It feels like a treat the days when we only have a couple of hours to travel to our next destination. I like train travel but once you have done a few days of 6+ hours traveling over a 2-month period it starts to wear you out a bit. The train journey from Florence to Lucca was a joyful 2-hour trip. We arrived in Lucca at 1pm and it was simply beautiful.
Lucca is a walled city from the Renaissance times, with most of the 12m high wall still standing and you can even still see where the overly large moat use to lye. The houses outside of the wall are overly large and decorated, each one a different pastel colour. The houses inside the wall are your typical Italian types with overflowing balconies of potted plants and washing lines hanging from one building to the next.
Our hostel was about a 15-minute walk from the station, along the top of the wall. As we walked to our hostel we passed a small canal roaming with birds of all sorts and fish.
Our hostel – Da Elisa alla Sette Arti – is in a beautiful old building with only about 4 rooms for guests. Our room was huge with a big old bed and headboard and cute daisy lampshades as well as antique mirrors. It was a gorgeous little place, 45 Euro per night well spent.
Once we were settled in, we walked down to the Pam supermarket, which was about a 10minute walk and stocked up on food for the next couple of days (and our last few bottles of Tuscan vino of course!). However our relaxed moods turned to stressed moods very quickly when we realized Morgan had a hole in his pocket and our room keys were gone! Let’s just say we were very lucky as the owner of the hostel was super kind and didn’t even charge us a dime for the loss, all we had to incur was 2 hours waiting in the freezing cold until someone could come and let us in! However a hot shower solved any woes soon enough.
We treated ourselves to a bit of an Italian buffet in our room on our pastel green ‘secret garden’ table and chairs. We decided to open our precious bottle of 05 Chianti from Montefioralle to go alongside our antipasto platter of; foccaica bread, olives, onions in white wine vinegar, grapes, cherry tomatoes, proscutto, salami and 3 kinds of delicious cheeses. Not to mention our tasty Montefioralle olive oil, which went down an absolute treat. After a few ups and downs throughout the afternoon, it went down an absolute treat and we slept like babies.
The next day, our only full day in this part of Italy, was spent exploring Pisa and the rest of Lucca. We got up fairly early in order to catch the 9:30am train to Pisa; it was only 30-minutes up the tracks. Once in Pisa, we were hanging out for an espresso. This is one of my Italian obsessions by the way. So we sipped on an overly bitter espresso before making the 2km walk up to the Torre Di Pisa – or how we all know it – ‘The Leaning Tower of Pisa’. It was very cool to see, I thought it was one of those things I wouldn’t mind missing out on but it truly is a sight for sore eyes. You just cannot go there either and not do the cheesy photo shoots of pushing the tower over or holding it up. Also inside the Campo dei Miracoli Square where the tower stands is a cathedral and baptistery. Being stingy backpackers we decided to save the 30 Euro it would of cost us to go inside the tower to spend later on a nice bottle of vino.
After we had taken in all there was to see, we made our way back to the train station. Stopping off for my other secret Italian obsession on the way – gelato. We were back to Lucca by 1pm – we made our way to the hostel for a quick cuppa before heading out to roam the beautiful streets of Lucca. Lucca is a pleasant city and unlike many of the other places we have stopped in Italy, you can actually roam the cobble alleyways without fair of being run over by cars or scooters, as it’s a fairly quiet little place. My favourite part had to be the “AMPITHEATRO PIAZZA’ which was a cute piazza that was fully surrounded by Italian houses in the shape of a circle. Actually they weren’t houses but everything from shops to wine bars to delicatessens. We roamed the streets for a couple of hours, before grabbing another gelato and heading back to the hostel.
The night was spent snacking on our left over bits and pieces from the night before as well as some fresh tortellini’s in a fresh tomato sauce, bellissimo! It was now time to pack up our things and say goodbye to yet another place on our 3-moth Eurail journey.