FRI. JUNE 26: Day 18
I love Lucca.
No, Lucca isn’t an Italian man. Lucca is a city located less than a half an hour from the Tuscan coast. Did I get your hopes up?
On my walk to the train station, I met a wonderful character named Gimi. He is a newsboy cap-wearing painter with the friendliness of a newborn pup.
Within the first five minutes of talking to him, he invited me to take a coffee break with him. “Adesso?” Now? I asked. “Si! Hai tempo?” Yes! Do you have time? he replied. “Ho tempo sempre!” I always have time!
I decided at that moment to take a later train to Lucca.
After an espresso and conversation, we exchanged numbers and parted ways. He made me promise to come see him tomorrow to tell him my thoughts about Lucca.
Dogs are everywhere in Italy. Even the trains! They are allowed to go into stores. I always smile when I am leafing through a clothing rack and I look down to see a pug sitting next to me.
I met a lady on the train from Pennsylvania who adores Italy as much as I do, so we bonded strongly and quickly.
Lovely Lucca is a precious city protected by massively thick 16th-century walls. Since it isn’t a hilltop village, it is ideal for anyone wishing to take a break from climbing. 😉
For lunch, I ate a caprese sandwich in a beautiful cafe.
Something I immediately noticed about Lucca is how different it is from Florence. Outdoorsy, endearing, and colorful and good words to describe this beautiful little Tuscan town, where the pace of life varies from slow to slower.
The buildings are all gorgeous pastel colors. I felt like I was walking in an Easter egg basket.
People were walking, rollerblading, biking, and running all around me.
I sat on the edge of a bridge and people-watched…. until an older Italian couple from below scolded me and told me to get off. I couldn’t understand much but I think they were worried I was going to fall off.
There were bikes everywhere! Every corner, every turn, every wall, every nook and cranny, I saw a bike. I entertained myself for a while photographing them.
After hours of exploring side streets and piazzas, I stopped at a restaurant for my first eggplant parmigiana in Italy.
I ended up spending the next five or so hours hanging out with the bartender, the waiter, and the chef. We listened to music and chatted about life in between their order taking and food delivering.
I tried to pay for my meal and two glasses of wine, but this angel of a man told me, “No. You don’t need to pay. You brought me sunshine today.”
You brought me sunshine today.
Oh my GOSH. My heart.
On Fridays, they have live music. Man, this girl can SING. I haven’t heard jazz sung so flawlessly in such a long time. I sat on the church steps across the street and let her voice create a painting in my mind.
I saw this sign advertising concerts coming to Lucca. What an awesome list!
What made my trip to Lucca perfect was the ending. I climb on top of the Renaissance walls and watched the sun set over the mountains. I repeat: I watched the sun set over mountains. This was the first time I have ever seen mountains.
I ran straight towards the sun. I passed people walking the opposite way and all I could think was “Wait! No! You’re going the wrong way. Look up! Look behind you! Do you see the magic that is happening right now?!”
This is the point I started to cry. Not necessarily because of how beautiful the colors were, but because I realized how truly happy I was in that moment. I told myself, “Don’t forget this feeling.”
The train ride home was long and I was exhausted. Absolutely fatigued. I think my body officially snapped and is possibly rejecting me. It’s like, “Okay Laurie. I’ve walked you a thousand miles a day with only 4-5 hours of sleep a night. I can’t do this anymore.”
Here’s to a good night of rest. Buonanotte!