13 July 2019
We were meeting some of our family who were holidaying in Lucca and we had booked a campsite just outside the town, Agricampeggio La Valle. We had a bit of trouble finding it but eventually found the right track to bump down only to find a parked van blocking our way and a caravan coming in the other direction. Kate telephoned the campsite which was a frustratingly short 400 yards further on and a member of staff came down. We reversed 500 yards to let the caravan get out – apparently reversing a caravan is a no-no – and after the campsite staffer assured us we could get past the van if all the wing mirrors were taken in we took a deep breath and gave it a go. Danny edged forward slowly under Kate’s direction and after a rather nerve-wracking few minutes cleared it by a hairs breadth either side. Even the site guy seemed relieved we had made it without a scratch.
The site was surrounded by trees, beautifully quiet and had a nice little pool. We spent and hour or so by the pool cooling down and watching other motorhomes get turned away from the soon-full site.
A taxi took us the 4-miles into Lucca and the friendly driver gave us a crash course on Lucca – it has lots of drinking-water fountains; their water is extremely pure; the walls are 4km long and can be walked round; house prices are reasonable; and real Lucca residents like living on top of each other and wouldn’t dream of living in the newer properties outside the walls that have totally unecessary things like privacy, gardens and parking. Fascinating.
We went in through one of the gates in the impressive looking wall and were soon in a maze of small car-width streets. He dropped us at exactly the right spot and the family were on the look-out. Neal let us in and we climbed the stairs to their lovely, high-ceilinged, air-conditioned apartment. It was great to see them all – Anne & Martin, Jenny & Tony and, of course, Neal. Prosecco was opened and Anne provided an array of delicious antipasto while we chatted and caught up.
Ristorante da Pasquale had a sign outside the small frontage saying it was fully booked and we were went through to its large courtyard where the tables were buzzing with happy eaters. We shared some lovely starters including some excellent octopus, a chunky caponata and a carpaccio that disappeared in no time at all. The main courses were just as good and the owner was only too happy to help us select bottles of local wine.
We would never have visited Lucca if Anne & Martin hadn’t picked it for their family holiday, and weaving back to their apartment through the atmospheric narrow streets we were glad we had found it and determined to explore it more another time. For now, it was just lovely to see our family.