Monday, November 9, 2009

Last Stop, Lucca

It was back to Pisa on Ryan Air before we knew it, retracing our steps. With a day to lay over before returning to Brussels we took the bus from Pisa to nearby Lucca. The walled city was quaint, comforting and a treat for all of us.Romanesque churches seem to be around every corner, as do fun-loving and shady piazzas filled with soccer-playing children. We thought Lucca felt the most authentically-Italian of all the Tuscan towns we visited. Rick remarks how so few tourists seem to put Lucca on their maps and we agreed the tourists were few and far between.
We rented bikes and rode all along the 2.5 mile ramparts embracing the city. Adair and Eric got a bicycle built for two, Kirk strapped the children in a trailer, and I was our intrepid photographer on 2 wheels...of course.
Will and Connor were peas in a pod as we rolled them all over Lucca. Both were happy and tickled in the beginning but as we cycled Will got a little concerned. Connor was a little good protector, putting her arm around her friend and telling him everything would be alright. So cute.
When we came upon a playground we just had to stop to swing and slide. Will took a tiny (safe!) ride in Adair and Eric's basket.
With a bird's eye tour from our bikes we then explored Lucca on foot. There was piazza after piazza and amazing church after amazing church.
One last gelato. One more - then we promised we would cut ourselves off. And did we ever find the place to lick away! Gelateria Veneta was rumored to have the best gelato in town and we wholeheartedly agreed. I had a mixture of melon, lemon, and apple sorbet and oh goodness was it good.
It was a late nap day if ever there was one. Miraculously BOTH Will and Connor finally tuckered out and fell asleep in their strollers early evening. We crossed fingers and toes and quietly sat down to eat our last vacation meal at Osteria Baralla, a few steps from the Roman amphitheatre. We were beaming with pride and hope for an entire meal with our duo of snoozing babes. I can't begin to describe what it felt like to be out to dinner as four adults with focused conversation and uninterrupted good times with good friends. There is something about dining with toddlers that provokes anxiety even in the best of circumstances.
We made it through the first and second courses before some crazy guy walked by and literally started randomly yelling. Awaking both Connor and Will. Perfect. And therefore putting an immediate end to our adult dinner of peace. We all four looked at each other and burst out laughing. We were grateful for the brief respite and couldn't help but crack up that "only in Italy" would a drunk pass and awaken both from sound dreams. It was definitely a glass is half full kind of moment.
Growing up I learned that song, "Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver and the other gold." Adair and Eric - you are as golden as they come!!! My heart grows several sizes reflecting that we are now passing along another generation of friendship through our children. Only friends like you would bring an 18 month old across the ocean to take on Tuscany and Croatia. It was a trip filled with endearing memories we will surely relive again and again.

1 comment:

Karen said...

What a wonderful trip!