This morning we went back to the tower, reasoning that at 8:50am, there wouldn't be many people there. We were almost right: there were some people in the Piazza dei miracoli, but much fewer than the previous time that we were there. This enabled us to take several pictures of me doing Tai Chi and holding the tower up, as well as several of my wife. As can be seen from the photograph, it was very cloudy at that hour.
Afterwards, we left via streets which we had not previously visited, but took a wrong exit at Piazza del Cavalieri: although we eventually got back to 'the main road' aka Via Carducci, it took longer than expected. Once back in the hotel, we had a quick cup of tea (thank you to the manager who let us make the tea in the breakfast room although breakfast had officially finished) which we drank on the terrace. After partaking of tea, my wife wanted to be photographed with the tower in the background.
The manager asked where we were going today; when we told him that we were going to Lucca, he said that we could travel by bus, as there was a stop nearby. Whilst the bus might take longer to get to Lucca, we didn't have to walk down to the train station. Italy has the quaint tradition of selling bus tickets in tobacconists; it took me three attempts to find the one who sells the tickets; only €3 per person each way.
Eventually the bus came, but it must have taken a very circular route as it took nearly an hour to get to Lucca. By this time, the early morning clouds had disappeared and it was getting fairly hot. We walked down the narrow streets, then chose a cafe at random for morning tea. Moving on, we passed Piazza Pucchini with a statue of the composer (which for some reason does not appear on my map) before arriving at the Piazza S. Michele. After filming from several avenues, we chose a corner cafe for today's portion of spaghetti al pomodoro, today accompanied by a banana milkshake. After lunch, we walked back via a different route, buying a set of salt and pepper pots at a price somewhat less than what we could have paid in Amalfi a few years ago. Thence to the bus stop for the return journey.
I 'rested my eyes' during the trip back; obviously the driver must have taken a shorter route back as suddenly I noticed that we were approaching the stop from which we had boarded the bus in the morning. Once back in the hotel, we had a short rest before setting off for the botanical gardens. Getting there was very easy - we walked down to the end of the road in which the hotel is situated, turned right ... and then we were in Piazza del Cavalieri again!
Whilst the gardens might not be everybody's cup of tea, it spoke volumes to my wife. At least the weather was better than it was when we visited the botanical gardens in Palermo a few years ago. The gardens included a section housing medicinal plants as well as a greenhouse housing many varieties of cactus. It was surprising how many of those plants and cacti grow on our kibbutz. To round it off, we saw a very medicinal plant (see the picture to the left).
After leaving the gardens, we had a light meal in a street side restaurant (I had minestrone which was excellent, and bruschetta which wasn't), we stopped at a gelateria where I finally had some mint ice cream (heaven!), then walked back once more via the piazza - which had been set up for a free concert this evening.
Back in the hotel, I finally filmed the exterior (a very tatty street) and the interior - very well designed and furnished, with some of the walls showing original brickwork. Tomorrow we pack and head north for Torino, where we are staying in a self-catering flat. I very much doubt that there will be a blog tomorrow, as we will be spending four hours on a train, then getting organised in our new base.