With the weather warming up and drying out, it was time to start taking full advantage of our central location and our leg muscles. I love getting out of town and taking a walk. Goodbye defensive sidewalk elbows. Goodbye honking swerving cars. Hello open trail flanked by cliffs and sea! Hello Cinque Terre!
This is one of the great places of the world. Particularly in the off season when the weather is fine and the people are elsewhere. The five towns are truly charming and, surprise surprise, Radek has boldly stated that he’s moving here next winter. Well, we’ll see about that, but I have to agree with the sentiment. The villages are picturesque and slow-paced and basically an idyllic seaside dream come true, but for me the real charm was the countryside in between, with nothing but the sound of birds chirping and waves crashing.
On the way back to Florence, we felt that our legs hadn’t been properly punished for their rainy winter respite. So we decided to stop and check out Lucca, the former Lombard capital of Tuscany. The city is unique for it’s 4 kilometer protective wall, the top of which has been transformed into a peaceful walking path. The wall rings the entire city and is flanked by parks and picnic areas. In essence it is is a city encapsulated by a track, perfect for running, biking and rollerblading above and slightly removed from the low bustle of city-life.
Back on the ground and in the streets the city stays pretty low key without feeling dull. The buildings are grand and house inviting cafes and shops, buzzing with activity. The squares are large enough to fit everyone comfortably so there is no sense of jockeying for space like in so many Italian cities.
Today we were spoiled for air and space. Tomorrow it’s back to Florence to fight for my right to the sidewalk. But that can be fun too.