Laundry Day

It’s Monday and one’s thoughts naturally turn to laundry.

Since today is warm and sunny, there is a lot of line drying going on throughout town. We are more modern creatures, so we use the local laundry facilities, which also include dryers. These are rarely found in Italian homes, but we find them rather essential when travelling. Yes, we know we are polluting the atmosphere, but we’ll try to be environmentally conscious some other way. (BTW, can you believe Don complains about carrying our laundry bag around town? I think an orange polka-dot bag is too chic for words, myself – especially on the banquette of our lovely luncheon restaurant. Goes so well with the floor.)

To prepare ourselves for our last afternoon in Lucca, we ticked off the last remaining thrill in this bike-centric city.

Killing two birds with one stone, we rode (twice!) on bicycles around the original Roman wall, which was enhanced with a medieval wall and then in 1550 with wider ramparts to withstand cannon fire. Today, it is a lovely 2.5 mile ride and a different way to experience the city. We got to see the wall and have some exercise too. However, I did learn that while you never forget how to ride a bike, it is a bit difficult to do that and take pictures. So there are only a few to commemorate Jo and Don’s slightly-wobbly-but-better-as-time-went-on adventure on two wheels today.

One other thing on our Lucca to-do list was to attend a Puccini concert. Here in Lucca, there is one every single night of the year, which is a nice way to commemorate the local composer who was not well-received here at the beginning of his career. Our evening had popular Neapolitan songs as well, and was a lovely way to spend an hour. The concert took place in the Church of San Giovanni, which has that amazing floor that allowed us to see the medieval and Roman ruins right underneath. Wonderful acoustics.

So today was another glorious day in Lucca – full of sunshine, lovely vistas and fresh laundry. We will be sorry to leave here.

Don’s Food Corner

While the great restaurant we visited two days ago is closed on Mondays, we found its sister restaurant right down the street from our apartment that IS open on Mondays. We jumped at it. The decor wasn’t as elegant as its grander sibling. Plus, there was only one tablecloth, but it was an unusually nice tablecloth.

We started by sharing a local specialty called cecina.  It’s a crepe-like flatbread made of garbanzo-bean flour.  Although apparently it is often just eaten plain, here it was served with a mound of prosciutto and mozzarella-style cheese called stracchino, a specialty of the Lombardy region. Very tasty. Very interesting.

Jo went on to a course of ravioli with ragu sauce. Unlike the other areas of Italy serving ravioli with ricotta filling (often with spinach), the Tuscan style is meat-filled. Of course, the pasta was homemade. The quality of ravioli and ragu sauce remains the most consistent dish from one restaurant to another — no matter what price is paid.

I decided to test what they called grilled sausage. The menu didn’t say what part of the animal (nor what type of animal) the sausage was made from; I didn’t ask. There were two sausage patties — not enclosed in any type of skin — that had been nicely browned over an open-fired grill. They were on top of thinly sliced raw fennel. The whole dish was drizzled with a reduction of balsamic vinegar.  The sausage was flavorful without being overly spiced. The other two elements married well with the sausage in a completely individual and direct manner.

For the wine, we once again went with the local Montecarlo red.  A very nice Monday lunch.

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