Lucca before Maryce

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Flag of Italy  , Tuscany,
Wednesday, March 14, 2012

09/03/12 Friday

Today started at midday with a walk to Charlottes and Stigs to pick up the table they had wrongly received the day before and take it back to Porta S.Donato and swap it for the table they had actually ordered. The supplier was very apologetic and told them that he would be at the Porta at midday. So at midday we were there…and so was the supplier.

The first thing he did was check out the 'old' table…he still couldn't quite believe that he had delivered the wrong one… after accepting that, yes, he definitely had, he apologised again before leaving us to our own devices to get the 'new' table back to the apartment.

This all went well and it was all over within the hour…I said my goodbyes to Stig and Charlotte and then made my way back to Brunella.

Mary, on the other hand, had been having a coffee with Michelle, at Mare Meo. I didn’t see them as I walked passed, as they were sitting inside. (We had intended sitting outside but it was a little windy therefore chilly, so we moved inside) so I walked on through to Brunella.

We relaxed for the afternoon before meeting Charlotte, Stig, Daniele, Sao and Gloria for dinner. We ate at Vecchia Trattoria Buralli in Piazza San'Agostino and ate very well. (They very kindly presented us with a couple of going away presents …including a leather purse to save money for our return…and a silver model of Lucca, to always have on display so we never forget!!! Thankyou xx)

Mary got quite teary!!   We will dearly miss all these lovely people!!!

We finished dinner and made our way back to Brunella….a lovely night with friends that we will remember forever!!!

10/03/12 Saturday

Spent today just doing what needed to be done. From walking the wall …to checking emails… to getting some shopping done.

The highlight of the day came in the evening… tonight was James Taylor concert and we were both really looking forward to it. We had a beautiful late lunch as we knew that we wouldn’t have time for dinner and then got ready nice and early. The concert wasn’t until 21.00 and at the Teatro Giglio so we knew we had plenty of time to get there.

We enjoyed a couple of martinis before the concert, rugging up before leaving (as it was a cold night already) and had a casual walk through Lucca into Piazza del Giglio and the teatro.

As I was late in purchasing the tickets, the only seats available were in the main box…(oh dear, what a shame :) ) …this was James Taylor and Mary especially wanted to see him. We had 3 other people with us in our little box...

We all made ourselves comfortable and waited for the master to start. I went to take one more photo before I realized that the cameras batteries were dead…perfect!!!! All this time with the camera just idle on the table and now when we need it …no charge…nothing I could do…we’ll just have to live with the two photos (none of James Taylor) and the great memories. (Little did we realize how prophetic that statement was to be!!! :(:( )

The concert itself was amazing…he is 64 on the 12/03 and considering the life he has been through, looked so well. I later ‘googled’ him to get some more information and found out that he was very much into drugs and didn’t have the blessed life that I thought. The concert was full of all his trademark songs …it started with some that I had never heard even though I am sure that the real die hard James Taylor fans knew them all … but the more the concert went the more the songs began to be the classics that everyone knows.

Favourites for the night would have to be ‘Fire and Rain’ and ‘You’ve got a Friend’ but really all of them were brilliant. (one of my favourites tonight was 'Up on the Roof'. I was being very sentimental and changing the words in my head to "Up on The Wall"...- funnily enough, to me, it worked...)

He ended with the usual encores and then, which really surprised us, he stayed back on stage and just kept signing autographs. (He didnt seem in any rush and was chatting to people and looking very relaxed) Now I know that all these stars owe everything they have to their public but I’m also sure that most would not do this…I was very impressed…and jealous!!!

A great concert, a great night…if we get the chance we will definitely see him again… next time I will be sure to have charged batteries in the camera.

11/03/12 Sunday

This morning was up and at it doing our usual things then we sat down with a good book for most of the morning. At about one I became a little restless and decided to go for a walk and get some shopping. I knew the stores were open on Sundays…but I was wrong …I walked for two hours from one supermarket to the next…always thinking that they were all open. I finally made it to Esselunga and bought what I needed to buy.

On my travels I walked past an obvious Lucca F.C. supporter and asked (nicely) what time the game was on…well!!! Somehow, I had offended this elderly gentleman…the first thing he said - in Italian of course...

"Don’t you read the papers?"

…I said “Pardon??”  …

”You should know everything about our Lucca F.C!”

I said… “I only want to know at what time they are playing today?”

“Well if you don’t know then I’m not letting you know!!”

I couldn’t believe it…he was being so rude….so I smiled and told him that I was visiting here from Australia and I wasn’t sure. (hee hee, usually Mikes likes being a 'local' but on certain occasions, he plays the 'tourist' line!! )  At this he was full of apologies and told me everything I needed to know…

12/03/12 Monday

Monday movie night today… Mary and I went for a walk down to the DVD store to pick up a couple of movies for tonight and then stopped at the supermarket for some provisions…

We bought some ingredients for a couple of things I wanted to make and straight after a light lunch I got stuck into it. A healthy soup and a mince mixture to stuff capsicums. Mary had afternoon tea with Libby and Michelle  and so I took the time to get cooking.

After cooking, Mary hadn’t returned so I took off for my walk and, while I was out, I checked out Snai Punto  to see about the world of sport.

The weather in just so perfect at the moment and the walks around the walls are full of every type of person…from the 10th generation Lucchese through to tourists here for the first time. I love hearing the tourists talking …all that wonder in their talk and excitement in their eyes. Very cool!!!

After arriving home we received an email from Michellle &
Paul, inviting us to Brittany’s last  meal in Lucca and they were all
going to San Giorgio…(well, there is no way we were saying no). Movie night Monday was postponed to Movie night Tuesday.

We also received a couple of calls from G&J from Dubai; they sound like they are really having the best of times. He swore he was going to send some photos through from Dubai…he is very impressed and they seem to be doing lots of tours and meals. Good on them!!!

We met up with the Sullivans on (where else) Via Fillungo as we were making our way to San Giorgio… the five of us had a lovely meal…I had a Baccala Risotto and Mary some lamb chops….Brittany had to have the Cabonara again for the last time… I was very tempted but told Piero that I was not going to have it tonight and to suggest something else just as good.

The night was very easy and a lot of fun…  It will be sad to see Brittany leaving…she has had a good taste of what we have been doing and loves Lucca as much as the rest of us.

We all took off home with the plan to meet at the stazione tomorrow morning.

I came back out to fill our water bottles, we had a nightcap and then bed.

13/03/12 Tuesday - 14/03/12 Wednesday

We woke up early to go and see the Sullivans off at the Train station… they are off to Rome for a few days with Brittany before she leaves for Australia…(Good luck, Britt...wishing you all the very best xx)  A beautiful morning in Lucca and after their train left, Mary and I went for a slow passeggiata through the streets and stopped for una caffe along the way.

The day was calm and peaceful....we had a couple of films to watch tonight and that was about it!!!

On Wednesday we took off to buy some things to bring with us to Milan and Luxembourg….and make Brunella spotless for Maryce (and us of course) when we return next week.

I then left Mary to get ready at home while I walked down to return the videos and pick up some things from the supermarket then to Stazione Centrale to buy the tickets for our journey. Well…. I knew it was going to take a little time and there were a few people in the queue…there was only one window open so I let a couple go before me who I knew only wanted to buy a quick ticket.

The second window opened and the girl in front of me went to that one and then some other guy decided to walk in front of all of us and stand behind her…we were all a little peeved but I figured he only wanted to ask a question…the other window was still busy with another man that was obviously asking a lot of questions….anyway this man was not asking questions he was just pushing in!!! Nothing like the kind human spirit and patience!!!

After about 30 minutes I finally had my time with the ticket assistant and proceeded to book all the trains we would be needing for the next few days and …it did take a little time (as I expected)…during this time the other window closed so the queue was quickly getting longer and longer.

When I was nearly finished a man waiting in the queue shouted out (in Italian of course) “ What are you doing there?? It’s a ticketing office you know!!!”( and a few more expletives that I won’t repeat)…I turned around and glared at him and motioned…”And what do you think I’m doing!!”. He kept on ranting and raving to the others in the queue until I turned to walk away and walked straight to him waiting for him to say anything as I glared back at him. I was so amazed that someone would get so angry…even the others waiting in front of him were embarrassed to be near him. He said nothing and turned away as I walked by him…honestly!!! (oh, the patience of these Italians...and funnily enough, my Italian too :)...its not often Mikes loses patience with people, but i guess when they are being so rude...but as my Ma always says, two wrongs never make a right...poor Mikes, he has had a tough time this week with 'his' locals :) )

From the station I walked back home to get changed for my walk around La Mura with Mary full steam ahead getting her things organised. I told her what had happened down at the station and she just smiled...(luckily, there are always more nicer people than horrible people...i tend to feel sorry for these kind, life must be very difficult for them; to always be rude and nasty to people and to lose patience so quickly)

After my shower I took off yet again to a suit shop that was having a half-price sale and had some beautiful suits available…we saw it this morning and I wanted to hopefully get a tux for singing. I ended up buying a stunning black suit that hung just right and a winged collar white shirt…all at half price…but no Tuxedo…I’ll have to keep looking. I did end up making a friend with Nicola, the owner, and we talked for about half an hour about everything…nice guy! (there is the odd time in the Italian language, when the a at the end of a name doesnt necessarily means its female...Nicola, is a guy)

Walking back from the store at only 8:30 at night…Lucca was like a jewel…I walked very slowly listening to the sounds and movements of voices of families in their homes … gazing at the stars and feeling the cool stillness of the night…..and loving it.

Once home we sat down for a hearty home-made soup before heading off to bed fairly early. Nearly all packed up and ready to go.
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Chris Callus on

Hi guys. Oh what fun. You have really well and truely settled in, it will be hard to return to Oz. Looking forward to seeing your new (almost) tux, Michael. And I hope appreciated that I have resisted all the ass jokes about Santorini; I trust others made a few. Looking forward to seeing you. Love Chris.

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