five days and counting!

as our days in lucca near the end, we are trying to squeeze a lot of activities in.  last thursday evening, we were taken by our friends, robert and kay to a fabulous restaurant located under the lucca aqueduct.  the aqueduct was built in the early 1800’s by napoleon’s sister who ruled lucca from 1801 to 1814.  water from that aqueduct still flows into lucca, and it’s many fountains, to this day.  the water comes from the surrounding mountains and is so good that people line up at the fountains daily to fill their plastic water bottles.  an interesting side note is that elisa bonaparte was also responsible for turning lucca into the toilet paper capital of europe.  she said something along the lines of “silk (which was lucca’s main product at the time) is fine, but let’s manufacture something everyone can use”.

at any rate, the restaurant was enormous, with a large garden and covered patio.  the food was delicious and it was hard to believe, surrounded by all the greenery and the red brick of the aqueduct, that we were barely a mile from lucca’s walls.

the next night we were invited to dinner at the home of our swiss friends regula and her husband piers ( i am pretty sure that is not how he spells his name but it will have to do). she cooked a delicious meal which we ate on her patio surrounded by hundreds of candles.  joining us, were her son casper, who had spent six years in los angeles, spoke fluent english, and was smart, funny, charming and hip and her beautiful daughter anna.  anna was visiting from switzerland with her three children loris, anais and matilda, ranging in age from one to five.  beautiful and well behaved, we played with them for a while before they went to bed and the adults had dinner.  while none of the children spoke a word of english, it is amazing how language is not necessary in the world of children.  within minutes howard and i were playing with them as if we could actually communicate.  before we knew it. we looked at our watches and realized it was midnight and time to go home.

the next morning we went with regula and her family to pistoia for it’s famous market.  it is a charming town, and the market went on for blocks and blocks.  after a couple of hours of shopping and browsing, we all met up for a delicious lunch.  the ride home should have taken forty-five minutes, but going a least a hundred on the autostrada got us home in the blink of an eye.  just in time for our afternoon nap.

sunday and monday we walked the wall and just generally took it easy and began, the long and bittersweet process, of saying good-bye to lucca and the many friends we have made here.  tomorrow we are renting a car for the day and driving to orbetello (where we spent five weeks, years ago) and porto ercole, just to be close to the sea.

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