Today is Friday. We woke up at 7:22, and had a luxury to gather our things slowly. No rush. No hurry. Our next stop is Villa Puccini that is 67 km away. We are now turning back South. Yesterday we reached our North-most point in the trip – Levanto.
Today is a beginning of a new billing cycle on my Verizon account. At 08:37 (2:37AM in America) I am resetting my data counter on iPhone. Each 100 MB cost $25, and for the first 12 days of vacation I used up 90.6MB. Perfect. Now for the next 10 days in Italy I could use another 100MB. Why they make such a complicated rules? Answer: to make money hand over fist.
|Tasty cactus can be picked up as a hand fruit. It has an interesting texture||May be one day we visit Brussels as well|
Meanwhile (10:05) Lira is trying an exotic fruit – a cactus – that she picked yesterday on the trail.
As we raise up pretty early today,we are now able to depart 15 minutes earlier than usual – at 10:43. Odometer is showing 9,954. At this point we drove 602 kilometers. Our rental allowance is 1,900 km.
|This is our 67km from La Spezia to Torre del Lago||This is a auto toll receipt. Note that year (ANNO) is just one digit (2), and day (GORNO) marked as a Julian number 237 (August 24)|
On the way to our next destination – Torre del Lago Puccini – the road comes so close to the Lugurian sea, that you almost can imagine the water surface behind the vegetation. We also passed signs to a lake, a park and a tiny town of Massaciuccoli [massachoculli]. This sounds interesting to us, because we live in a state with Indian name – Massachusetts.
We arrived in Torre del Lago Puccini (Viale Giacomo Puccini, 266) around 11:40, and we even paid €2 parking that was absolutely unnecessary. There is plenty of free parking everywhere.
|Puccini lived on lake Massaciuccoli||People (il popolo) of Torre del Lago installed this tablet on December 28 1924|
We did not go inside the Villa Puccini. However, we explored the area around the villa and the Puccini’s statue. Now, looking at the location of the villa from satellite I am surprised to see that it is located right on the shores of Lago di Massaciuccoli. I did not know this the time.
|I thought this is a reptile, but it is just a butterfly||Sculpture park behind the ticket office for the Puccini|
We found some large theater behind the Puccini ticket booth, and made fun pictures with a huge bottle sculpture, as if we were holding it in our hands. We ate at a Versilia Doner Kebab (Viale Guglielmo Marconi, 228 – €9 – 13:36) in Torre del Lago Puccini, and drove remaining 15 km to Pisa.
|This day was full of deceptions||Things looked different under a closer examination|
Just before the free parking square in Pisa, we replenished our food stores (14:36) in a grandiose supermarket E.leclerc (Via Pietrasantina 31 – Madonna Dell’Acqua). We bought our usual: large watermelon wedge, case of sparkling water, fruits and soy yogurt ((€10.47).
At the Pisa parking on Via Pietrasantina lot we found a perfect spot with tables and chairs in a shadow. Without a hurry, we cut and eat our watermelon in a perfect contemplation. Toilets on the square are €0.50, but it is free 30 meters away in a convenience shop.
|The most enchanting view opens up right from the city gates||Tower needs all the support it could get|
Few minutes away (800 meters) is a Pisa most famous square. You need to continue walking towards bus parking area, and cross the parking all the way to reach another set of vendor stalls. From that point you will start seeing signs directing you to Piazza dei Miracoli.
We already had an umbrella with us, but we noticed that middle-eastern (free floating) vendors are selling pretty and colorful folding umbrellas with each section representing Pisa, Firenze and Rome trice on the cupola. The requested price was €5.
The main square in Pisa is very unusual. It is all grass, and 3 buildings in the middle – the Tower, the Duomo and the Baptistery. Tower incline is visible from 2 sides and is completely straight, if one looks from the city streets. From one other side the tower is too close to the city wall to be viewed. If you stand close to the tower foundation, the signs of incline are clearly visible too. Tower sunk only one stone down on one side and over 5 stones deep on the other side.
|The real problem best observed from a close distance||This is our route from Torre del Lago to Pisa|
We returned to the car around 17:30. Next we jumped on a highway and started driving some 50 km further south to a highly ranked agriturismo in Cecina area from my list. We exited the highway (18:27), and begin our search. It was a hard to find the place. The road was several km long and numbers were in no particular order (as they usually are). And we finally gound them, they only had room for €150 with breakfast or €200 with both B/F and dinner. It was getting late at this point – around 19:00.
I entered a word “Hotel” in iPhone maps application and it showed me several options. We started driving, but took an adventurous turn toward a lodging sign on the road. After several miles of dusty dirt road, a truck caught up with us, and it turns out to be the owner. He called his wife, and they did have a room for us for €60 cash. Later we found out that we are in Agriturismo“La Quiete” and /or Ristorante Pizzeria L’agora’ Di Francalacci Irene – Localita’ Ortacavoli 5, 56046 – Riparbella (PI). That is the beauty of traveling with all options open. That is the freedom!
|We found a peace on Earth after a turbulent travel day||To find the best spots, all you need to do is to look|
It appeared they had some kind of teenage party in progress with only girls present. They were celebrating 18-th birthday. The only boy in the entire party was a DJ, so there were no competitions on the floor. We even had enough time to swim in the pool with the setting sun, and afterwards we had an excellent diner for €26.30 (22:41). In the dark, the girls had their collective almost ritual dances, when all songs have certain pre-defined moves. The party was loaded with fun, and Lira almost jumped into to the circle to dance.
|Traveling in Summer is convenient because daylight is very long, and it is always warm||We were rewarded by a cozy room and fantastic homemade meal|
This is a perfect and well hidden destination from all points of view. And there is practically nothing about this place on Internet (agriturismolaquiete.com).
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