Easter in Lucca
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01/04/12 Sunday (Palm Sunday)
Beautiful, warm spring day and
life is good… we are up early to get ready and make our way to San Michele
before 10:30am when the Palm Sunday procession will take place.
When we get there the piazza is
full of people …some with long palms…some with olive tree branches… others
(like us) with nothing at all. At exactly 10.30 there is movement at the
station as the congregation around the church begins to move around
Slowly but surely…with the
organization that you can only see at a 'Parish' event…people giving orders all
over the place…angelic children with their hands together ready to pray being
pushed from here to there not really knowing what is happening… Parish priest
trying desperately to make his congregation look good in front of the visiting
Bishop…the P.A. system that was working perfectly yesterday now seems to have
been taken over by some power that makes it either deafen any person within 100
metres or not work at all…and the young guys holding the speakers for the
procession are all very embarrassed that this is what is happening… the people
in front of the church entrance obviously think that the procession will be
miraculously walking above them as no-one is leaving any room at all for the
procession to walk through…finally, the Parish Priest makes his way to the
front…grabs the microphone and asks everyone to make way for the procession and
begins to sing.
Miraculously everything starts to
fall into place…the crowds separate…everyone manages to get in their correct
position…the music starts and the speakers actually start working (sort of).
With a prayer and a blessing the procession is off. There are probably about
500-700 people walking behing the crucifix …nearly all of them with their
Mary has taken off to try and get
a seat at the Cathedral while I followed the long line to meet up with her.
Once inside the beautiful church I quickly found Mary and we settled down for a
very good service in a very full Cathedral…the service was good, readers
articulate, singing strong and all done in a very holy way…we enjoyed it very
Later in the afternoon we joined
another 5000 people walking the wall and visiting the special Sunday market at
the end of Via della Quarquonia….this is the first time we have seen the market
open all day on a Sunday…and the stall owners must have loved it because it was
busy all day…lots of money changed hands I’m sure.
Over the weekend there has also
been a ‘Garden Show’ happening on and outside the Mura near Porta Santa Maria…and
today was the last day and everyone was taking advantage of it…people
everywhere…plants and garden paraphernalia…furniture and lawn mowers…leaf
blowers and rakes…you name it …it was there. Of course this display was
everything that I love…Gardening…NOT!!! So, needless to say we only walked past
and we only took photos to remind us that it had happened…but a lot of people
sure looked like they were enjoying themselves.
We came home and Mary sat on the
wall while I took off for another lap…and exercise…by the time I got home Mary
was half ready to go out for dinner and I just needed to have a quick shower
We met up with Michelle and Paul
at the Cattedrale and as it looked like there was some kind of political rally on at our favourite 'cocktail' place opposite the Cathedral, we decided on San
Colombana for a pre-dinner drink then through to Sergios for dinner. Oh…by the
way…the Café Antico della Mura that has been closed for renovations since we
have been here…finally opened this week. We had a quick look and we will make
sure we go there next week.
Dinner was superb… at
Sergios…Great food, great service with great atmosphere. We were given a free light entree/side of prosciutto with bread & tomato before the main for total of 23 euro each, including a side of roast potatoes, 2 bottles of lucca wine, a bottle of aqua, the second course (secondo piatto) of meat, and cafe corretto with sambuca to complete
the night, all within walking distance of home
We had a great night together and
we will miss Michelle and Paul when we leave but I’m sure we will all see each
After coming home we settled to
our books and then the drama really started…Mary suggested I update our computer security ...‘Trend’... as our current one expires in 2 days …so I started to download…nothing …so I needed to call them direct…nothing doing…the computer internet provider just wont accept the ‘Trend’ website…everyone on the phone talks to me like I’m an idiot …thinking that I am making a mistake…but no one can help me. So I have bought 2 years of cover but cannot download…it is 3.30am as I am writing this…I’ve been on the phone for 3 and a half hours with no joy…very angry right now but what can you
do…I’ll try one more time then give up until tomorrow.
I managed to get to bed at after
5.30 am…I was soooo tired but hopefully the ‘trend’ is all operational now. I
have my doubts but it does seem to be working
the ordeal wanting to know what was happening and generally feeling sorry for
me but I was too tired to care and was a little snappy back…I apologised when I
woke up later in the day but what can you do… she understood.
Mary herself had an ordinary
night’s sleep …(as I’m writing this I can hear her coughing away in the
bedroom)…she has picked up a bug sometime over the last 24 hrs and is starting
to have some ‘fluey’ symptoms…starting with a sore throat…I hope she doesn’t catch
anything… not with only a week and a half to go.
Mary was up and about and onto
the computer at about 8.30 and decided not to go out on the wall hoping that
staying inside will catch the sickness before it can do anything…nip it in the
bud, so to speak
me in bed asleep it has given her more time to catch up on all the computer
work…somewhere to stay, CV’s, letters, blogs, facebook etc etc…
I woke up about midday still
feeling very tired but wanting to get up…as soon as I was out into the kitchen
she hit me with computer issues…I tell you, computers are great when they are
working well but when they start to go bad…Ahhhh!! It had to do with the NAB
and we needed to phone them up…hopefully all that is fine now too. Working on
the computer tonight as I’m writing …it does seem that there are a lot of
differences to yesterday…I don’t know if it’s just my imagination…I just hope
all stays working properly.
As I said…Mary stayed home while
I took off to get some things done around Lucca…I looked outside before I left
and it looked very ominous …as if the skys would open up any minute…so I put on
a jacket and a scarf…BIG MISTAKE!!
to swelter and nothing I could do about it…to top it off because I had left so
late…the DVD Rental was closed.
I walked through to supermarket
stopping at the Posta on the way to pick up another ‘Box’ to send to Australia…I
set a new record for waiting patiently at the post office…60 minutes until my
number (No. PO56) came up…honestly…just to ask for a box…I actually was
laughing about it with someone else who was waiting with me (No. PO57)…such
Anyway, picked up box, shopping
and took off back to Brunella stopping for a coretto on the way…I have also
been carrying the camera around with me to take snaps of all the friends I have
been making at the stores and offices…so I took one of my coffee shop.
Got back home in time to get the
lasagne into the oven and settle down
for a read…Mary(poor thing) still on the computer… after a while I changed and
went for my walk and to pick up the DVD’s for the night (and another photo) …the
guy at the DVD shop even gave me a bottle of red to take with me…nice guy
then went through town to the ‘TIM’ store to recharge (for the last time)the
blue ‘TIM’ internet stick (and another photo) and the walked to the wall and
followed it to Baluardo Salvatore and yet another coretto on the way down (and
another photo)…before walking back into Brunella. Phew!!!
The lasagne was toasty and ready
to eat when I returned so after making a crisp salad we sat down for and early
dinner/late lunch (all put out because of my late night)…
After dinner…more computer work
for me while Mary got stuck into some ‘Sudoku’ (and some drugs for her upcoming
disease)….and we had a relaxing night watching a couple of DVD’s and just
enjoying our own company. Nice!!
Woke up this morning after a
restless night with Mary and her flu that is trying so hard to get a hold of
her… by the end of the day though, I think Mary is winning… she went to bed
much, much better than she woke up
Unfortunately, Mary woke up with
a hundred and one things on her mind…mainly all the things that she wants to
have organised before we get back…a place to live…an apartment before we can
move into Alycias home… post deliveries etc etc…and not being able to go out
for her walk this morning and then deciding not to go out at all to try and
break her flu symptoms meant that she was also a little stir crazy. Oh well…the
day is finished now and I’m sure she will wake up all the better tomorrow.
We woke up this morning to the
sound of rain which I just love…and I was hoping that it would stay that way
all day. I am really a winter person…a little rain …not too cold and I’m in my
return the DVD’s, stop by at the photo shop to ask a few questions and do a
little shopping. I put on my jacket for the first time in a few weeks and a
scarf and took off with a little drizzle coming down.
As soon as I was walking down via
della Quarquonia I felt at home…the streets are always so much cleaner and the
dust that builds up when there is no rain had all been washed away leaving a
beautiful shine on the cobble streets…there is also a freshness in the air that
revitalizes you and puts a spring in your step.
I happily walked around town
doing everything I needed to do…I found the restaurant that we had always
wanted to go to but that I could never quite remember where it was… and I found
a great shop that sells all the antique looking sketches of Lucca and other
Tuscan towns and cities
minutes not being able to choose which one would be the best…may be a task for
Mary when she is better…so many to choose from and they were all great.
I finished shopping at Sidis and
let Pierro and the others know that it was our last week here… they were all
very upset and hoped we would be back sooner than later. I missed getting a
photo of them as it got a little too busy for them to stop working…I’ll have to
go back at a later date.I then walked home grabbing a coretto on the way.
Back home and Mary was very excited because everything was sorted and she didnt need to sit at the computer doing anymore research as she had found us a lovely apartment in Scarborough that we could stay in when we arrive home until Alycia's tenants left and we could move into her place...Brilliant, it is all coming together!
After lunch (grilled steak and
salad) I called Marco T. to see if I could sing…it’s been a while…when he said
to come over I took off to the chiesa and got an hour of singing in…not a
moment too soon…I certainly needed to get some in, but the voice sounded pretty
Later the afternoon I took off to
check on the photo shop and on the way met up with Vicente who reminded me that
the Milan – Barcelona game was on tonight and if I was still going. I was sure
it was tomorrow night so it was lucky that I had bumped into him…I bought some
freshly cooked peas and potatoes and returned home in time to have a little
rest with Mary …we talked and
read and relaxed for a little while before dinner
By the time dinner was over I was
already late for the game…I walked down to Punto and with about 200 other
football fans stood or sat watching another great game…honestly I don’t think
I’ve ever seen a better team than Barcelona…teamwork is amazing…so much faith
in each others abilities…and Messi… at one stage they passed the ball 58 times
without Milan (who are no second rate team) touching the ball…just a pleasure
to watch. By the way they won 3-1 and through to the semi-finals of the
champion league. It’s gearing up to be a Barcelona-Real Madrid final if all
goes to plan…now that will be exciting!!! Off course we will be back in Perth
for that one. On the way home I filled the water bottles.
Another great day in paradise!!
We talked about what would
happen on the night that we return to Perth and whether its pizzas in Scarborough or
going back to Maireads or staying at the airport…it doesn’t matter…we will make
up our minds at the time. Mary also checked our reservation on Emirates to make
sure we had the seats that she wanted and put that one to bed. So, slowly but surely everything is getting organised...
On the negative side we also got
an email from Jacqui telling us that after a downpour the other night the
garage at Westmorland has collapsed…unbelievable….it’s all covered by insurance
but I cannot believe how many things have gone wrong at our home over the last
year. Jacqui will let us know at any rate.
After breakfast we took off to
Carrefour again for daily provisions… as that is how we are doing it at the
moment…and then we began wrapping things up for the ‘surface mail boxes’ that we
are going to be sending…Good idea (I hope) as it is all the things we want to
bring back but will put too much excess on our luggage, this way it will go
back cheap enough even though it will take at least a month
good job and also managed to add a couple of pairs of shoes and some clothing…
I had the job of actually packing up the boxes which ended up being pretty
simple. I left them un-taped just in case we want to add anything.
After a lovely pan fried chicken
breast lunch with crispy salad… we took off together to the ‘Map store’ (for
want of a better name) and spent some time choosing what to buy for what will
eventually hang on a wall in our home…after about half an hour we still
couldn’t really make up our minds but eventually decided on two sketches and an aerial
poster photo of Lucca…all really nice and will look great when they have been framed.
We both watched excitedly as the owner expertly rolled up the prints and placed
it into a tube…sounds easy and the way he did it …it sure looked easy but we
were both quite impressed. I let him know as he was rolling it up…"So you do
this a few times then?”…He smiled with a look of pride…nice!
I left Mary after we left the
store as she was going to book the restaurant for tomorrow night and I needed
to go to the photo shop to go through the photo book we were giving Michelle & Paul
assistant had done a really good job and I just needed to fine tune it a little
and add some script…
As I left the shop I bumped into
Michelle who, after a few phone calls and getting the facts straight, was actually
waiting for Mary at Betty Blue to have a drink. After a couple of phone calls
to Mary and Paul we ordered a coretto and a proseco and sat down at the café
next to Betty Blue (as it was closed) and waited for Mary to turn up. As soon
as Mary turned up I left them at it and went for my walk…one that was supposed
to end when I received a text from Mary to say she was on her way home(as she
had the key to Brunella)…anyway…2 hours later and after walking for most of it,
I still hadn’t heard from Mary so I decided to walk back to the café to see if
she was still there. On the way I bumped into Paul and Atticus and apparently he had seen Michelle & Mary and had been having a drink with them as well...and I had only just missed her... we walked
together to where they were having their drink.
When we arrived they were long
gone …so we decided to have a glass of red at Vinkaria while I waited for the
text…Paul and I had a nice long chat about everything until finally Mary texted
to say she had been home for a long time and that her message hadn’t been sent…I
told where I was and what I was doing at which she thought was very funny.
Twenty minutes later she texted back for me to buy a pizza on the way
Paul walked me to Mare Meo for
the pizza and then realizing what time it was (nearly 9.00) said goodbye and
hurried off home. I bought a different type pizza tonight and even though Mary
was wary at first …she did seem to like it. We left enough for some more
tomorrow…nice day after pizza.
We then had a relaxing night
…reading and having coffee before we hopped off to bed.
Another nice day…getting close
now before we go
05/04/12 Holy Thursday
Another rainy overcast day to
wake up to but still such a great place to be…we needed to go out to buy some
provisions and took off down to the shoe store where we had bought Mary’s
walking shoes from a few months ago.
Last night…after Mary had cleaned
her shoes she'd noticed that they had a huge crack, on the soles of both shoes. We
decided to take them back to the store to see if they would exchange them or if
they could do anything for us. We didn’t have a docket and was just hoping that
they would remember us.
On the way to Santa Maria we bumped into Libby
after she was returning from her 3 lap bike ride as round La Mura …and we
chatted for a while before we continued our walk to the store
met by the store owner and I let him know about our predicament and without much
hope of anything he looked at the shoes…looked at me…grumbled under his breath
and asked his (wife) to see if they had any more in this size.
While his wife was out the back
looking he was constantly grumbling and talking under his breath but never
really saying anything. I’m still not really sure if he was upset at me or
upset at the shoe??? Anyway, luckily they ended up having a pair and they replaced them free of charge...wonderful....
After lunch (leftovers as we are
out for dinner tonight)…we took off to meet up with Charlotte at the ‘leather’ store
up our road to order and buy a couple of things to bring back with us and
Charlotte knows the owner and thought that they may give her a better price…she
was right …we got everything we wanted to buy and very happy with the price
We then all went to the
anfiteatro for a drink in the – now - glorious sunshine that was shining down
into the piazza. We sat like cats in the sun drinking our cocktails (4pm is not
too early is it?) and talking and relaxing for about an hour. We then walked
through to via Fillungo and down San Giorgio before leaving Charlotte to walk
home by herself and for us to make our way to the ‘Ceramic’ store.
Mary had seen a beautiful ceramic
antipasto set that she fell in love with a few months ago and we’ve finally
decided to blow the expense and buy it. The store is full of only handmade and
hand painted ceramics from the smallest medallion to the largest wall features
that are about 1 metre in diameter…I didn’t even want to guess how much
something like that would cost. Anyway, we found lots of interesting things for
ourselves and others and by the end of it I was a little woozy from the spend
(you know me and money!!).
We left feeling very happy with
ourselves and made our way back to Brunella…we hadn’t realized how the time had
gone so fast…we were supposed to be at the Vinkaria for drinks in about 45
minutes and there was no way we would be ready in time and I still wanted to go
for a walk…so when we returned Mary contacted everyone and I took off for my
I returned in time for a quick
shower…and we changed into nice clothes and took off for a ‘passegiatta’ around
the mura until we reached Porta Donato and the ‘Trattoria di Giulio’ ….15
minutes late and where everyone was waiting for us for our last dinner as a
group of six...us, Michelle, Paul, Libby & Vincente.
Dinner was special as usual…one
of our favourite places…good service all the time …the mamma is so nice and
helpful and very patient with us all…. The food is varied and delicious and the
specials are always different… and the price is always very accommodating.
Great night out…the courses were well spaced out and we had lots of time for
talking and having a laugh
have stayed longer…good times.
We all walked back towards or
apartments and Vincente decided we should have another after dinner drink at
‘Vinkaria’ before calling it a night….no problems here with us….so we all had
one last drink together. At about 1.30am we definitely decided to call it a
night and we all took off home in separate directions.
Once home Mary and I had a coffee
and read for a little while before finally falling into bed at about three in
06/04/12 Good Friday
I had done something to my back this morning...strangely enough, i think it was when i was doing the dishes (as the sink is quite low) and although it has never bothered me before, something weird happened this morning
painkillers…I’m definitely not used to being held back by a sore back…but what
can you do. I have been walking around with a stiff, straight back looking like
I have a pole running up and down my back and sitting down right at the back of
chairs so that my back stays straight. Very annoying !! Mary does say that she
has never seen me eat so well…(just joking!), as i am sitting up so straight!!
After breakfast we had a 11am
appointment at Libby and Vicentes to drop off the fan (we don’t need any
more and they will definitely need with the hot summer ahead) and a little
gift we bought them. Mary and Libby were then meeting Michelle in front of
Chiesa San Leonardo…I walked with Mary until the chiesa then left her to her
own devices …
I walked around Lucca Centro for
a while then made my way back home…Mary wasn’t back yet so I spent some time on
the computer and just messing around at home
was filling up the bottles around 2.30 in the afternoon…
After filling the bottles we
walked back home and I left Mary to have a bit
of a snooze…she was very tired and needed a sleep…Tonight was the ‘Celebration of the Passion’ and the walk through the streets. It
all started at the Cattedrale at 18.30 for the Passion service …that lasted
until 20.15 and then it was off to Piazza della Misericordia for the stations
of the cross through the streets of Lucca….most of it happening at the Piazza
Anfiteatro and then through to the Chiesa do San Frediano. It was a ll very
well organised with about 1000 people attending and staying for the whole
service…Michelle and Paul started at the Piazza and then left at the Anfiteatro
feeling very tired
hurting….had a coffee and biscuits and took off to bed.
Slow day…Mary took off early for , her walk. After a nice healthy
and fruity breakfast we took off for a walk through the markets and then up to
‘OVS’ to check out any new arrivals and something that Mary might be able to
The town centre was all pumping
with lots of tourists…mainly from Germany and USA …milling around and taking
advantage of the perfect weather…after a fruitless shopping adventure we
returned home and I made some lunch before taking off for a trip to the
Carrefour and some late Easter shopping…the shop was choco-block…so many people
all trying to get the best bargain from what was left over…very hectic
Walking out of the store I
noticed another phenomenon, flower seeds flying around all over the place…We remember back to last year when we first arrived and they were flying around then too. I
tried to take a photo as it looked exactly the same as when it was snowing…all
over the place…mainly up everyone’s noses… no luck with the snaps…can’t see
I got home in time (after my
coretto) to get changed and sit around for a while just
…well…relaxing!!.. After a while I had a shower and we both changed and got
ourselves ready for a nice dinner at Toscas with Charlotte and Stig.
We arrived into Piazza San
Michele in time to see Charlotte and Stig across the piazza and waving at us to
predinner drink and walked over to ‘Toscas’ ristorante…where we had a lovely
dinner with two very special people.
After a very late night…we didn’t
leave until well after midnight…we made our last very sad farewells as this
will be the last time we see them before we have to return to Australia. They
are off in a couple of days to Denmark and so tonight is it…it was all very
sad…they have become very close friends and I don’t know if our experience
would have been anywhere as good as it has been if Charlotte and Stig had not
been part of it…they are both beautiful and honest people that we are very
proud to call lifelong friends and we will miss them very much…
We walked our separate ways and
as we were walking home I realized I had left the umbrellas at the ristorante
so with Mary walking back home I turned around and went back to the Toscas and
picked up the umbrellas before meeting up with Mary on Via Mordini…we got home
…had a coffee…and went to bed….lovely (but sad ) day!!
08/04/12 Easter Sunday
After a late and emotional night
with Charlotte and Stig the last thing we wanted to do was get up early…but it
is Easter Sunday and I really wanted to go to the Cattedrale for the big Easter
Sunday service… Mary was the strong one, off course, and peeled herself out of
bed at about 9.00 (Mass was at 10:30) and began waking herself up. She
immediately opened up the bedroom shutters to let in the sun but we were both
taken back by an overcast day and quite steady rain. It took me about 15 minutes
to finally fall out of bed and crawl into the kitchen to get breakfast
ready…Mary left me once she knew I was up and went to get ready for Mass.
I had decided to surprise Mary
with an egg (chocolate variety) but (as I guessed) that was the last thing she
really wanted…. so Paul enjoyed it instead :):).
Anyway, after breakfast we
finished getting ourselves ready and walked out rugged up and with umbrellas,
into the coldest morning we have had for probably a month
until after ten and we were both expecting to be lucky to find a seat. We were
judging from what we would expect in Perth…if we aren’t at the church at least
30 minutes before the service …then we are standing.
We arrived at San Martino at just
on 10:20 and to our surprise the cathedral was only half full (or half empty –
depending on how you like to think of these things)…and we sat half way down
the church ready for the service.
The service was very good…long,
as expected, and the sermon was long…as expected…but the pageantry and
traditions was very evident and impressive…the choir sang really well and in
very strong harmonies so all in all it was what I was hoping for
minutes later it was all finished and we walked into a rainless piazza and made
our way into the city centre where we sat down in Piazza San Michele and
ordered ourselves a nice, hot cappuccino each and watched the Sunday lunchtime tourists
and locals going about their business.
After about thirty minutes of
enjoying the sunshine and stalking all the Lucchese…we decided that we should
contact Paul and Michelle and see if they wanted to join us for
lunch…somewhere…probably Paulos Café. We had booked and planned to go to the Easter Lunch at San Colombanos but had already cancelled mainly because we were so full from the night before and thought we would much rather have something simple.
As it turned out, the Sullivans
were in the process of asking us if we wanted to get together as we were
calling to see if they wanted to get together…cool
half an hour…I then left Mary to finish her second cup of coffee while I made
my way back to Brunella to drop off some shopping and to make a few ‘Happy Easter’
phone calls before joining them all back at the restaurant.
Paulos Café was soo busy…we had
to wait half an hour before we could get in and the poor things were totally
under the pump…it’s just been through a renovation and they now have an
upstairs to worry about. I don’t know what the big problem was or if it was a
mixture of many little problems and issues…but they were really finding it
difficult to keep their heads above water and everyone happy and satisfied. We
didn’t really care…we sat down and just talked waiting to be served but others
in the restaurant were not as understanding and a few tables just up and left
before anyone had even seen them yet…a bit disappointing but I’m sure (at least
I hope)they all learnt something today
we all enjoyed a plate of pasta and a few glasses of wine…followed by sweet
desserts and corettos…we were happy. At the end the chef came out all frazzled
and wanted to apologise…these things happen I suppose…poor thing!
After our long, late lunch we
parted ways and we went back home. I then took off for a walk just as the
heavens opened and got nicely drenched for my venture. Doesn’t matter….makes
the hot shower when you come home even better.
The rest of the night was very
relaxing and calm just reading…sudokuing and listening to the rain hit the
streets and houses.