Friday, May 30, 2014

Lucca to Altopacia May 31

                                                                 Current Day                              Trip to Date

Distance Walked - miles                               11.5                                           209.5

Gross Climb- feet                                          180                                         15,753

Net Climb- feet                                                11                                           1,584

Song of the day:  Highway to Hell by AC/DC

I'm on the highway to hell

No stop signs, speed limit
Nobody's gonna slow me down

Quote of the day:  

Patches O'Houlihan (played by Rip Torn) from movie Dodgeball: "If you can dodge a wrench, you can dodge a ball."

Our room last night was so comfortable and quiet, we ended up sleeping in until almost 7:30, a record for us.  After a lite breakfast at the coffee shop downstairs, we took off on a fairly easy 10 mile walk to Altopacia.  The entire path was along highways today.  About half were relatively quiet 1 lane paved roads, but the other half were along very busy high speed highways.  Once again, we had to walk on the road and constantly dodge cars and huge trucks.  Very stressful at times, it once again, we live to tell about it.  As Patches O'Houlihan might say: "if you can dodge cars and trucks, you can dodge a ball!"

One ongoing business strategy question is concerning new lines of business. For example, Apple made the wise decision to expand from the computer business into the music business with the iPod.  This subsequently led to the iPhone, etc.  I mentioned last night that our hotel today is a "spaghetteria e B&B." I understand that the restaurant came first, with the B&B later.  Today, I saw a sign for another product line extension which I found interesting:

I love the description "Restaurant and lap dance."  What do you think came first- the restaurant or the lap dance?  And don't you find it interesting that the word "lap dance" needs no translation?  Is this a universal term?  Yet another outstanding contribution to world peace by America....!  Also, based on the feedback from a couple of weeks ago, I wonder if this restaurant is owned by the Chinese?  

As we were entering our destination, Altopacia, a village of approximately 15,000, we see our friends Christian (Germany) and Masa (Japan) sitting outside at a bar and we decide to visit with them for a while.  As we were sitting out front,  enjoying refreshing beverages, a guy walks out of the bar and says to me, "Go Giants."  I look at him and he has a San Francisco 49ers t-shirt on and I say "go 49ers!"  I look closer at the guy and he looks familiar, but I don't know why.  Turns out, he is Gian Lucca, and he owns the restaurant La Briciola  in San Francisco and is visiting his family in Altopacia.  Amazingly enough, his restaurant is just a few blocks from our San Francisco house, and we have eaten there and talked to Gian Lucca many times over the years!  It is indeed a small world and these sorts of magical occurrences seem to happen often on these hikes.

Gian Lucca's friend Franco then starts talking to us and telling us how he had lived in San Francisco for several years as well.  Franco was an interesting guy, lots of stories.  He asks us where we are staying and we tell him the Spaghettria e B&B.  He sort of turns his nose up, and asks, how much we are paying?  We tell him, it's a real bargain at only $90.  He tells us we are overpaying and he has a better place for us. He then marches us across town to another restaurant called trattoria Avalon, that also has rooms.  And the rooms here are only $55 per night.  So, that is where we are staying tonight!  The room is actually ok, although located on a busy highway, so a bit noisy.  

This morning as we were leaving Lucca, we passed a convent and saw this nun filling up water bottles in the middle of the square out front:

Here is the Duomo in Lucca.  It's more impressive on the outside than the inside.

Once again, it was supposed to rain on us today.  We could see rain in the mountains all around us, but nothing on us.  Tomorrow, the forecast is again for rain.  We will see if we can avoid it yet another time.  We have a rather long walk tomorrow of 19 miles to San Miniato.  I am looking forward to this place, as it is supposed to be a nice village and we are staying in a top notch hotel.  


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