Tales of a wandering lesbian

The essentials

When I packed for my trip to Italy, I wasn’t sure exactly where I’d end up.  I knew I’d start the trip with my friends Deb and Sandra, but from there, I didn’t know if I’d be in homes, hostels, or five-star hotels.  So, I packed light and deep.  Warm clothes that I could layer and other items that would make life easy.  I agonized over which electronics could share cords, and which jackets to bring (settling on one light jacket and one technical, winter coat).

There are a few things I’ve taken grief over.  Yes, it’s a little strange that I packed toilet paper and tampons, but as I said, I wasn’t sure if I’d be backpacking around.  Plus, I brought a big suitcase to fill with treasures for the return trip, so I had room.

There are other things that really make my friends laugh.  My headlamp, for example, isn’t something everyone would have brought, but it’s dead useful.  It’s good for reading at night, and can save you from being squished when walking at dusk.  However, it also might make your friends act like they don’t know you.

Also, for some reason, only “professional cyclists” – the ones wearing brightly colored team jerseys and riding fancy, fast bikes – only they, wear helmets.  I noticed this last time I was here.  I also noticed how American drivers tend to run cyclists off the road.  Thinking I might like to pick up a nice used Italian bike and ride around a bit, I decided to pack my helmet.

Every day, I assess the weather, select a combination of clothing, jacket, electronics and books that will get me through the day comfortably, and pack up my little messenger bag.  However, when I packed yesterday, it was with the assumption that I would be back at the house before I headed to Lucca that evening.

Bad assumption.

So, I started the day with two layers of icebreaker, my light jacket, sunglasses, my laptop and camera, and an array of books to help me plan my Italian itinerary.  Heavy bag, but lightweight clothing.  Good for bumming around Barga on a glorious day.

After a fantastic, surprise lunch with a new friend, I met up with my ride to Lucca.  Lucca is a really cool walled city.  The walls are hugely thick to withstand cannon fire.  Thick enough to ride bikes on the wide boulevard that sits atop them.  We got to Lucca (which is having a huge, international comic festival) just as the sun was setting.  Fortunately, I had my little wool hat, which I happily pulled on.  The 80 degree day was settling into the high 40s, and my light jacket was not so warm.  It was black, however, as was my hat.  Super.

As it got darker and darker, we stopped to turn on headlights that some of the bikes had.  I reached into my little messenger bag to see if I had my headlamp.  Nope.  But I did have a laptop and about 8 books.  Bonus!  Here I was, wearing black, riding around in the pitch dark cold with no helmet, no light, no warm coat and a bag of books and electronics, through an insane crowd of wandering people who were dressed like comic and video game characters.  Well done.  I probably should have put on my sunglasses and snaked some of the electronics cords through my hair.  I would have fit right in.

When we reached the restaurant after our harrowing ride, we all gathered around the fire to warm ourselves.  It turned out that the adrenaline needed to keep oneself upright through all the twisting, turning, swerving insanity provided exactly the right amount of warmth in the dark city.  Also, books are really quite insulating.

At any rate, the ravioli was some of the best I’ve ever had outside my mom’s kitchen. And I had my camera with me to capture it.  Va bene.

Raviolo con burro i salvia - mmm

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1 Ryo { 11.01.09 at 11:51 am }

Why didn’t you ask me to stop at Deb&Sandra’s on the way down to change your “essentials”? Or, were you far too excited by a child going side way in the back of the car?

Never mind… it was a character-building exercise. Yes.

2 Dad { 11.01.09 at 3:29 pm }

You took me back to Lucca Kid. That wonderful walled city and the fantasstic time we spent together there. Will never forget having you in the front seat as navigator as we searched (and found) a parking place within a stone’s throw from one of the entrances. Our walk through the city, and on the wall….the beauty of the surroundings and of just being with my wonderful daughter in what,to me, seemed to be another world. Can’t wait for the next trip through your eyes…….

P.S. What a beautiful home your new friend Frank has. Next trip to Barga I know where we will be renting!!!! Have already passed on his website to friends coming to Italy next summer.

3 KFlick { 11.01.09 at 10:07 pm }

Ryo, I thought about asking to stop, but that was, seriously about the time the roller-coaster started. You’re right, though, it was a serious character-building experience, although I think I might have enjoyed it a little…

Dad, didn’t we get stuck in a parking lot the first time at Lucca? Not sure, but I think I remember that. The spot we got the day we took the train was the best ever, though, that’s for sure.

4 your sista { 11.02.09 at 4:01 pm }

I still can’t believe you brought your helmet…for the the love…