Day trip to Camporgiano
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Woke up feeling 100 % better….went for a long walk down to the Office for Passports and finally got everything done…signed …sealed and delivered…there was a little hiccup in the
paperwork but then it was all cleared. 15 days and I have a passport….I still can't believe I will actually get it…
The rest of the morning was spent shopping and walking around breathing in the fresh crisp Lucca air and just enjoying life. Mary had an Italian appointment with Paul and Simone (Paul's Italian teacher) but at the last minute Simone couldn’t make it so Mary opted for a lazy day. (thats not exactly true...i had already decided i was having a lazy day and then found out that Simone had cancelled anyway) So she spent the day at home reading (getting a sore neck, i read so much) and playing her Soduko
Greg and Jacinta called all excited about their return trip…they have only 5 weeks to go and cant wait to get here….
They have closed off a section of La Mura for a few weeks, near Piazza Verde, as apparently there is a disease in the trees, in that particular section, so they need to cut them down...it looks so bare there now...and it does make you wonder, what if the disease spreads!!! We are hoping they will plant more trees there eventually as it will be a huge suntrap in summer.
(While out for a passeggiata on La Mura on Wednesday, we bumped into Paul & Atticus, who continued to walk with us, we hadnt gone far when we then bumped into Libby & Vincent who were out riding their bikes. It was such a beautiful clear day.
Libby and Vincent mentioned they wanted to go to Trattoria da Giulio's one night for dinner so we all agreed to meet on Saturday night at Da Giulio's
It was a lovely night, the restaurant and food were lovely and of course, the company was fun, as always. Like so many places in Lucca, Da Giulio's looked tiny from the outside but once you were inside, it opened out to be rather a large, amazing place.)
(Well, today started off like any other...i went for my walk, then came home to open the shutters for Mikes to wake up and try to drag himself out of bed. We then had our usual lovely healthy breakfast and then decided, on the spur of the moment to go to midday Mass at San Frediano. This was decided at 11.20 so it was a quick rush to shower and get ready.
We took off on time, (actually got there early), then, after Mass, went for a passeggiata around town. It was sooooooo quiet. I have broken a shoelace on my runners so i thought...new shoe laces or new runners...new shoe laces or new runners...finally decided, new runners (as they are falling apart anyway and there are such good sales on at the moment)...can you believe, there was not 1 shoe store open!!!
Anyway...we just kept walking around and finally ended up near San Georgio so, again, on the spur of the moment, decided to stop there and have some lunch. We sat outside and had our usual favourite, Seafood Carbonara. It did not disappoint...then Piero brought out our corretti along with some biscotti that were fresh out of the oven and still warm...(& they had chocolate inside them!)...we were thinking, this is the life...and were very happy we had decided to stop.
We then decided to walk along the wall to get home...well, i have never seen so many people on La Mura. As soon as we got up there and saw all these people just out there enjoying life, Mikes and i turned to each other...very teary, both thinking the same thing...oh my goodness...how we are going to miss this place!!!!!!!!! it was overwhelming for
both of us. We will be back in Perth in 12 weeks, exactly, today !!!)
we, of course, are missing you, our family and friends but, today we were thinking, we want you here with us, not us there with you!! this has been an amazing experience...we have met some wonderful people, have made some new friends and have seen so many things...we are so grateful for having had the chance to live this experience...'to live the dream'...
Today we decided to catch the train for the hour (or so) trip to Camporgiano…it’s a little town on the way through to Aulla and Mary thought we should go and have a look at it as one of our 'day trips'
We didn’t rush in the morning but took our time and arrived at the station for the 11.38 train. We hopped on to one of the two carriages and settled down for our trip.
As usual the trip was uneventful but as scenic as always…when I say uneventful …it was actually this train that ran off the rail a few weeks ago after a tree had landed across the tracks during a particularly windy storm…. I made sure I let Mary know this fact as we
passed Castelnuovo di Garfagnana… (she thanked me!!!) We arrived as Camporgiano
just before one and we were the only two people to get off the train…as the
train took off again and disappeared into a tunnel, it was all of a sudden very
still and quiet…not one person at the station or anywhere near it. (there was also no town in sight...getting off these trains, in the middle of nowhere can be quite nervewracking...but i just kept thinking, i have googled earthed Camporgiano and have done a little research so i know the town is here somewhere!!)
The station itself is not unlike many of the stations of these smaller towns… the actual building (apart from one room with the ticketing machine) has long ago stopped being used for anything and is abandoned… there are concrete picket fences on either side and
every now and then the speaker kicks in to life with a pre-recorded message about not traversing the yellow line
Anyway, hand in hand, we made our way through the station and decided to follow our noses to the left and up the hill (there was nothing on the right!!! ) We walked for about 200 metres and came to an intersection and this time we had to make a real decision…and we
went left again…it was about this stage when we came across traces of civilization…finally a car drove passed and we heard a bus somewhere. We then saw the famous black circle sign which gave us directions to the istorico centro. (This was all up some pretty steep hills...)
Once we arrived into the main street it really started opening out into a lovely (quiet) town…we knew that it was siesta time so we weren’t expecting much at all to be open…and we were not disappointed…we continued walking down what looked like the main street and I glanced up to see what it was called…I should have known…’Via Garibaldi’ honestly!!! Did they make it a rule that all cities and towns in Italy have to have a main street named 'Via Garibaldi???
The town is set well up on a hill (mountain) and has glorious view of the valley …across the other side to another settlement that we had no idea what it was…to mountains on two sides reaching up to the sky (not much snow…but some)…it was very beautiful indeed
We continued our way for the next hour or so walking up and down the streets
and taking many snaps…it was at this point that we found what must be the
‘ugliest’ (sorry Camporgians) clock tower in Italy…built in 1934 from what
looks like concrete scraps. It has a clock and cross at the top but so
un-Italian in every other way…definitely took photos of that…I should really do
more research on it…why is it still there???
We continued through the town…watched the school kids make their way to what seemed to be the school canteen and the general lives of everyone we saw. Very pretty…
We decided that lunch was in order and Mary had written down a couple of ristoranti whilst doing her research… The one we decided on was called ‘Kanagia'…. and as we walked in it looked clean and small and homely …nice except for a huge plasma TV on very loud in the corner…didn’t really matter, as soon as we were alone in the room we turned it
Wait till you hear the value of this meal…we were flabbergasted…We ordered a pasta w/ ragu, ravioli in sage and butter as our primi, we then shared our secondo, a pork
steak w/ roast potatoes and insalata…1 litre of white wine…4 x coretti (they were yummy and it was cold! - maybe i should explain what a corretto is...an espresso coffee with, in our case, sambuca (but you can have whisky, brandy etc ) ) …all for a 20EU TOTAL!!
he was sure???
We then made our way to the station to catch our 16.23 train back home…we had a bit of time to get there so we weren’t very worried. That was when we decided to take a wrong turn and found ourselves lost...(we had been laughing about something and we werent looking properly...Mikes did say at one stage, i dont think we are going the right way and i said, "yes, we're fine... i saw that sign on our way up"...i was wrong!! - blame the corretto :) )
We had walked about a kilometre down a very steep hill and came upon a river and a bridge which we had definitely not crossed on our way up...and no station in sight. Blah!!! We had been saying to each other…as we kept walking the wrong way… how we couldn’t remember it being so steep…and I can’t remember that sign?? Etc etc…but did that stop us going the wrong way?? No sir!!
As we reached the river we finally decided to turn around and make our way back to the correct turnoff and then to the station (luckily we'd had enough time to get lost ) where we patiently waited about 15 minutes for the train back home to Lucca
We returned home with plenty of time for me to walk the wall and have a relaxing night in…nice day!!
25/01/12 Wednesday – 30/01/12 Monday
Well, this morning I was lying in bed while Mary was walking the Wall… when at about 9 am the room started shaking…at first I thought it was just a large vehicle going past …somewhere… but then thought it might even be an earthquake. It was all over in about 5
seconds so I turned over…tucked under my blanket…fell back asleep and waited
for Mary to wake me up. I didnt think any more of it until Mum rang and asked me about it...(she had heard it on the Italian news in Perth) apparently it had been an earthquake!! Mary hadn't felt in on the Wall though.
Later in the week, on Friday, at around 4ish ….Mary was sitting on the lounge, reading and I was on the computer when all of a sudden Brunella started shaking again…this time much more than on the Wednesday…. We both stood up when we started hearing the glasses and crockery shaking about in the kitchen and then came to the window to look
outside watching the electric wires swaying to and fro
was for nearly 15 seconds and much stronger…I grabbed my video camera…(just in
case) but it was amazing how we just stood there thinking about what we should
do. Do we run outside …do we stand in a door frame…run into the smallest
room…we weren’t really too sure. (well, at that stage there was really no need to do anything...it was 'exciting'...it was only afterwards the questions & the thoughts started like, what we would have done if it had been worse...we, from Aus, of course were thinking of the recent ones in New Zealand...and then we starting thinking and getting a little anxious about the aftershocks...none so far...touch wood)
After everything calmed down we found out that the epicentre of 5.4 was near Parma but over 60 kilometres deep which explained why the shaking wasn’t more violent. In saying that we did read that many building collapsed in other towns and that a few in the Lucca region evacuated their homes. I also found out that Lucca town is built on marshy
ground which is perfect in absorbing the shaking of an earthquake…not like mountain hard rock that has no give at all and therefore results in everything crumbling
All a bit exciting as long as no one has been hurt….
(Saturday, 28th Libby & Vincents daughter is getting married in August. Libby asked Michelle & I if we would join her & Vincent to help her choose between a couple of Mother of the Brides dresses she had tried on in a Bridal shop in Massarosa. So i met up with everyone in Santa Maria and we walked down to the bus station in Piazza Verde where we took the bus for the half hour trip to Massarosa...There was beautiful scenery on the way but at one stage we did all have to talk facing the front, as the trip is very windy and up and down steep hills and our stomachs were starting to let us know...lucky it wasnt a long trip!
We had a lovely hour or so giving Libby our opinions, she is going to be a beautiful Mother of the Bride...then we set off for our journey home...having to flag the bus down as we were no where near the busstop... we would have had to wait another hour for the next one...once we arrived back in Lucca we wandered around for awhile, then stopped for a coffee at Pult before all going our own ways.
That night, we met Charotte, Stig, Michelle & Paul for dinner at Tosca's...another lovely evening, sharing food, wine and wonderful conversations and lots of laughs...)
It’s nearly midnight and I’m sitting here at the computer looking out the window and I cannot really believe that it’s finally snowing…I had just about given up hope…but there you go…our wishes are being realized.
The day started off well enough…we had been checking the weather forecasts pretty closely because and we knew that there was going to be a good chance that snow was around. Today was ‘dentist day’ and they called to ask me to come in earlier as they had had a cancellation. It was a very overcast day …and cold…. So on my way through the
streets and passed the river to the dentists, I felt as if today may be the day.
Dentist was fine…about the fourth visit to get this crown put in…Cesar (the dentist) is so nice and ‘simpatico’ and his nurse is lovely. Every time I have been there they make me feel at home and we talk for a long time about what I’m doing and what they are doing. He
really wants to emigrate to Perth with his whole family and start again in a new country…he was almost in pain telling me how much he wants to go
Anyway, the dentist went all well…a bit of pain but now I have a brand new tooth…crowned at that…I am very happy, it’s as if it was always there. I’ve booked to get another done that chipped at the same time.
I walked back home from the dentist …about 4.5 kilometres… and stopped for a coretto and while reading the paper I noticed that it was forecast to snow at 6pm…(can they be that close???)…I continued home not expecting Mary to be home (as she was going for
coffee with Libby and Michelle) but to my joy …there she was. She was still going for coffee but that wouldn’t be until 3pm so we made some lunch and talked until it was time for her to go.
At just on three I waved Mary off and she wasn’t 100 metres up the road when the first few flakes of snow started falling…I wasn’t too sure as it could have been very fine rain but after a while I was quite certain. (i was just about at the place where i was meeting Michelle & Libby, it had been sprinkling rain but just before i bumped into Michelle near Piazza Santa Maria, i noticed that the rain looked different...i couldnt put my finger on it but it just looked different...softer or something...i was just thinking to myself, OMG, its snowing when i turn the corner and there is Michelle and we both hugged and just kept yelling "its snowing, its snowing!!") It then seemed to stop..
Now for those of you who are used to snow you may find the next additions a bit OTT.… but you must remember we’ve been waiting for this for a long time. My last taste of snow was when I was 19 years old…I was really hanging for it to snow while we were here!!
At about 5, I called Marco to see if I could do some singing…all good there so I took off
to the chiesa…. AND THERE IT WAS…Definitely snowing now…not hard but definitely
snow. I quickly texted Mary to let her know that I was thinking of her and went through to my singing.
(Michelle, Libby and I started wandering back to our apartments about 5.30...nothing much more had happened but now it was dark and whilst walking home, you could really see the soft snow flakes in the car lights...and it was constant...i looked down at my jacket and it had white flecks on it...they were quickly melting...i was hoping some would still be there to show mikes when i got back inside Brunella...)
After singing it was already dark but the snowing was really picking up….all the way home I’m passing people with their umbrella…ella…ella…ellas up and I’m strolling past with my face pointing up feeling the snow and the cold.
(I had arrived home and mikes was singing so i just kept going to the window and looking out...watching the snow but also looking out for him...it was really snowing by now...)
I got back to Brunella with Mary at the window screaming …”It’s snowing…!!!”
Immediately Mary rugged up…I took my singing stuff inside… and we went for a walk …in the snow….all around the town
trees started to hold the snow…the umbrella…ella…ella started getting heavier
from the amount of snow on it…people were all walking around enjoying it. We
walked a while and then made our way to ‘Pult’ bar to sit at the window and
have a couple of glasses of wine while watching the snow fall…perfect!!!! (yes, it was just perfect...sipping on some vino in the warmth of the bar, while watching the snow fall...at this stage, it didnt appear to be heavy enough to make the paths white...or so we thought!!!)
We took off an hour (or so) later and walked back to Brunella (by this time most of the small piazzas and streets where white...in some places it was slippery so we had to be careful - mikes starting throwing snowballs at me) All the while the snow was getting stronger and the streets were getting whiter…and the camera was snapping away crazily!
Got home at about 8.45 and I quickly got dressed into my walking things and took off…Mary was a little concerned about me slipping…but there was no way I was going to
miss walking the walls tonight….and I wasn’t disappointed…Oh MY GOD!!!! Because
I was there so late…and because there was hardly anyone up there…it was like a
carpet of snow everywhere I walked and looked…the camera went into overdrive
but unfortunately not all good photos…certainly not like what I was
witnessing…. All Lucca was transformed…. And because of the snow and the moon
and stars …everything was ‘bright’!!! I could easily see everywhere.
It was so beautiful… from the playground to the slopes…to the kids on pieces of cardboard slipping down the inside walls ….to the father and sons having snowball fights…to the couples walking under the snow in their own little worlds…to the dark, stark, leafless
trees with the snow clinging onto its branches… to the balluardos with the snow making all their hard edges seem as if the scene was from a fairytale…to the botanical gardens looking more like a postcard than anything else…and San Martinos cathedral looking like a model set….to the café sulla mura, the trees…the cars…the paths… the buses…everything!!!!
I finally finished my walk around and walked back up our street with Mary again hanging out of the window…like me…cant get enough. We made ourselves something to eat but every few minutes we would be back to those windows looking at that falling snow. Beautiful!!!
It’s past midnight now…we have sent photos onto ‘facebook’ to show what we are seeing… and the snow is still falling (more heavily now). I just hope it continues until tomorrow at least so we can see the beauty through the day….it’s been fantastic…thank you Lord!!!!