13th July 2018 – 14th July 2018
We continued North on the west side of Italy with a destination of Lucca. Our friends Nicola & her husband Phil recommended us to visit after they had been there in May and as Nicola knows me so well, I knew it was a place that we could not miss. We stayed once again just outside, a 30 minute walk in to the centre. We decided to walk in later in the day, leaving Chloe snoozing in the van. In 1805 Lucca was conquered by Napoleon, who then installed his sister Elisa Bonaparte as ‘Princess of Lucca’. The walls encircling the old town remain intact and once they lost their military importance they became a pedestrian promenade. Lucca is also the birthplace of Puccini born in 1858 and composing the great ‘La Boheme’, ‘Tosha’ and ‘Madame Butterfly’. Now we loved Lucca, it had a great feel about it and we both said that it was the best of all the towns in Tuscany that we had visited. It wasn’t so overcrowded, it had the most wonderful of shops (me of course loving this part the most !) and I had to refrain myself, as I could left laden with bags of things that I don’t really need. We enjoyed a lovely meal and David was a little gutted because the next evening Roger Waters was playing in the town. We tried to get tickets but they were an extortionate price and therefore the next day we departed. Before we departed the campsite I owed the owners €5. The cost for staying the night was €25 but when we arrived I did not have the correct money and for some strange reason they said they did not have change. Which I thought was rather odd as you could only pay cash (Italians love cash) and I am sure some people gave then the correct money. Anyway, I said I would pay the next day. As we go to leave I forgot to get the €5 and went up to the office and a different Italian this time and grumpy, said he had no change. So I said, what should I do, he shrugged his shoulders said you will have to walk to the village to get change and turned his back on me. I was hot enough with the heat, menopause onset, and this was the tipping point for me boiling over. I went back to the van, explained to David, I thought I was going to have a seizure I was so angry. We tried to find coins to make up the €5 and I have a purse with all very small coins, we counted them out but we were still short. Time ticking and we wanted to leave I stormed off walking into the village. Faith was resorted for the Italian race in the bakers with two lovely ladies and I did find an amazing butchers. On my way back I see David sitting in the Motorhome outside the campsite. He said that he had found the last coins we needed, drove up to the exit and said to stroppy Italian ‘we owe you €5, here it is’ and dropped a huge handful of the smallest coin denominations on the counter. At least a small amount of satisfaction and a bad review given to the site, made me feel a little better.
Goodbye Italy, some Italians need to work on their manners but the country stole our hearts with the foods, the Tuscan towns and villages and the stunning countryside. Now off to France to find a baguette!