Tuesday, August 27, 2013

On the home run .......

....and we’re not wasting a minute of our time! We’ve less than 5 weeks to go before we leave Lucca and return to Melbourne, our families and friends and of course work! Next week we’re off to Rome for 4 nights, then the following week Barcelona for another 4 nights. In the meantime we’ve been keeping ourselves busy enjoying days at the beach, walking in the mountains and all the other delights of our Italian life. Here’s a little glimpse.

Orto di Donna

Ahhh ….. Marino relaxing at the cool refuge

We’ve had a few trips with CAI recently but there’s been something missing, our good friend Paola Sardas. We first met about a year ago on a trip in the mountains near Lake Como, Paola was friendly and chatty (in Italian) and made us feel welcome and at home. We’ve since shared many more trips and enjoyed the occasional meal together. Unfortunately Paola has not been well this year and therefore been unable to join us on walks – that was until 2 weeks ago when she organised a group of us to spend a night at Rifugio Orto di Donna and a days walking near Monte Pisanino.

Paola and I – ready to depart!

It was another stinking hot 30C+ day when we departed Lucca, which ended at a cool 1496m and 21C! What started out as 4 of us soon became a group of 12 and a wonderful evening of eating, drinking and star gazing was enjoyed by all. The next day we set out for a loop walk around Pizzo D’Uccello. Another day of beautiful countryside and amazing views across marble mines and to the sea. I then discovered why berry jam in Italy is called ‘fruits of the forest’. In the forest, there were wild berries galore! specifically blueberries, strawberries and raspberries! The raspberries were sensational! Strange as it may seem, they actually tasted like raspberries!!

Wild blueberries

Real raspberries!!

Tiny strawberries

So nice to be walking with Paola again.

The Sagra Seaon is here …

We loved the sagras last year and managed to squeeze in a couple more this year. The format is always the same, the menu is basically the same and whilst the food is nothing to rave about it’s such a unique ‘Italian’ experience – we love it!

Mmm …. Rigatoni!
Mmm …. Antipasti!
















Zuppa Paesana – Santa Maria del Guidice


Sagra del Rigatoni - Mutigliano


The entertainment is always entertaining!



A day or 2 (maybe 3) at the beach

The beach – Italian style

When its 30C+ here in Lucca the only way to escape the heat is to head to the coast - a 45min Vespa ride to our favourite beach at Lido di Camaiore. Lunch is always at Bagno Alberto’s; spaghetti vongole, a salad and a carafe of white wine. More beach then a cool ride home through the hills after 7pm. A perfect day.

Mmm …. Spaghetti Vongole


Then back up the mountains again ……

No rest for the wicked! Marino has booked every spare weekend we have walking with CAI! This was a day trip to Parco Nazionale on the Tuscan/Emilio Romagna border.

More amazing views!

A quick pit stop at the summit

And a cooling Aperol Spritz for a hard earned thirst!