Leaving Cinque Terre behind, I was en route to Florence. I had two stops planned: a cliché visit to Pisa and an afternoon run in Lucca. I got to Pisa and checked my luggage at the train station. I walked to the Leaning Tower and took my tourist photos. It was really impressive. Even though I’d obviously seen lots of photos of the Tower, I couldn’t get over just how far it was leaning. I was happy to have made the stop in Pisa, even if it was quick.
I next took the train to Lucca. Surrounded by high Renaissance walls, it contains a wealth of history and meandering streets where one can stumble upon old churches and architectural finds. The 12 meter high wall is quite imposing upon approaching it.
Built in the 16th and 17th centuries, it has a nice path on top of it where people, walk, run, cycle, and enjoy each other’s company. I entered into the walled city, and right there in front of me was Cattedrale di San Martino, a church dating back to the 11th century. I was on a strict time limit in Lucca and wanted to make my way straight to Citta di Lucca, an information center where I could check my day bag while I went running.
But I couldn’t help but stop for some quick pics, especially when I saw a tree-lined park with a little merry-go-round in the southeast corner of it. Alas, I checked my stuff and headed up to the wall for my first run since being in Italy. It was a fabulous way to kick off my running on my trip. The 4km path allowed me to take in the entire city from above. It was a relaxing run, seeing families out for an afternoon stroll and an old man pedaling slowly around the city. I went around the city twice but had to rush back to get my stuff from the information center. I walked around and saw the major sights in about an hour. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to eat while in Lucca, but I’ve heard they also have nice restaurants. Lucca is definitely a Tuscan town that I would recommend staying the night in if time permits.
I caught the train back to Pisa, picked up my luggage, and was Florence bound! My hostel was supposed to be right near the train station. I got in around 7pm, and it was dark. For some reason, I couldn’t figure out which way the train station was facing on my map. I was very turned around, and what should have been just a 5 minute walk took me like 45 minutes! I finally made it to Leonardo House and was welcomed by a kind gentleman, Leonardo himself. It was a pretty tiring day, but I finally managed to leave at 10pm to find some dinner. Whoa, late night for me ;) And what did I find open at 10 o’clock at night? Ah yes, a pizzeria.