Lucca has been absolutely lovely. It is very warm here... I guess some sort of heatwave or early summer. I am used to this time of year in Santa Barbara being gloomy and foggy, but here it is so warm that you can wear a tank top in the evening... at 10:00 at night! For those of you who are not from Santa Barbara, that is a rarity something along the order of a 100 year flood. We are managing to survive this heat with 2 key strategies. 1) The siesta. After a nice lunch with plenty of wine and water, we head back to the room for a nap until about 4:30 when it becomes lovely again. 2) Gelato. Those of you who come to Italy regularly know the soundness of this strategy. We have sampled some very nice gelato here in Lucca and my current favorite was this afternoon at Gelateria Veneto, on Via Veneto near Piazza Napoleone. The chocolate and the tiramisu were particulary tasty.
Yesterday we had a real treat. It was an exhibition of flag throwers, drums, etc. Just like all the pictures I have seen, but never seen in person. This was a competition between Lucca and 2 two other neighboring towns. They were fabulous, one of those classic pinch me I'm in Italy moments... drums, trumpets blaring, men in tights, pretty girls in medieval costumes and flags everywhere.
Today we got bicycles and rode the wall. Lucca has something fabulous that I've never seen in any other city. They turned the old fortified wall into a pleasant bike and walkway. There are great views and it is about 2 and a half miles around, so it is a pleasant bike ride.
We also stopped at the Botanic Garden where I saw a couple of great ponds. Now, I have been feeling a little homesick for my little pond and especially since Harriet wrote me and told me that our fish had babies (that will be something to look forward to when we come home). But this pond, well, this pond was in a whole other league... gorgeous waterlilies, all sorts of marginal planting, lots of BIG fish and a very nice, simple fountain, that I wouldn't mind copying. I took plenty of pictures.
We leave Lucca tomorrow. And much to Steve's dismay, we will miss Crosby, Stills and Nash, who will be playing in the Piazza Napoleone on July 6. I am also disappointed to miss Van Morrison who is playing later in month. I guess this is why they aren't making it to the Santa Barbara Bowl this summer.
Starting tomorrow, I'm not sure where we will be for a couple days. This is the part of the itinerary that we are 'winging'... we may be in Vernazza or Levanto or we may go straight to Camogli, where we will be after that. With this heat wave, the beach will be great, I just hope that not everyone else in Italy has the same idea. Luckily it is the middle of the week, so we think we will find some sort of room somewhere.