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Report 1043: Luggage, Lattes and Lunacy

By Palma from California, Spring 2006

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Page 4 of 17: May 22: Bagni di Lucca, Shopping and ATM Hell

photo by Palma

Bridge in Bagni di Lucca

I woke up again at 6, and caffeinated minimally. Though it is very cool in the mornings, my “routine” is to sit on the front porch and drink coffee while everyone else gets ready. This is my time to talk to Brad on my Italian cell phone before he goes to sleep in California. I miss the “Italian schedule” he and I have when we travel, which is very different, as we are usually up early, have breakfast, lots of coffee, and out the door by 9. We take afternoon naps, and stay up late enjoying caffé life or sipping vino and grappa (Ok, Brad does grappa, and I switch to cappuccino.)

We left for Bagni di Lucca at 10. We walked around the town and ran a few errands. We went to the local furniture store and checked on the headboards Ida bought last summer that haven’t been delivered yet. We chatted with the man who owns an enoteca who is learning English, and helped him compose a thank you note to some friends for his weekend visit. I finally got to sit in a caffé and drink a real caffè latte. We walked to one of the charming stone bridges over the river. I tried my ATM at the Bancomat in town, with no luck, but knew that sometimes they “empty out” after a weekend; so I wasn’t concerned, as it was Monday morning.

We stopped for lunch at a restaurant Ida knew and ate our main meal. I had a delicious tortelli with pesto for my primi, followed by “portafoglio di manzo” (beef stuffed with cheese and prosciutto), and baked fennel topped with pecorino. We had coffee and passed on dessert. Our bill was 7 Euro per person!

We drove in to Lucca to meet another aunt and uncle, and pick up Ida’s cousin, Ada. After a cold drink and brief visit, Ada joined us for some afternoon shopping in Lucca. I split off from the group, as I know Lucca well, and we agreed to meet at a gelato caffé at 6. After several more unsuccessful ATM attempts, I placed two phone calls to Washington Mutual’s collect 800 number (eating up 30 minutes of precious Wind minutes). WAMU’s ATM customer service people gave me four locations to try in Lucca. I walked from Bancomat to Bancomat WHILE ON THE PHONE WITH THEM, none of which worked! I still had about 100 leftover Euro from our September trip, but I was starting to panic.

I needed a shopping fix. I wandered down Via Fillungo and backstreets, and bought a great orange jacket, two heavy ravioli cutters and a Bialetti Moka Express cappuccino pot like my one at home, so I would no longer have to boil milk in a pot in the mornings. When it was a reasonable time in California, I called Brad and we discussed the bank situation, and where he might wire me money if necessary. I tried several more ATMs before meeting the group for gelato, but I was stressed and couldn’t even finish a scoop. Ida ate four flavors and contemplated another bowl. We left Lucca at 8 and drove home to pack for our visit to southern Tuscany tomorrow. We agreed to get an early start for Cortona, so we could walk around before our scheduled ST lunch GTG with Alessandra and Colleen C.

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