Thursday, May 29, 2014

Camaiore to Lucca May 29

                                                             Current Day                         Trip to Date

Distance walked- miles                            17.0.                                    198.0

Gross Climb- feet                                     980.                                   15,553

Net Climb -feet                                          -88.                                     2,274

Song of the day: The Wanderer, by U2, singing by Johnny Cash

I went out walkin'
Through streets paved with gold
Lifted some stones saw the skin and bones

Yeah I went with nothin'
Nothin' but the thought of you
I went wandering

I stopped outside a church house
Where the citizens like to sit
They say, "They want the kingdom"
But they don't want God in it

This is one of my favorite U2 songs, and certainly a great rendition by Johnny Cash.  For those of you interested, the Robert Hilburn biography of Johhny Cash from 2013 is a terrific read, and the story about how Johnny came to record this song with U2 is fascinating.

Well, the walk from Camaiore to Lucca was about 13 miles, and then we walked another 4 miles wandering the interesting city of Lucca.  Lucca is an ancient walled city, dating back to 180 BC, with a current population of around 95,000.  For a town of this size, it has more churches than just about anyplace I have seen.

The forecast had been for rain today.  When we woke this morning, it was clear blue skies.  By 9:30, the sky started to darken,  and we were sure it would rain.  But, it never did.  I'm sure glad it didn't, because parts of the walk would have even very dangerous in the rain. Particularly the downhill portion over sheets of rock.  As with prior days, the trail was often overgrown with thorny bushes, making the going slow at times:

On two separate occasions today, we passed individuals going the other way on the trail. Both of them told us they were headed to Santiago de Compestella in Spain, which is what we walked last year.  One of the guys had started in Rome, and the other in Sienna. In any case, both have a long ways to go!  One was a 35 year old German, and he told us that he had sold or  given away  everything he owned, and would move to Portugal at the completion of his walk.  He said this walk was a fresh start on his life. The other was from Poland, and seemed to be on some sort of spiritual mission.

After being on the trail for 90 minutes or so, we ran into out friend Christian from Germany.  I don't know how these things keep happening.  We walked with Christian for about an hour, then went on ahead.  Later this evening, we were sitting in a bar in Lucca and who should pull in but Christian again?!  We had many similar stories from the Camino last year, and these are things that just don't happen in regular life!

This evening, we ended up having probably the worst meal we have had in Italy.  The guy at our hotel had recommended several restaurants.  However, when we were out wandering around the town, we saw a restaurant named  Perbacco.  As it turns out, one of the truly great restaurants in San Francisco, and one of our favorites is called Perbacco.  So, we decided to try the Lucca version.  What a dumb idea.  They say you can't judge a book by its cover.  Well, you can't judge a restaurant by it's name either!  Believe me, these two restaurants have nothing in common, and I have to say, this is one of the few cases where a US Italian restaurant is better than an Italian Italian restaurant!

The forecast is for rain again tomorrow, but so far we have been very fortunate when rain is forecasted. We have a walk of about 14 miles to a village called Altopacia.  I love the name of the hotel we are staying at tomorrow:  "La Loggia - Spaghetteria e Bed and Breakfast."  Where else in the world do you get a spaghetti house and B&B rolled into one?!

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