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Cycling in Lucca and Venice by afternoon

Left our hostel by 8am to drop our luggage at the left luggage at the station and caught the 8.38am train to Lucca. Return tickets were 11.80 euro and it was an hour and 30 minutes each way

Arrived in Lucca at 10.30am and turned right out of the station where we found a bike hire place. Off we went to ride around the top of the perfectly preserved walls surrounding old town Lucca. It was a beautiful 4.5km ride looking down into the old stone buildings of the town on our right and rows of big trees on our left. We rode through groves of chestnut trees that made it lovely and cool and shady to ride in out of the hot sun. This is my favourite way to see a place – bike riding!!

After circumnavigating the wall we rode down into the town. The outskirts feel very local, which I love. We rode past canals and water fountains where an old man had at least 10 bottles he was filling up with water and putting in his bicycle basket. He was animatedly saying something to me in Italian and I had no idea what it was!

We found a quiet little square with a bar /pizzeria with outside seating and had a cold coke. Chained up our bikes to walk into the centre of the old town which is more tourist oriented. Yesterday I had seen an aerial postcard over this perfectly round piazza and we went looking for that. It was called Piazza Antfiteatro and was beautiful the way that the walls both inside and outside the piazza were like a donut, with homes inside these walls and pizzerias for eating and drinking inside the piazza.

We rode out under the triple arches to the outside main road area and followed a track around the walls to the station where we caught the 12.30pm train back to Florence. Our bike hire for 1 ½ hours was only 3 euro each and I picked up a ham sandwich to eat on the train for lunch for 1.20 euros.

Loved Lucca and could have spent more time here riding around the local parts of this beautiful walled town.

We arrived back into Florence at 2pm, picked up our luggage ( cost 4 euros per piece) and jumped on the ES Eurostar train ( the fast one) for 2 hour trip to Venezia as the Italians call it.

On walking out of the station we were at the Grand Canal, which is hugely busy both on water and on land with many many people and many many boats!!! There is supposed to be 20 million people a year that visit Venice!!! This city is built on 117 islands with 150 canals and 400 bridges

We followed the directions emailed to me from the hostel- left out of the station, over the bridge over the Grand Canal, 2nd left, go straight and over another bridge, past a small square called Campo Santo, pass the left side of a church and ask further directions from the ice-cream shop!

We did get there pretty quickly- only about a 15 minute walk. The hostel was not where we had originally booked and even though they called it their sister hostel it is just 2 rooms in someones home and not on the same island near St Marks Square where we had booked.....bit disappointing. We are staying in the district of Santa Croce.

Venice is the most expensive city in Italy and our accommodation cost reflect it!!

We have a triple room with a shared bathroom and it costs us 50 euro a night EACH for a very basic room!!!! Then we had to pay 5 euro each for sheets and 3 euro a night service charge ( about $75 AUD a night each)

Off we went to explore wondering if we would get hopelessly lost in the maze of alleys, some only wide enough for 1 person to walk through at a time. The crowds very quickly thinned out away from the station and canal. Nathan who has the best sense of direction assured us he would not get lost and he was right. I took a few wrong turns and he would quickly correct me!

Mum and Dad came here about 20 years ago and the one day Dad spent in bed unwell Mum wouldn't set foot outside the door because she was so afraid she would get lost and she would have!! Yesterday walking home from the station in Florence we parted ways to do different things and Mum walked around for over an hour lost before finding her way back to the hostel!!!

There are many churches, many bridges and many campos or squares. We ended up buying some pizza and sitting in one to watch the world go by and until 8pm it was full of families and children playing, hopscotch, skipping and riding scooters. The children had laid out sheets covered with toys against the church walls of the campo and it appeared they were selling them to each other...such a lovely community local feel here.

We bought breakfast supplies at a small supermarket and on the way home saw some beautify decorated gondolas taking people for rides through quiet back canals....lovely!!! The gondolier was wearing his striped shirt and hat...so cute.

Back in our room it was such a strange feeling being so close to all our neighbours. Below us is pizzeria and the sound of people's shoes walking along the stone streets, and the sound f laughing and talking carried up to our room as people walked down our alley. I heard people up until 1am. Didn't sleep well as it was hot and there were mossies!!!

Carrying our bikes up on to the city walls

Carrying our bikes up on to the city walls


Riding the walls of Lucca

Riding the walls of Lucca


Shady chestnut trees

Shady chestnut trees


Bike riding

Bike riding


Mum and Nath

Mum and Nath


Canal in Lucca- riding into the town

Canal in Lucca- riding into the town


Water Fountain

Water Fountain


Man fillng up his water bottles

Man fillng up his water bottles


Walking into the town centre

Walking into the town centre


Beautiful flower boxes

Beautiful flower boxes


Drink break after getting hot and sweaty

Drink break after getting hot and sweaty


Bar/pizzeria

Bar/pizzeria


City gates

City gates


Round Piazza

Round Piazza


Round Piazza

Round Piazza


Piazza

Piazza


Curved outside walls

Curved outside walls


Curved walls

Curved walls


So Italian - olives & chianti

So Italian - olives & chianti


Water founatain

Water founatain


Triple arches vehicle access

Triple arches vehicle access


Returning our bikes

Returning our bikes


The ES fast train

The ES fast train


View from window in Venice looking into one of the

View from window in Venice looking into one of the


Looking out our window

Looking out our window


Canal

Canal


Bridge & canal

Bridge & canal


Children selling their toys

Children selling their toys


Venice

Venice


Venice

Venice


Powerboat

Powerboat


Local Campo

Local Campo


Gondola

Gondola


Grand Canal

Grand Canal


Gondolas

Gondolas


Where we had dinner in the campo

Where we had dinner in the campo


City walls

City walls

Posted by hillbillyramsey 17:00 Archived in Italy

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