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Travel Journal: Italy, Day 8

Yesterday, we rented scooters with Doris & Doug. (Doris hadn't been on a Vespa since 1969, when she came to Italy over the summer during high school!)

It was a lot of fun. We took beautiful mountain roads from Lucca up to Bagni di Lucca (bagni means baths, so if a town has terme or bagni in it's name it means they have spas and baths) and back down. We went through some really cool fog, and up to this mountain lodge for lunch. Apparently, the Lucchese (citizens of Lucca) pack the place during the summer when it's hot. I can see why - it's easily 20± cooler up there than down in the city.

We zipped all over - of course Jeremy made me videotape nearly all of it. So I balanced the camera with one arm and held on for dear life with the other, and away we went.

The only parts that really freaked me out were the hairpin turns. Sometimes there would be three or four in a row. Eek. I'm sure J would have loved to zoom around those roads without the burden of a passenger, but oh well. There's always next time. Maybe by then I'll have my motorcycle license. Fun!

So, our ride: we began in Lucca and climbed up the mountain to the lodge I mentioned earlier. I can't remember the town it was a part of - it was off on its own in the woods. The forest smelled wonderful - that scent of very early Autumn - and a few leaves would fall every once in a while, or blow along the road like confetti after a parade.

After lunch at the lodge, we began our long descent. Stopped at Villa Basilica where we looked at a church that had been built (at least part of it) in 807. The rest had been added in the 1200s. The "new" part. Ha.

Also went to Bagni di Lucca, a very picturesque little town. After that, we ended up on the Strada del Vino (Road of Wine). Doug took a couple of pictures of Jeremy and I scooting by, which he wanted to use on their website.

I nearly forgot - we also visited the homes of 2 other Americans (neither of which were home). The first belongs to some guy from Stillwater, a friend of a friend of my mom's. He bought the place online for $9,000! Of course, it needs hundreds of thousands of dollars in repair, but whatever. We checked out the restoration (translation: Jeremy climbed the scaffolding and peeked in the windows), and it looks like they had to gut the place and start over inside. Yikes, but it will be so cool when it's done.

The other place was a mulino, but in a different town than Doris & Doug's. It still had some of the wooden milling parts attached to the side; they're rotting off now, and covered in moss, but cool to see.

By the end of our ride we were tired, and our butts were sore from sitting on them for hours. We had a farewell cocktail with D & D (Jeremy and I have discovered Sambuca!), and headed into Lucca to find dinner.

Friday's Foods:
Breakfast: Croissant, caffe latte and a macchiato. I DO NOT need that much espresso in the morning.

Lunch: Mushroom tortelli at the lodge.

Snack: Sambuca!

Dinner: Back to Guido Cimino. I had the vegetariana salad again (though it wasn't quite as good as the first time). Tried gnocchi with four cheeses. Gnocchi seems pretty good, but one of the four cheeses was gorgonzola, which I hate. Egh.

Dessert: 2 sambucas with Jeremy at the paninotecca near our apartment. Our last night in Lucca, we had to drown our sorrows...

Posted October 4, 2003 10:11 AM | On This Day: 2005 2002