We were up and at ‘em this morning. It was a wonderful two days in the La Spezia and the Cinque Terre region but it was time to hit the road.
We were in a little town called Lucca before noon. Construction dating back to the 300BC and founded by the Romans in 180BC. Exploring the small alleys and large squares is fun in any city but when the entire thing is enclosed by a huge wall and mote it makes it even more fun!
We then jumped 30 minutes over to Pisa to – of course – check out the leaning tower. And boy, I will say that thing is leaning for real! It was shocking the angle at which it is just chilling.
Then a sad day in the road trip, we said goodbye to little Lesley as she flew out today. So it’s just the four of us now.
The next step of the trip was finding our next place of residence. This requires a bit of background info.
So I teach English online and one of my students lives near Florence. He’s a gentleman in his 60s who I’ve been talking to on Skype for over a year. He’s a teacher and his wife is a costume designer for the Opera in Florence. He and I have gotten to know each other via Skype and when he heard I was taking a road trip in Italy he insisted we stay at his house. And of course, I wasn’t going to say no. After all, I’m in it for a true Italian experience.
As we drop Lesley at the airport in Pisa we punched the address into the gps. The gps couldn’t find the exact address but I found the closest thing and figured it was a mistake but we would get close enough.
In about an hour and a half we found ourselves on the outskirts of Florence winding through the hills of Tuscany. The streets went from small to very narrow as we started the climb. He had explained to me that he lived in the wine hills. So we had expected it to be out of town for sure. It was those kind of two-way roads that are only big enough for one car so whenever you come to a bend in the road you honk just to be sure. But when the road went from very narrow to omg pull in the mirrors because we literally can’t fit – we were in a state of unbelief. The gps announced “you have arrived” just as the road literally stopped and dropped off down a cliff like “road”! We came to an abrupt stop as I volunteered to get out and walk in search of the address he had given me. Because continuing in the car was literally impossible. It was beginning to make sense why the gps couldn’t find his address.
After about 10 minutes of walking around and lots of laughing because of the ridiculous road situation; I found a house with an address that matched and knocked. We found it!
Leo greeted us with hugs, kisses and an Italian accent that is enough to make you melt! The four of us couldn’t wrap our minds around the whole situation. The beauty of his life hit us with full force. We took a walk through the vineyards as the sun sank to silhouette the hills and valleys of Tuscany. We returned to see Leo working away on a three course truly Italian meal and a bottle of white wine from the vines we had just walked through. We spent all evening sharing a meal and great conversation with one of the coolest couples I’ve ever met.
Day 3 has me so thankful for the opportunity God gave us to meet these wonderful humans and to experience two nights in their life.