I apologize for the delay in updating my blog. It is hard to force myself to sit down and write about my adventures when I would much rather just continue to live them. But so many exciting things have happened in the past two weeks and as I am just sitting on the couch, breathing in the first smell of autumn in the air I will write about my trip to the Italian cities of Pisa and Lucca.
Two weekends ago, my roommates, Brock and I left on a Saturday morning to explore the two cities mentioned above. After missing the train we originally planned to take, we found a quick snack and caught the next train... an hour later. The train ride to Pisa is a little over an hour long and only costs 2 euro, a very good deal in my opinion. I had heard from both my parents and other friends that Pisa is not impressive, the only thing to do in the famous city is the see the bell tower that some poor contractor built on sand and now leans away from the spectacular church it was built to accompany. Thank goodness I had such low expectations of Pisa; I was fortunate enough to not be disappointed by the fact that it took us over an hour to find a restaurant that was barley semi-decent or that there literally is nothing else in town beside the leaning tower. After walking in almost a complete circle around the tower, we found our perfect picture spot and took the infamous pictures of each and everyone of us using our "muscles" to hold up the leaning tower of Pisa. We walked around the church and the baptistry, trekked back to the train station and caught the next train to Lucca.
The train from Pisa to Lucca was less than a half hour, but by this point it was late in the afternoon and the roommates were less than enthusiastic about seeing a city we knew absolutely nothing about. I am so happy we were able to convince them to visit this mysterious city. Getting off the train all I could see in front of me were the large wild grass lawns( dandelions and all) surrounding the ancient city wall of Lucca. Did you know that Lucca was the capital of Tuscany before Florence was, and said walls are the only remaining medieval walls fully intact in Italy? We spent the rest of our afternoon wandering around a city that has nothing spectacular to see, but gives you a feeling of being bear hugged. It as if the city uses its walls to envelope you and make you feel completely at home. Lucca lacks the hustle of bustle of the big cities like Rome and even Florence. It is the kind of place where neighbors smile and wave to each other and the local children run around amongst the trees laughing; and it is their laughter that guides you into a sense of belonging. I honestly could live in this city, one that I know nothing about, just because of the feeling I got when I stood in the main square looking at the carousel hidden in the trees. We only spent a couple of hours in Lucca but we found an amazing street market selling everything from food to scarves to toy cars. We witnessed an Italian wedding celebration in the local church and ate a Frate- a local pastry famous in Lucca (think a doughnut, with a hint of lemon, covered in sugar and nutella....HEAVEN!)
I am so glad I was able to mark 2 more destinations off of my list of places to see in Italy, and that I flew by the seat of my pants for what seems like the first time in a very long time. Thank you Pisa for letting me touristy and thank you Lucca for showing me the lesser well known things Italy has to offer me these next 3 months.