today was our first day trip outside the walls of lucca. we went to visit the friends of our friends ron and merle. their names are ted and candy and sixteen years ago they bought an old farmhouse on an acre of land in the hills of massarosa. massarosa is just two train stops away from lucca, so after navigating the ticket seller and figuring out how to “validate” our ticket after buying it ( a process which requires sticking it in a machine much like a parking machine in century city) we boarded the train for the twenty minute ride. we were met at the station by ted who drove us up the mountain to their beautiful home. over the sixteen years they had turned the ancient farmhouse in a stunning bed and breakfast worthy of a magazine spread. each room was large, airy and beautifully decorated but it was the views that grabbed you. everywhere you looked were hundred year old olive trees with the mediterranean sea in the distance. the pool was nestled in the side of a hill and around a corner was a peaceful pond next to which sat a gazebo under which was a massage table, just waiting for a naked body to be worked on. there was a garden where they grew all the produce they would use during the summer and a hen house that provided all the eggs they needed. it really was something out of a fairy tale. we had a simple but delicious lunch outdoors, savoring the local wine and inhaling the views as well as a delicious salad, bowl of pasta and an unusual terramissu made, with fruit, instead of with chocolate.
after lunch, we sat in the sun and chatted for an hour or so and then got in the car for a short drive to viareggio. viareggio is a seaside town that is hard to describe. the beach goes on for miles and miles and there must be two hundred beach clubs. each one offers chairs, umbrellas, and changing rooms for rent by the day, week or month. one is more beautiful than the next. in front of the clubs is a promenade with shops and clubs. if you walk a block in the opposite direction you come upon a pine forrest which runs parallel to the beach for miles and miles. the idea is that you spend hours at the beach and then, when you are all hot and tired, you cross the street and go into the cool of the forrest to relax, have a drink or a picnic or just spend some time out of the sun.
after walking around the town a bit, gawking at the enormous yachts that are built in this town, we stopped for the obligatory late afternoon gelato and boarded the train for home, swearing that we would never eat again. and we didn’t, we didn’t eat again until about four hours later when, amazingly enough, we were, once again, both hungry. we just walked to the corner of our square, to our favorite wine bar, and howard’s best friend renaldo, and just shared a salad and a small bowl of pasta. you would think we would get sick of pasta but nope, it hasn’t happened yet. thank god for the fact that we are walking so much.
when we got home i discovered i now have a leak in my bathroom. by now, we all know what that means. a call to rafaelli and bennadetto. i really hate to call them. they are trying so hard to please us, and take every problem so to heart, but i am so afraid that if i don’t call we might drown in our sleep. these are all very italian problems.