Tales of a wandering lesbian

See, Sea, Si.

Lucca, as well as being a super-cool city, is a stone’s throw from a ton of other cool places. Florence is an hour bus ride away, and Viareggio, on the Mediterranean Sea, is about 15 mins drive. I spent one glorious day and evening in Florence with Giovanna and Franca, and one lovely morning in Viareggio with Gio.

For my last day in Lucca, Giovanna suggested that we make the run to Viareggio, a coastal city that plays host to a range of VIPs. This cloudy day, however, in the middle of the off-season, it had the feel of Coney Island in the movie “Big.” Many shops were closed, the beach vacant, and even the dark-skinned vendors that usually harass passers-by with their umbrellas and counterfeit goods seemed unconcerned with us, busy themselves contemplating the vast, empty beauty of this place.


We headed first to the beach, having to walk some distance to find an entrance between the pay-to-play beach stands that stretch the length of the waterfront. The swimming-pools stood empty and the umbrella stands littered the beach, giving an eerie feeling to this amazing, contrasting landscape.


Mountains and Beach

We spent a fair amount of time walking across the sand, snapping pictures, considering the waves, examining shells.

When we found our way back to the street that runs the length of the beach, we found it equally empty.  Growing up in a tourist town, I understand the concept of slack.  For locals, it’s a time of quiet.  A time to recharge, and to prepare for the coming onslaught of the next season.  The majestic buildings lining the street stood witness to this reality; quiet, waiting, a great exhale seemed to come from the city.

Viareggio Hotel

We found a favorite record store of Giovanna’s and picked up a few cds then walked along the great jetty that extends from the city out into the water.  Fishing boats lined the jetty, their masts standing tall against the grey backdrop and giving rise to a stark picture.  The Madonna stood in the harbor, high above all, eternally blessing those who venture out, welcoming those who return.

Harbor Madonna

Outside the protection of the jetty stood another shrine.  One evoking great sadness.  A constant reminder of those who do not return from the sea.

Sea Mourners

The quietness of the day, the cold sea and distant cranes building naval vessels put me in mind of my grandfather, who survived a perilous morning at Pearl Harbor, and survives quietly, night after night its memory.

Then it was back to Lucca for another fantastic meal, scarf-shopping and a train ride back to Fornacci.  Back to the present, back to my adventures – a great exhale in my journey through life.

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1 KFlick { 11.12.09 at 9:49 am }

I wrote this yesterday, completely unaware that it was Veteran’s day. I love it when things like that happen.

Thank you Grandpa!

2 Molly { 11.13.09 at 1:56 am }

Kristin, I can’t tell you how much I enjoy reading your daily “letter”. Keep them coming……

3 KFlick { 11.13.09 at 9:42 am }

Thanks Molly!