Italy
Bagni di Lucca

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10 travelers at this place

  • Day34

    Bagni di Lucca / Bennabio

    December 16, 2017 in Italy ⋅ ⛅ 3 °C

    What a Wonderful Day

    We must be either totally mad or absolutely greedy. We woke at 7am today to get ready to make our way to a lunch booked for 12 -12.30. The journey entailed a 40 minute train ride from Lucca to Bagni Di Lucca station, and then a 5km hike uphill to Benabbio, lunching at Locando Il Cavallino Bianco. The weather forecasted storm.

    We got to the station named Bagni Di Lucca, and realised that we were actually at the town Fornoli, 4km from actual Bagni Di Lucca, enroute to Benabbio. Well, if we were to walk 5km, what is another 4 km more, especially with lunch at the end. And we had over 3 hours to make the hike, so we could go at a leisurely pace. In high spirits, we set out looking for the tourist information but a coffee stop was priority. We turned our seasoned travelers, intrepid trekkers noses up at the coffee places along the "main highway", which was a narrow one and a half lane road lined with trees of some leafless sort. We found a little cafe across a footbridge full of old men. A typical village morning coffee stop for locals. Our type of place. The owner spoke excellent English, coffee was good, pastries melted in our mouths, the bathroom was clean, and we were invited to sit down at no extra charge. We even had entertainment watching an old lady feed coins into a colourful poker machine. (It's a little mountain village. We take our entertainment when we can.) I don't know if I've mentioned it before, but in Italy, the price of coffee doubles or more once a seat is taken. We have our coffee and pastry standing at the bar, and will not even stand anywhere near a table. We were invited to sit, and so were pleasantly surprised to pay only €1 per coffee and pastry. The day was starting to look good despite dark clouds gathering and descending. We took instructions to get to the tourist information, and resumed our walk. It was lovely walking by the river, looking at clouds move across the mountain tops and enjoying being in the country. We love little villages, the landscape, the pace, the clean air, the lovely people... We love it all.

    We got to Bagni Di Lucca. Followed the "i" signs to the tourist information, and got to a board with a map. We decided that it must mean the office was close by. So we walked on. "Ohhh, there's a Christmas fair", and we walked. Opps. We're out of the town. No tourist information office. Either the tourist information referred to by the many signs must have been the board, or it was shut in this off peak winter season.

    Onwards we walked. Out of town, the road started to climb. Oh. I forgot to mention that we were walking on the road. There were no tracks that we could see, and of course no footpaths, so we walked single file along the narrow roads whilst admiring the view, and the quaint little houses. All this time, we had varying degrees of drizzle. As the road climbed, so did the precipitation. Blessed be those who developed waterproof fibres and clothes for they have kept many well and dry. May they inherit the kingdom of whatever god they pray to, and plenty of well deserved riches of this world. The rain started to get torrential, and we walked on. With just 1.8km to go, a white car stopped in front of us and reversed. A kindly man stopped to offer us a lift. He did not mind that we were wet, and our boots were muddy. We piled into his car, as relieved to get out of the rain as we were to not climb any more. He shook his head and gesticulated wildly when we told him we caught the train from Lucca then walked from Fornoli. He dropped us right in front of the restaurant and it was not till later that I realised I never saw his face although I thanked him with a big "grazie miele" and shook his hand from the backseat before I got out of his car. He is my faceless angel in black padded jacket.

    As we were early for the restaurant, we decided to explore Benabbio and it's gorgeous stone alleyways. Whilst I was taking some photos, an elderly lady carrying a pail of firewood and potatoes emerged from an ancient stone shed. I smiled, said "boun giorno" (good day), and offered to help her carry her pail. Before I knew it, she shooed me and her pail uphill whilst she disappeared downhill. We waited with her pail, and then I started to wonder if she thought she was robbed or thought I wanted her firewood and potatoes. I pictured the old lady cold and hungry. Oh dear. All the other 3 not-so-awesomes could do was laugh at me. I took pail in search of old lady when she emerged with an empty plant pot. We again mimed that we'd carry the pail for her, and she pointed the way. It took both Swee and Grace to carry her pail about 250m through slippery cobbled lanes. Country old ladies are really tough. Always be nice to them.

    Lunch was certainly worth the journey. We got more shaking of the head and wild gesticulating scoldings from the owner, Alessandro, when we told him we walked from Fornoli. There was no menu for this restaurant. It was an oral menu of 4 pastas for Primi Piatti (first course), and 4 meats for Secondi (second course). Alessandro, starting his sentences with "Attenzione", explained it all in detail with his limited English, aided by lots of mimes and gestures. It was hilarious. Every time he said "Attenzione", I wanted to giggle. We ordered all 4 pastas and 3 mains. We skipped the beef. The vino (wine) which came in a half litre jug was from his friend, and the olive oil was made by Claudio the chef. Both were sublime and better than most we've had in Italy. I love little village restaurants. After pastas, we wondered how we could face the mains. Not only did we face it, we finished it, with bread to mop up every bit of sauce.

    Alessandro asked if we wanted dessert, and I all to enthusiastically said, "of course". There was chocolate and pear tart, almond cake, and apple cake. He suggested that he makes a plate with all 3 for us to share. It sounded like a wonderful idea until we saw the serve. The serve of the 3 cakes made up a whole cake. The girls decided to sing me happy birthday very loudly, and I pretended to blow out candles. We were in a vino and food aided merry mood. The table next to us, a couple from Cinque Terre, who we chatted with periodically through lunch gave me kisses before they departed the restaurant. I love being in the country. Shortly after, the chef appears with a carafe of Vin Santo (sweet sherry tasting desert wine) and 4 pieces of typical chestnut cake of the region, a present from the Cinque Terre couple. Just what we needed. More alcohol and more food. It would have been rude to not partake of such a gift, so we did. We were consoling ourselves with the 9km walk down-mountain to work off the enormous lunch when Alessandro appeared and insisted that we not walk to the train station. He gesticulated that we'd break his heart, and he'd drive us instead. We were so full, we thought he could kick us down the mountain. After all, the train station was at the bottom. We'd just have to avoid rolling into the river.

    Intoxicated and overfull, we boarded the train and immediately fell fast asleep waking just in time to get off at our stop in Lucca.

    What a wonderful lunch. What wonderful people. What a wonderful day.
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  • Day31

    Teufelsbrücke und Pinocchio

    May 31, 2017 in Italy ⋅ ⛅ 25 °C

    (1912 - 2084 km)
    Von Lucca über die nördlichen Berge an der Teufelsbrücke vorbei zu Pinocchio. Nach Lucca schön in das Hinterland (Bagni di Lucca) gefahren und die berühmte Teufelsbrücke besucht. Der Teufel half bei der Erstellung der Brücke - dafür sollte er die erste Seele bekommen die darüber lief. Die Dorfbewohner schickten einen Hund. Armer Hund. Durch hunderte von Kurven weiter zum Pinocchio-Park in Collodi. Der Hitze wegen aber nicht rein, nur von außen gesehen. Leider.Read more

  • Apr19

    Firenze and Lucca - day 8

    April 19, 2019 in Italy ⋅ 🌙 11 °C

    What a fun day today. We had tomatoes, avocado and basil on toast for breakfast, washed our towels (5 euros in the machine, and I had to ask for a bit of help, towels were very well washed as I put some washing liquid in, and it also added some automatically). Then we biked into Firenze on a lovely path by the river. I might have suggested we walk up the hill at some stage where it was really steep, but we managed it. We biked into the main centre, had to visit a pharmacy where I replaced the items I left in the shower in San Gimignano (though I have found my missing sunglasses). Then we headed for the Uffizi gallery to have a look at the David. Jody had stayed near this Piazza before, so knew there was a leather bag market around the corner, so of course we went to visit it. We did laugh a bit when we realised it was the same market that we had visited last night. And it was a sucessful trip – 2 bags and 2 glasses cases. Then it was off to raid a restaurant so we could use their toilets. So pleased to be travelling with a like minded person who is just fine with using the mens toilets – tho the man waiting for her didn’t seem to be so impressed.

    Then we went back to our bikes and realised we had chained them right next to a chocolate shop that I hadn’t been in before – Venchi. There was flowing chocolate running down one wall, and the chocolate was possibly even better than Lindt. We might have had an icecream as well as purchasing just a couple of chocolates (who am I kidding, who could get just a couple?). Then it was back on our bikes to get back to the camping ground. After getting ourselves organised packing away washing, having chicken wraps for lunch etc, it was 3pm – close to the required checkout of 2pm. I introduced Jody to the fun of filling water, emptying grey water, and the toilet cassette which went off without a hitch.

    Then it was on the road to Lucca, but we had to make a stop at IKEA first. I hadn’t been to that store before, and am thinking it is worth another visit. We bought some chairs, and a duvet for me. Oh and a stool, key holder, and could have bought so many other useful things. We intended to stop at a store like a mitre 10 on the way out of that shopping area, but only had a right hand turn, so couldn’t go back. I just stopped on the side of the road waiting for a decision point between 2 motorways while Jody got googlemaps. organised for where we were supposed to be going – that should have made me wary for the future! Then at the 2 toll stations we went through, Jody handled like a pro. Not sure that she is going to choose the card option any time soon tho.

    So about that future,….. Jody initially put in Lucca has the destination, and then when we were on the motorway she put in the actual address for the camping ground. Googlemaps sent us through the city walls of Lucca, and I stopped there for a few minutes cos it looked like only vehicles under 3m should go through, and Nico is 3.2m high. After a fair bit of car tooting behind us, we folded in the wing mirrors, and went through. Oh my golly, was that a bad decision. There wasn’t really anywhere to turn around, so we just kept on going, narrow streets, loads of tourists, gesticulating italians, and tight corners. I was just hoping that we weren’t going to find a height restricted exit, and that we were going to have to reverse the whole way back! Jody was watching the people around, and saying we were lost. I didn’t want to make eye contact with anyone, and just kept driving – though pretty slowly, why wouldn’t the tourists just get out of the way? We ended up in the main Piazza, so stopped in the middle and checked googlemaps. It seemed that it was still directing us to the middle of Lucca. So we set it for the campground address, and finally found out way out of the city centre – that was just such a relief! It took a while to get to the campground through some more narrow streets, but at least there were other vehicles around so we thought we were allowed there. I have googled ZLTs since then – Zone Limited areas, and will be expecting some sort of ticket in the mail in the future.

    The campsite is pretty basic, but there are lots of motorhomes here. There are 6 mhs owned by Danish people, and they have set up tables in a line. They invited us to join them, but really after that experience, we were heading for the wine, limoncello and chocolate! Jody cooked some sausages for dinner which were nice with salad. Then we reviewed the videos that she had taken, and after a bit of alcohol they just kept getting funnier. We really should have taken the most of the opportunity with lots of pics, but at the time we just wanted to get out.

    While I am typing this, Jody is reading people’s comments on her fb posts, and I am a bit worried that she will be wetting her pants – lucky we have a mine and her side of the table… she can do what she likes over there!

    We have booked 2 nights here – need to get over the trauma of today before I drive again. And with it being Easter, we knew there might be a bit of an issue finding places to camp. Lucca is supposed to be wonderful, but another Just Go camper had theirs broken into in a public carpark here which is why we have chosen to stay in a camp ground instead of just passing through and using the public carpark for the day.
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  • Apr20

    Lucca and opera - day 9

    April 20, 2019 in Italy ⋅ ☁️ 14 °C

    Fine and 23 degrees

    Well I kind of prefer a clean towel, but…. so we washed all the towels yesterday except for Jody’s. Last night she kindly handed me a new towel. When I showered this morning I thought it smelt a bit off, and then when Jody was searching for her towel realised that yes, she had given me her manky old one that she had been using for days. Good times! Not a great morning for her in the cognitive stakes. She boiled the kettle, so I made her a cup of tea. Then she got a bit confused at the number of cups on the table – yep, she had already made herself one! Am hoping the day gets better…..

    After handwashing some clothes and doing our dishes and mucking around a bit, we didn’t head off on our bikes until around 10.30am. First stop was riding around the walls of Lucca – 5km circle. Lots of people walking, running and riding around the walls. On the outside of the walls was a huge area of grass with walking/biking tracks. Lots of people were walking their dogs there. We spied a market from the top of the walls, and thought we would head for there. But sort of got distracted by realising that we were by the entrance that we took Nico through last night. So we retraced our steps on the bikes – by golly we were lucky not to meet cars coming the other way with Nico. We found another market and had a look around there. And then were a bit hungry, so found somewhere to eat. Roz keeps telling me I have to try fresh pasta, so thought this place might be good. Hmmm, no-one else came in there to eat while we were there, and the pasta took forever and something went in the micorwave. Well it was edible, and not too bad, but won’t be going there again!

    One of Jody’s friends had suggested a Puccini opera that was on every night in Lucca. Puccini was born here, but it was only 80 years after his death that he was being celebrated here. We asked a number of places where this place was for the opera, and got sent all around the place. A couple of people said there are a hundred churches in Lucca, so we can’t know where they all are. In the end, we just had enough and decided to go and find the first markets that we saw from the wall. Lo and behold, the markets were beside the info centre that sold tickets to the opera – phew! So we bought them, and then went back to Nico – about a 3km bike ride.

    Jody retreated to her bed for a wee rest, but I thought I should go and investigate around the area on my bike seeing as we will be leaving tomorrow. About 400m down there road there was a stopbank, and a river on the other side. I rode the wrong way down the one way street by the river (bikes just go anywhere here!), and then round various tracks. I found a gorgeous spot by a bridge with the river going over a wee dam. Lots of people were walking and swimming dogs here. Then I went further and found the enormous carpark that we had been warned against. There were quite a few motorhomes parked in here.

    Then back to Nico where I made a yummy salad with bacon and egg in it. Then back on the bikes and off to town for the Opera. It isn’t something that I would normally do, but was rather interesting. There were a male and female singer with just 1 pianist who was amazing. It was held in a church, and it was rather cool in there but with great acoustics. It was just over an hour long which was good. And when we came out at 8.20pm it was only just getting dark, so we hightailed it back to Nico as we only had 1 bike light between us.

    So tomorrow we are intending to leave Italy – it has only taken us 5 days, we thought it might take a lot longer. We both love Italy, the shopping and scenery is amazing. But I am looking forward to going places that I haven’t been before. We have about a 5 hour drive, and will be going through lots of tolls, but Jody seems to have that pretty sussed now – as long as we use cash anyway!

    Ciao ciao ciao!
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Bagni di Lucca

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