Friday, October 24, 2008

Lucca Lucca Bo Bucca Bonanna Fanna Fo Fucca -- LUCCA

Up and atem’ early Friday morning, eating yogurt at our apartment, and a banana and plum cake on the road. We decided that since we came all this way to Italy, we would be sorry if we didn’t see the leaning tower of you-know-what AND it was on our trajectory to Lucca, our planned destination for today. Basically, we drove to Pisa, parked, gulped a cappuccino standing at a bar, used the WC, and hopped on a free shuttle to the Campo dei Miracoli, or Field or Miracles. Howard had no sooner said “Where’s the tower,” than I looked to my right and WHAM! There it was looming less than 100 yards away. Pretty hard to miss. We took a few photos, bought a magnet, got ourselves back to our car, and got out of Dodge. Pisa. Check.

Howard adds: As much as it hurts to reveal certain items in this blog, certain things must be said, even if the truth hurts. Just as we discovered the religious fraud of the electric halo for Mary and the revealed truth about priests pulling strings on the wings of Archangel Michael (read on for the low down on this), the leaning tower of Pisa is also a fraud. It is evident from the written literature that is freely available at the site and from that incorruptible source, Rick Steves. Over the years, architects and engineers have attempted various methods of correction to the tower. The top two levels were built a century apart and put on crooked to attempt to correct the leaning. Later, weights were installed on the north (high side) underground and out of sight. The latest and most successful was the removal of a massive amount of soil under the north side to allow the tower to settle to the north, correcting the tilt by 6”. Can you imagine the conversations between the powers that be once they discovered they could actually correct the problem. “Hey Marco, we corrected the tilt by 6 inches, do you want us to continue, we can get this baby straight by next month?” “Well, hold on Guido, let me talk to my people. Nope, that’s good enough for another 200 years or so.” Think about it. If the tilt was removed, who would come. One of the most identifiable trade marks in all the world suddenly gone. I don’t think the people of Pisa are ready to give up the economic trade, millions of Euros and good will of the leaning Tower, just to actually straighten it out. End of expose.

Lucca, the site of the antique market we attended last Sunday, was much calmer on a Friday afternoon. That day we were on a mission, today we were here to lollygag. According to Rick and a man Howard met (see below), biking around the perimeter wall was a must. So we decided we must. And we did. The bike ride (twice around) was a highlight of our trip.

We ate lunch at a wonderful little ristorante, Caffe Bei & Nannini. Their special of the day was a vegetable Tuscan soup, or zuppa, loaded with 12 different kinds of vegetables. Yum yum. Howard had a crepe with speck (a denser form of prosciutto), rocket (a type of lettuce), and cream cheese. He declared it yummy as well.

After lunch (and our afternoon cappuccinos), we ambled through Lucca, no destination in mind. Got to see towers and tower houses. Howard contemplated the beauty of the city.

At the former Roman Forum, now a church at the Piazza San Michele, at the pinnacle of the building, sits Michael the Archangel. According to Rick, the priests used to flap Michael’s wings on special occasions using hidden strings and “wow their gullible flock.” Those trickster priests, always pulling a fast one. First the Virgin Mary doesn’t really have a lit up halo, and now we learn that Michael can’t really fly. And then there's Pisa - don't get me started.

We didn’t get on the autostrada for our return to our apartment, but meandered through the countryside. One of the things we discovered was a cemetery. Wow! I love cemeteries, so we stopped and walked through. Note to our kids: We really like the sculptures, the photos on tiles, the lit lamps, and the marble flower holders.

During our lazy drive back to Volterra, we spotted an unknown hill town, a couple of miles from the road. Howard said do you want to stop? At first I replied no, then I said, “But if you want to . . .” I barely had the words out and Howard had turned around. Five minutes later we pulled into a quaint little town, Peccioli . . . YUCK! This is what we found:

And now we take a few moments to answer some queries:

Gretchin asks, “What does Howard do while you are blogging and on the Internet?” Well, Gretchin, so glad you asked. I’ll let Howard answer. Most of the time I sit and watch and get antsy. At times, I contribute in a minor way and then there are times when I roam and circulate with the locals, talking to anyone who will talk to me. I met Ron Farrell, a 70-year old gentleman who had just married his partner and was on a pre-planned trip to Italy by himself. What a delight he was. I have read Italian newspapers, not understanding anything I read. But the pictures were really fun and they really like soccer over here.

Peshe asks, “How are you going to get that iron wheel attached to the abandoned building into your suitcase?” Peshe, we’re working on it. Howard is looking for a blow torch.

Peshe also wanted to know if I had kept the wrapping from the pastry treats that Howard brought to our room in Napoli. Of course.

The rest of the story . . .
And that ends this portion of our trip: the Tuscan countryside. On Saturday morning, very early, we'll drive to Firenze (aka Florence) for a four-night stay. We have a reservation to visit the Uffizi, the equivalent of the Louve at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday. You'll be hearing from us again . . .


Destree said...

The scenery is amazing...such attention to detail everywhere. The cemetery was really cool...I wonder if they would allow huge iron sculptures on my plot here in the US? I guess I could always start dropping hints to my own children :0)

Just a thought: who is this "they" I was just referring to???

gl. said...

biking! in the fall! in italy! *swoon!* dayna, you look SO happy in those pix.

Thanks, y'all. I so appreciate all my readers and your comments! said...

oh, my gosh,
oh, my gosh!!!
i cannot believe the scenery!
why am i here and not with you?
the pictures of you riding the bicycle are wonderful! you take such a good picture:)

i think i must go to italy!

xoxo, jan