Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Stage one - Viarregio

If the weather had stayed like it was for my arrival - wonderfully sunny, hardly a breath of wind and a fab 27 degrees, I might have been content to sit on the beach for a whole two days.

The wind and the rain, however, had other ideas, with Monday seeing huge clouds being chased in from the sea around lunchtime and a massive rainstorm overnight. Today, Tuesday, I decided to go to Lucca - a short train ride inland - a lovely little city, ringed by a stone and earth wall, with a couple of churches which are gems and the birthplace of Puccini.

I've been to Lucca before, when my parents and I were staying in Montecatini. It was there I showed off my only Italian, asking 'Dove casa Puccini?' only to find it was directly behind me and covered in scaffolding.

I had no plan, so merely meandered around streets, into churches, up bell towers (the last part of which was interesting to say the least. A practically vertical ladder, with an up draft, a down draft, my hat clamped on my heat and my skirts choosing this moment to do a Monroe impression. Did I say it was windy? It was very windy.

A sharp prolonged shower found me disoriented under an umbrella, and I almost gave up on finding the statue of Puccini, but a quick lunch and the return of the sun found me newly determined to find it, and in the end it didn't prove so difficult. The Puccini museum also turned out to be open, and it was fascinating to wander about the second floor of a house, where his grandmother had lived, and where he himself had been born. No pictures were allowed, sadly, of the wonderfully painted walls, although I did manage to sneak a picture of the costume from the second act of Turandot - I'll add it here when I finally get a USB card converter!

Returning to Viareggio, I almost missed the train (not another for an hour) because of the Italian habit of having convoluted conversations with the ticket officer, and then I tried to be brave and sat outside a bar, trying to look glamorous, in the howling wind. The fact all the locals had jumpers on finally persuaded me I was being silly, and I have since retired to the hotel bar.

Dinner is at 8 - tomorrow I head for Firenze!


Eva said...

Just realized I missed the chance to wish you safe travels, and that you are already on your way! Sounds like you are making some great memories. I sympathize about the wind! Here on the Oregon coast in summer locals know that there is no point going to the beach unless you want to be sand-blasted. Locals always know best! ;) - the hotel bar was a great idea. Cheers!

Anonymous said...

I love the way you write, Becca. I can totally see you climbing up that ladder and sitting in the howling wind attempting to look glamorous :) Glad to hear that you're there safely - have a ball. Madeleine x

oxford-reader said...

Hello both! Glad to see people are reading this .... moving on to Siena tomorrow and really looking forward to it. Hope all is well with both of you :)