Monday, October 4, 2004
Mark’s laundry wasn’t drying and he was getting desperate for clean clothes, so he decided to chance drying it on the line. What am I saying, I’m the one who wound up hanging it all! He played with the kids at the playground at the Agriturismo, and then we left for Lucca. It was Mark’s personal quest to actually get into the city of Lucca–on a previous trip to Italy with his parents they were never able to locate their hotel there and just gave up and left the city in frustration. We parked outside the city gates and walked in, right into a nice playground. The girls were so excited! The only other person there was a woman from Santa Monica and her two kids, so Genevieve actually got to play with another girl who understood her. We stayed there for a while, exchanging notes with the other Californian, and then we went in search of lunch. We wound up in the Piazza di Ampiteatro. The Roman Ampitheater is long gone, but the houses built in the middle ages were built around the perimeter so the shape is preserved. The girls enjoyed feeding pigeons and running around while Mark waited for the bill. Then we went shopping a bit, and climbed the Torre Di Guinigi, which affords a great view of the city and is unusual in that it has trees on it (it was built as a garden for the owners of the house). By then the stores had all reopened from their siesta, so we got gelato and then went shopping. I found some cute, affordable kids clothes (who knew Lucca would be so much cheaper than Verona?) and another shirt for me. We then walked through the Piazza San Michelle (the church is famous for it’s Pisan facade) and then along the city wall, whichmade Genevieve very happy. Lucca is famous for it’s city walls, built in the 16th and 17th century. They never had to use them for defense, but they did come in handy in a flood in the 19th century. Mark had to find an Internet cafe to renew markandmonica.com (boy would I have been mad if he let our rights to the name expire!) so I took the kids to a toystore while he got online. We went back to the playground and thecarousel was now open and the playground was packed with the locals (as it was in the evening between work and dinner…). We stopped for dinner at a McDonalds we had seen coming into the city, and that made Genevieve ecstatic. We never ever eat fast food at home, certainly not McD’s, but the girls’ steady diet of pasta and nothing but pasta was making us nervous so we felt like we should throw some chicken nuggets into the mix. McDonalds in Italy are like I remember them being in my childhood, highchairs stocked with bibs and goodies, and balloon trees with balloons or flags in them for the kids, in addition to happy meals. At any rate, the place was filled with locals so we were really getting the full Italian experience. By the time we got home it was easy to get the kids to bed (Charlotte in particular is so happy to be rolled right into bed when she’s tired) and it hadn’t rained and Mark’s laundry was dry (I made him go out and get it, this time).