yesterday the weather turned warm, probably the mid eighties, with a crystal clear blue sky. as has become our usual pattern, we slept late, ate a light breakfast of toast, cheese and juice and took a walk on the wall. up on “la mura” the canopy of trees keeps the walking paths shaded and cool and we were able to get in a good two miles before it was time to look for somewhere to eat lunch. it is hard to find a bad restaurant and yesterday, our main requirement was shade. we went back to a place we had eaten before and were not disappointed, scoring a table on the terrace overlooking a tiny square. we are finally learning how to eat, now that the the first few days of pizza and pasta are behind us. actually, once you know how to order, the cuisine is far more varied than we had ever realized in all our previous trips to italy. we have also stopped drinking wine at lunch but in spite of that, yesterday the heat got to us and so, after lunch, we went back to the apartment for a little nap. everything is closed between one and four so taking a nap does not induce any guilt feelings that you should be doing something else and besides, in the two weeks we have been here we have pretty well managed to give up about eighty per cent of our guilt. after our nap, we went out and ran some errands. without a car you pretty much have to shop every day for something. we run through at least one giant bottle of water a day and bread and cheese is always best fresh. howard, of course, has had to meet each and every owner of each and every cheese shop and chaucuterie, and there are at least as many of them as there are churches, so running errands takes a while. we finally got home, showered and changed for dinner. we tried a new restaurant someone recommended. it was a beautiful night and we sat in a lovely garden. the owner and chef is italian and his wife is japanese. while the food is definitely italian, it had a slight japanese influence, which was very interesting.
this morning we woke up earlier than usual to find that the day was a bit cooler. we sat out in our garden for a couple of hours listening to music and reading and then our neighbor mentioned to us that there was a huge open air market on the other side of town. we jumped into our clothes and headed for the wall. the wall is sort of like the freeway in lucca. it is definitely a short cut to a lot of places and it is a very pleasant way to commute. our neighbor was right, it was an enormous market, but unless you were in desperate need for ill fitting shoes and all things polyester, there was not much to buy, although we did manage to score an alarm clock. the only clock we had was my watch, which for some reason insisted on running five to ten minutes fast, and my ipad which refused to change to italian time. after the market it was once again lunch time (meal times do seem to come up faster here than they do at home. thank god for the mandatory walking)! after lunch we came back to the apartment for, you guessed it, a nap. after the nap, up and out for errands.
it seems we have fallen into the most marvelous routine. while it might not make for the most exciting reading, we really are living our dream. when we chose to come to lucca for three months we really just wanted to live here. not travel, not sightsee, just live. we didn’t know if we could do it, we didn’t know if we would get bored, we didn’t know if we would end up killing each other. the jury is still out, but so far so good. we have really given ourselves the time and space to do the things we never did at home. howard is an amazing photographer who never allowed himself the luxury of just shooting to his heart’s content. now he does. i am writing more than i ever have and enjoying it. at the end of each day we share our creative work. how lucky we are that we each have something so satisfying, and that we have someone to share it with that appreciates it.
now that we are nearing the end of our second week, we keep saying that we must take the train to florence, or rent a car and go exploring the hill towns around us and i am sure, someday we will, but for now, for the time being, the pull of lucca and the magic of our little piazza keeps us here.