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Woke up nice and early this morning as I wanted to get to the 'Comune' and start organising my citizenship (Passport). Mary was already up and at it. (i was excited about my hair appt today but also quite nervous...the old language thing but i am sure all will be fine)
Once I arrived at the commune I picked up my now customary ticket and waited about 30 minutes to be seen to. I explained everything about what I had already done back in Perth at the Italian Consulate and with my numerous visits to the 'Comune di Milano' and that I had called Milano the previous day and they had advised me that everything was ready to go now that I had my ‘Permesso di soggiorno’. I asked if I could do it from Lucca rather than travel to Milano and they had no problems with that at all
After my lengthy explanation she quietly advised me that I needed to go to Piazza Napoleone in the palazzo which was now the ‘Immigration’ area and where I needed to be…I thanked her and made my way there and climbed 5 flights of steps to find the correct room. Once inside I repreated everything to a gentleman there who again proceeded to tell me that I had been sent to the wrong area and gave me a name and directions on via Veneto to see a specific man regarding this situation. So again…I walked down 5 flights of stairs and hopped on my bike (well, Pauls bike) to via Veneto and waited for 30 minutes until he was free only to be told yet again that I was in the wrong place and gave me another name at another ‘Comune di Lucca’ on via San Paolino.
It had now been nearly two hours of being sent pillar to post with everyone actually getting upset with me because I was in the wrong area…blah!!! Finally arriving at the last destination, I met a very Gentile Signora Facini who gave me the low-down on everything I still needed to do... I had to then go down the corridor and fill out another ‘residency’ application, which consisted of five forms with four of them being A3 size, as proof that I was living here (good God) …take that back to Sig
Now I have to wait a couple of weeks to receive the reply for the ‘residency’ to be mailed to me then she can commence the process of my passport. I hope this is all worth it…so much red tape…unbelievable!!!
I came home well after 2.30pm (after buying some lunch to prepare at home and stopping at my barber to get my hair done)and Mary was still not home from her 11.00am hair appointment… this is always a good sign.
I relaxed with a good book for the rest of the afternoon until Mary came home…she looked stunning…they had done an exceptional job. The colours that were there before had all gone and her original colour was back with a tint streak of blonde
We then sat down and wrote down everything we needed to do and things we needed to catch up with…all ready for tomorrow. After we had done this I took off to the shops and bought some emergency provisions (no …not alchohol) and then went for three laps ride around the wall.
The rest of the night was very calm and relaxing…as you would expect.
02/09/11 Friday - 04/09/11 Sunday
I was one the internet last night and came across the sight about the end of the world (as we know it) being dated as 21/12/12…very interesting but at least we will be back home with all our loved ones by then. Keep a look in the skies…big red planet (not Mars). (he doesnt really believe in all of that stuff)
Mary has been on the net most of the day and has just now gone for a lie down, she has has organised our flight home for April, (dont take this personally, but that was very hard to do...its not that we dont want to home with you all, its just we would like you all here :)) as well making contact with the bank…credit cards etc etc
We had a lovely meal out with Michelle and Paul who are now back from their travels. They had a wonderful time, through Austria, Germany & Amsterdam.
quiet weekend, in preparation for our exciting few weeks ahead...(plus, Mikes has lost the dates of the 3rd & 4th from his diary so we can actually remember what else we actually did this weekend)
This weekend the Lucca community are having a huge garden festival on three of the Balluardi called the Murabilia …the Balluardi have been fenced off and for a nominal entrance fee people can have a look at all things ‘gardening’…they are also having competitions on biggest pumpkin…carrot…eggplant etc etc as well as tractor pulling and flower pots…all very ‘green’…and as much as I wanted to get into it…afraid not!!! No green thumb genes have been passed down at all…in fact I don’t think there were any on our side of the family at all.
Still…it was a lovely weekend with many things to do…if that was your thing!!! It was nice to walk around the area and watch everyone get so excited.
We had a beautiful night’s sleep listening to the rain pelting down on Lucca for most of the night …we woke up early with the sweet smell of rain all through Brunella (the rain wasnt actually through Brunella just the sweet smell) and it stayed raining for most of the day until we left for Pisa airport. (Tracey and Brendan arrive today...YAY!!!)
After breakfast, while Mary was finishing off some investigations on the internet, I took off to pick up some special things for a late lunch after we pick up Brendan and Tracey. We have some very special formaggio from the ‘Garfagnana (when we spent the day there…)so I bought some very fresh and tasty tomatoes …fresh Bufala , some Rucola and Basil… two small sweet rockmelons and prosciutto…That should be perfect!!
Came back to Brunella and off loaded then got stuck into cleaning Brunella and tidying her up…not that she was that bad to begin with…
At midday we took off for the train station for our 12.45pm train …busy day on the trains today. Buying the tickets I noticed they are on strike again tomorrow (seems to be once a month) (Thank God it wasnt today, but it made us confident that there would not be a strike on Friday when we needed to get to Venice, so all good)
We made our way to the arrival area of Pisa aeroporta and waited for B&T (they didnt know we were meeting them at the airport, they thought we would be at Lucca train station, so it was even more exciting for us to get to see their faces when they saw us) and when they actually did it was very funny (a bit teary too) …. It had been so long since we had seem them and to all of a sudden have them here was very surreal…
Of course we talked and talked while making our way back to the train to Centrale and then on to Lucca
By the early evening we were ready for dinner had showers and walked down to the Via Beccheria to Ristorante La Locanda Dell'Angelo for a beautiful dinner that was Tracey & Brendan's treat to us (Thankyou once again dear friends) . It was very special, waiters were very good …Gwyneth Paltrow was great and the girls couldn’t stop talking about 'Benecio del Toro' who was so suave and a very good service waiter. Just ask Mary or Tracey!!!! (oh, yes, just ask us!)
Dinner was superb and we slowly made our way back to Brunella after dinner and had a gelato on the way back home (well, some of them did)…not to forget the freshly brewed coffee when we got home.
All Brunella woke up very early to get out of the house for an early morning walk . I kept the name flying and stayed in bed until around 9:15am while the other three were still walking around the wall then wrenched myself up and made breakfast. We sat around talking for awhile, Tracey did some washing (mundane things still have to be done) . A little after 1.00pm we all got together and made our way downstairs and , as Tracey & Brendan had bought us a pressie of different walks around Tuscany, we decided that we were going to do the walks around Lucca… so Tracey was the ‘Tour Guide’ and we followed her every step
The afternoon zipped past and before we knew it we were back to Brunella and some had an afternoon siesta. I decided to use the time to run a lap around the wall as I hadn’t done it for many days (weeks)…
We all then made ourselves beautiful and headed off for dinner, this time going to Trattoria Neni on Via Pecheria.
We had another lovely meal, (we were even given a complimentary glass of sparkling) and then the customary gelato on the way home…we then walked up to the end of our street as their was something going on in our park, we didnt stay their long though, making our way upstairs to ‘Rusty Nails’ and coffee….
We awoke very early as we needed to catch the 7.05am train to Milan via Florence to get into Milan at 10.45am
Lucca is now very dark at 6am and we quietly had breakfast and got ourselves ready so that we didn’t wake up B&T … I’m sure they were probably up not long after we left as they were off to Siena today at 8.30am.
We were very good and took off early enough to have a casual walk to the train station (in the dark) and arrived at the station in time to buy our tickets at the ‘biglietteria’ for the return journey as well.
The journey to Florence was very uneventful but the trip on the ‘frecciarossa’ from Florence to Milan was very special…it’s a totally different experience to the normal regional trains. Apart from the speed that you travel at and the number of stops. The general service and ambience of these trains are very good and a real experience. We only went 2nd class but it still so much better than most of the regional trains.
We arrived in Milan and very quickly and easily made our way to via Gran Sasso via the Metro without any issues at all… we found the tickets…found the correct line…disembarked at the correct station and found the correct exit onto via Gran Sasso
As we made our way to Zio Enrico and Tatianes apartment we stopped at the supermarket and there was Zio and Tant Aude shopping …so our first meeting was at the supermarket but it was so nice to see them. Tant’aude was especially happy to see us and it was so good to be able to talk to her. We then made our way back to the apartment where Tatiane was waiting for the others to return…again she was over the moon to see us as we were to see her.
She is looking so well…she looked really strong and fit but she did let us know that she is back in hospital in a couple of weeks fo rmore heart surgery. Scary…but apparently this is the best case scenario to fix up her heart once and for all. So she is very upbeat about it and wants to get it done as soon as possible and back on the straight and narrow.
We only had about 5 hours in Milan before our train home so we sat around at their home for about an hour and then Zio had made a booking at his local restaurant (The Grog) for 1pm ..so we all walked over there to continue the day. It was very lovely…the owner obviously had a lot of time for them and therefore any of their guests
After lunch we walked back to the apartment and talked some more trying to get as most out of 5 hours as possible. Tant’Aude was very cute with all she was about to embark on and all that had been happening back in Perth…I hope she has a lovely holiday and it doesn’t go too quickly for her.
We eventually had to leave and Zio walked (and Metro’d) us to Stazione Centrale and left us there to our own devises. The stazione is looking absolutely stunning since the last time that we were here. The renovations are practically complete and all the restorations are also basically complete. The old walls and main halls that were built back in 1920’s have all been cleaned are are looking very ‘choice’. Let us hope that they can now maintain this very impressive building to this standard for a long time. Our trip back to Lucca started at 5.00pm and we finally arrived in Lucca at 10.30pm…. whewww!!!
The train was fine really but because it stopped so often it just dragged the trip…when we finally arrived into Pisa to change trains to go to Lucca we were advised that the train had been cancelled and they had organised a ‘Bus’ for the journey
We walked into Brunella at about 11.00pm and immediately made something to eat as we were both starving…and spoke to B&T about their incredible adventure in Siena and we spoke about our day as well before I left to get myself a Gelato (Missed by 5 minutes they had already closed up)…upon returning I made some fresh Caffe for all of us and then after some ‘googling’ about Trenitalia to Venice we all went to bed.
Tomorrow we are very busy with our last day before the cruise and we have a lot of 'shoelaces' to tie-up before we leave.
Good night…another great day and so good to see everyone in Milan and to have B&T here with us in Lucca…it’s going to be a great month.
Today has been a very productive day as far as getting ready for our big trip tomorrow
We all woke up fairly early and Mary had a long list of things that had to be done before our trip begins … from washing things…to getting photos printed ….and buying train tickets. (and sewing)
We purchased the tickets early on in the day going through Firenze and Bologna before getting to Venice…but the whole trip will only take about 4 hours which is pretty impressive…we will go on the ‘Frecciargenta’ from Venice which should be very exciting.
We all caught the local ‘Pullman’ and took off to the Carrefour supermarket and spent the morning looking at (and buying) different things for lunch and the cruise…Brendan couldn’t get over the price of alcohol …from beer to Verve Champagne …it was all so much cheaper than Aussie land. We (Mary and I ) have already gotten used to this fact but it is funny to watch everyone’s reactions to the price.
We ended our shopping experience at Carrefour with the mandatory espresso and Sambucca from the local lunch bar heading out of the centre…noice!!
We made ourselves a huge, delicious feast for lunch (a late one …at about3pm)using everything we could in the fridge so that we didn’t have to throw anything out and what a feast it was…we took a few photos and it sure looks the part.
After lunch we all got back to our packing and ironing…I managed to contact Marco and he invited me down to the ‘church’ to do some singing. Poor guy said he was still in a bit of pain after breaking 3 ribs but I still haven’t actually found out what happened. I returned to Brunella WITH Mary stil sewing and B&T continuing their packing and ironing…we were all getting very excited…after all this time we were nearly in Venice and on our Neiuw Amsterdam…cant wait!
When most things were organised we took off for dinner but after the restaurant that we wanted to go to was closed we made our way to San Giorgio (one of our favourites) but found out that we had to wait at least 30 minutes (until 9,30) before we could be seated
We returned to Brunella very late…had our coffees and we were all in bed at about 1.00am (i think for me it was actually closer to 2). The train leaves at a civilised hour (9.30am) (i am so excited, we have never been on a cruise before and we are going to some amazing places...Venice, Athens, Santorini, Mykonos, Istanbul to name a few...how lucky are we)
(Stay tuned for the next exciting instalment of the Le Roy-Bertinazzo 'Living the Dream' ...be honest, you are sick of us!!!)