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Day 22

Damned lies & a big surprise

sunny 18 °C
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"Go to Lucca," they said. "It's quaint & peaceful," they said. Does THIS look either quaint or peaceful to you?


BOLLOCKS, it does!! They lied through their teeth - at least for today!

But, to be fair, there are only 3 days a year when Lucca turns into Crazy Central - and I chose THAT weekend to go! It's Europe's Comicon, and is the second biggest in the world, behind the US. Yeah, I can hear you laughing from here!

You know me, though - sow's ear=silk purse (sometimes, at least). Although I was disappointed and quite a few people on the tour were rightfully angry that the tour company didn't tell anyone, or have anything on their website about it, I figured I was getting a very different look at Lucca. And you can't argue with that!

These guys look familiar!

This gave me a giggle

There were a LOT of people with guns there!

A slightly less busy street

We were taken on a tour with a local guide, who wasn't able to show us a lot of the usual sights because of the crowds. Lucca usually has 20,000 people within its walls - today there were at least 100,000, so you can understand the difficulty! People in costume were simply walking all around the town and posing for photos for their 5 minutes of Facebook fame. It was quite entertaining actually.

We did get to see some of the sights, even though we had to fight our way through.

Church of St Michael / San Michele

Two of Lucca's remaining towers. There used to be more than 100!

Lots of people at street level, so we look up!

Lucca is surrounded by a wall, that's in one piece, and no part of it has ever been destroyed, unlike many of the walled towns in Italy.
You can walk or ride (or even drive) all the way around it, but usually it's a lot less crowded than it was today!

I was hoping it wasn't as crowded as the streets, and it wasn't. but there were still plenty of weirdoes up there!

The view from up there was pretty good though:

After Lucca, we really needed a peaceful break. Our tour leader promised us that Pisa would be much better. I wasn't very hopeful that Pisa would be terribly interesting or worth going to - my main reason for going on this tour was to see Lucca, which hadn't gone terribly well. Again, I was wrong - and how wrong! Take a look at this first view as we walked through the gates at Pisa:

Simply WOW!

It was gorgeous in the sun, shining and bright - Leaning Tower, Cathedral and Baptistery all together. The gorgeous green grass and blue sky really made the buildings stand out. The walls with their battlements were pretty amazing too:

What a show Pisa put on for us!

And here's the famous tower, of course:

The base of the Tower - shows just how much of a lean it's on

There's a piece of modern sculpture behind the tower, which is pretty cool

And the juxtaposition of the modern with the old tower is great

Of course, I was forced by my so-called friends & loved ones to take a selfie "holding up" the tower, so here it is

One of the funniest things is watching all the people posing for their "holding up the tower" pics. It's like a kind of crazy slow tai chi!

And a final pin up of the trio - with the sunset colouring them a pretty peach

All in all, an interesting and surprising day. I'd still like to see Lucca as it usually is, but that's not to be on this trip obviously.

To top everything off, I managed to catch the last 10 minutes of the Rugby World Cup final at an Irish pub near the Duomo. A nice finish to the day!

Posted by judesbucketlist 15:19 Archived in Italy Tagged italy pisa lucca tuscany leaning_tower euro_comicon

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So how far away is Lucca? You could always plan another day? Fabulous photos Jude!

by Kevin

It's well over an hour by bus & I don't want to get stuck there in the middle of the week. Next weekend is my last here, and on the Sunday I'm taking the train down to Pompei for a couple of days. So I think I'll stick around Florence this week and concentrate on seeing some things I haven't got to yet, like Clet Abraham's studio & the Palazzo Vecchio etc.

by judesbucketlist

Holy moly...time has passed so quickly!! You won't want to come home! Enjoy the last week or so.

by Kevin

Sorry if I told you it was quiet! We were there in January and it was almost deserted. Almost too quiet- nothing was really open. You can catch the train there too - that's what we did. Pisa is gorgeous in the sunset, lucky!

by Petra

Tell me about it! I does feel like I left ages ago but once you hit the halfway mark time does go very fast

by judesbucketlist

Haha, no, it wasn't you Petra - just the generic 'they', like Lonely Planet!

by judesbucketlist

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