Happy Friday - have you missed me? After nearly four years of daily posts - I took a break for a week! As I posted last week, we took a quick weekend trip to Italy for a reunion with some friends and former work colleagues. This group has met every two years since we left England 12 years ago.
Our American friends live in a lovely part of Tuscany, near the old city of Lucca. The scenery is wonderful and we were fortunate to have good weather while we were there.
Lucca is a walled city as you can see on this street map. It is one of the few that still has a full intact wall from the Renaissance era. If you look near the top center of the yellow area, you can see the oval area that is the Piazza dell'Anfiteatro.
The Piazza is surrounded by buildings that form an oval shape with shops, apartments and lots of cafes in the center.
While we were in the Piazza, a bride and groom were having some photos taken - her gown was beautiful.
We were in the Anfiteatro to meet the Segway rental company. We had an adventure with six Segways and a special bicycle cab that is built for six!
We rode from the Piazza up to the wall and then drove all the way around the city. Riding the bike is a little tricky - only the people in the four corners can pedal and, even though there are two steering wheels, the one on the left is the only one that controls the cab.
From the wall you have a view over the city and on to the surrounding hills (more like small mountains!).
There are many, many churches within the walls - I have forgotten the exact number but it seems disproportionately high for the size of the city.
Some of the churches have very elaborate facades.
The stones used for the arches alternate in color for a checkerboard effect. I love to see all of the architectural details and often can find ideas for paper cutting designs from buildings.
The stones and ironwork are fascinating to see and of course I took lots of photos to help me remember some of the ideas.
There are many examples of intricate iron work - this is the base of a lamp post on the wall.
Here is the top of the lamp post with all sorts of fanciful animals set into the curves and swirls.
The wide paved area on the top of the wall was perfect for riding the Segways. It was the first time most of us had tried this and it was a lot of fun after about a ten minute learning curve. I definitely want to try it again - maybe in Boston.
I had to laugh when I saw the name of the cycle rental company - I checked a translator and it does have the same meaning as the English word bizarre!
There is always so much to see when you are in another country. I think the glass holders around the window are for candles but I am not sure when they would be lighted (I am guessing that it would be in connection with some sort of religious festival). The fleur-de-lis ironwork also caught my eye.
The site in the shop windows are also intriguing - look at all of the yummy flavors of gelato...
I don't know how anyone could walk on the cobblestone streets in these shoes but I am sure that some people try!
The shops have lovely displays and in this one the merchandise spills out from the building into the piazza.
I have taken many photos of the ironwork in the arches over the doors on previous trips so I only took a few this time. I thought the reflection of the other buildings was very pretty in this photo.
When we returned to the States, I had a fairly major bout of jet lag and I decided the best way to get over it was to take it easy for a few days. Some packages arrived while I was gone and today I will be trying out some of these recent purchases, including lots of punches.
So what's new with you? What sort of projects are you working on? Do you decorate for Halloween - a little or a lot? Do you send Halloween cards (I make them but hardly ever send them!).
I have a few surprises planned for next week. I hope you have a great weekend!
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