius Caesar, Pompey and Crassus formed the First Triumvirate in Lucca. Lucca is the birthplace of Puccini. The place is filled with history.
I left my luggage at the train station for 4€ so I could explore more easily. A bit expensive (considering the fact last month I did the same thing in Burgos for 1€), but Italians know how to make money off tourists, so I paid it without complaining. It was a well spent 4€ to maneuver through the city.
A quick cappuccino (had to get it in before 11:oo) before going under the wall to the city centre. Lucca is famous for its medieval walls and for having a ton of churches. As I always prefer God’s architecture to man’s, I didn’t really keep track of which church was which and only looked at the map to make sure I was seeing everything there was to see. Which was a lot.
After wandering the streets a while, I spent some time sitting on a bench resting and writing in my personal travel journal near the walls and a parking lot/car park (only residents can drive within the walls and everyone else must park outside). It was about 14ºC (57.2ºF), and someone had left their poor German Shepherd dog in the car in the shade. Some woman asked me (in Italian, of course), if it was mine, and I was like “No, non è il mio cane” (although I do live with a German Shepherd). She went off on the indignities of leaving a dog in a car (which I do agree with, of course). She finally got bored of waiting for the car’s owner to show up. A few minutes later, they did, and another woman appeared out of nowhere to yell at them. This lead to a screaming match in Italian. It was like my own little Fellini film right before my eyes. They then tried to bring me into it, and with my rusty Italian, I explained I had just been there five minutes and could not say how long the dog had been in the car. I just wanted to play with the dog. The moral of the story is…don’t leave dogs in cars!
I had my token lunch of pizza (I only eat pizza in Italia nowadays, and only once during the trip! Silly diet and trying to eat healthy) found my way to the famous Piazza dell’Anfiteatro, which I really enjoyed. Spain has some amazing plazas, so it takes a lot to impress me now. Piazza dell’Anfiteatro succeeded. I really liked the bar that advertised a husband day-care centre and reminded people that every time you tip a bartender, a Justin Beiber fan catches a cold, so tip your bartender. (With the coperto, tips aren’t needed in Italia as they’re already getting paid just for you sitting down in most estabalishments).
I had my gelato and walked along the wall a bit more, admiring the views of Tuscany. I wish I had had more time to explore. Alas, my reservation was in Firenze (Florence), so I knew I should be wrapping up my visit to Lucca. I had bought my souvenirs in the morning from a cart selling post cards and other Lucca Memorabila in the piazza near the Cathedral, so I was good to go. I said “ciao” to all the beautiful towers and churches and headed back toward the train station. There was a train around the half hour of every hour connecting Lucca to Florence. I settled down on the train to study some italiano and admire the beauty of the scenery around me…wondering what would await me in my second visit to Florence.