Lucca, my second stop during my stay in Tuscany, is a charming town. Unfortunately, I cannot say much more. Because I got cold and spent all 5 days almost entirely in the bed of my hotel room in San Marco (north of Lucca). Too bad but (!) I tried to take just the positive out of this:
1. I had time to pay attention to some details that would normally be left unnoticed. The curtains, for example, had a lovely pattern. That kind of thin stripes, you know – one stripe 90% opaque, the next one 10% opaque and so on. So the morning sun sort of wakes you up but also doesn’t. Next time I do my curtain shopping, I’m totally taking that knowledge with me.
2. Also, I didn’t eat much, since I somewhat simply wasn’t hungry. And that is a shame – staying in the most tuscan Tuscany, just occasionally eating crackers…yes, I am a monster but don’t judge me yet! Luckily, I made myself eat properly at least once and ordered tordelli lucchesi in the hotel restaurant – delicious homemade basically ravioli filled with meat and covered in meat sauce. Yes, very meaty! And I used the time slot between medicines as well and ordered a DOCG Morellino red wine. Which was excellent by the way. So who’s the gourmet now, huh?
3. I did a Spotify research on signor Giaccomo Puccini who used to live in Lucca and has evolved into kind of a patron of the town – I hadn’t known that “Nessun dorma” is Puccini’s work, part of the Turandot opera. And I had completely forgotten that he composed Madamme Butterfly, too. Although I visited the NY Metropolitan Opera live stream once. Anyway, learned something new, you know.
4. I read a lot. Well for my standards, I was basically bookworming around. The travelogue of Zikmund & Hanzelka and The Girl who saved the King of Sweden by Jonas Jonasson. Both are fantastic reads. Even if you’re healthy.
5. I practised my comedy Italian in uncomfortable situations and even learned some new phrases. You may be aware of the fact, that talking when you have a cold it’s not easy in general. Now try it in a foreign language you don’t feel excellent at. In situations that could have been prepared for, hadn’t you deliberately skipped them in your language text book for you thought they are bad omens and therefore irrelevant. You know, lessons like “In pharmacy”, “At the doctor” or “How to describe your pains in various stages”. Don’t skip them.
6. Despite the illness, I did some convalescence walks, mainly on the walls of Lucca, since I couldn’t stand ignoring the lovely town in front of my windows any more. So I saw at least something! Unfortunately, I didn’t feel fit enough to walk the stairs up to one of the city icon Torre Guinigi (the Guinigi Tower), nor to rent a bike to drive around the entire town on the city wall (which is a MUST!!! and a reason why I definitely want to come back again). Lucca is one of the few cities in the world, that kept its medieval walls pretty much untouched until these days. These are not gothic walls (strong but relatively thin) but renaissance kind of walls (basically, they are wide enough to have a road on it). Moreover, in every corner of the wall, there is a little park. This is definitely the most remarkable feature of Lucca. And, as I found out, it also works as a speedway for pedestrians – get on the wall, walk at high speed without getting lost every 5 seconds and when you’re approximately in the part of the town you want to visit, take the next exit and walk down from the wall – you have arrived at your destination! How ingenious is that! Another unique city feature is the main square, the “Anfiteatro”. It used to be a Roman Amphitheatre for up to 10 thousand people, got some buildings in it later following the shape of the stage. Got some more buildings in it not following the shape of the stage, then an italian architect Nottollino came up with the idea, that if you get rid of the latter, you’ll get a fantastic Piazza right there in the tightest part of the city with minimal cost. He was right and we are all very thankful for creating the symbol of Lucca. By being right.
Anyway, that was it! Not the greatest stay of my life but a nice appetizer for a future revisit, as well as a good life lesson. Now let’s move to La Spezia and Cinque Terre!