Had breakfast at the hotel in Loro, Dimora Casa Eugenia. Small but nice breakfast. Custom fried eggs (3 Euro). Checked out (100 Euro) and John and Caroline met us w/Murphy. We loaded up the bags and set off for Arezzo. On the way Caroline gave a running commentary and back stories. We drop by the Feregamo proprety where they lived for a couple years before buying their house. Got into Arezzo and parked near the train station. Stopped for a pastry and coffee off on the way towards the town square.
Walked through the town and into the town center. Caroline pointed out the area that has the monthly antique show. (Next week, Whew! Dodged that bullet) Went to a friend of theirs cafe and had a bit of lunch. Nan had a soup and I had a wonderful lasagna. We had a cheese board with a pecorino w/wine in it, a pecorino with a chestnut honey drizzled on top. Walked back and they drove us up the street to the station. Hugs and good byes all around. We boarded the Regionale Veloce to Firenze. 50 minutes later we were in Firenze SM Novella. Walked over the the Fressciaross high speed train and boarded for the trip to Naples. Nicely appointed train. Comfy seats. Luggage wasn’t too much trouble. Busy. Business Class car was about ½ full. We both napped between Firenze and Roma, where the train stopped. Then on to Napoli. Driver from Amalfi Private Car Service met us at the station. Got the luggage to the car (Mercedes sedan) and started the drive. Took 25 minutes to go from the parking exit, around the square, back to the parking exit to connect to the highway. Lots of traffic (crazy) out of town. Then the freeway ride past Pompei, into Sorrento the traffic got bad and finally the crazy drive down the hill in to Positano. Stopped in the main square at the parking place. Hotel sent a porter to help with the bags. Down the hill to the hotel. Beautiful. Welcome almond milk drink. Taken to the lovely room and showed around by desk clerk. Went down and had dinner in the restaurant. Nan had grilled veggies and I started with scallops and asparagus. Finished with manicotti style pasta with a provolone cheese sause and sliced black truffles. Had a crème brule with berrys for desert. Remembered to set the clocks ahead 1 hour as Europe does it tonight. That means we’ve done it twice this spring. Once in the US and once here.
Took a cab mid day to the Firenze train station and jumped the regional to Montevarchi. My pal John Jopson met us at the station and took us over to the hotel, Dimora Casa Eugenia. http://www.dimoracasaeugenia.com/resort.asp. Dropped that bags and took a little walk around town for orientation. Then out to and Caroline’s house for the tour and a nice lunch and chat. Took them a bottle of wine from Florence for lunch. John dropped us back in Loro and we did a bit of a walk and photo shoot around down and the Loro river. Back to the hotel to dress for dinner. John and Caroline came by around 7:15p and we went for an aparetif at the bar/café owned by the hotel owner. Chatted about life, love, Julio, etc. Went to dinner next door to the hotel. Fabulous crepe with mozzarella inside and mushroom sauce outside. Then a beef stew. Pana cotta for desert w/expresso. Back to the hotel about 10:45p. They will meet us tomorrow at 10a for the trip to Arezzo and to catch our train to Positano.
Got up this morning in the suite at the “residence” part of Hotel Ilaria and made instant coffee in the room. Then walked over to the hotel and on the 1st floor (which is what we call 2nd floor in the US) and had a lovely breakfast on a glassed in patio up at the front of the property. Very light and airy. Good food and attentive service. Went for a bit of a walk but it started raining so we bailed back to the room and packed for our 12:30 train to Florence. Had the desk call us a cab and got to the train station in about 4 minutes. Simple walk down the ramp and then up the elevator to the platform for the regional train to Firenze. 1:20 trip with a number of stops. Larger cities on the way. Lots of kids getting on and off. Train was pretty full by the stop before Firenze. Had to move our bags to allow someone to sit. As it was the termination of the train, we waited until everyone got off and then got our luggage down on the platform. No steps at Firenze Santa Maria Novella station. Got out front and cabbed it to Il Guelfo hotel which is on Vie Dei Martelli. That is the main street that runs in front of the the Duomo. Lots of traffic and people. The apartment is huge with 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, kitchen, living room with dining table for 8. Washer in one bathroom, which is why we rented it. Did some laundry and then took a walk up the street. Went into Eataly and looked at the Duomo. Came back and got into some more laundry stuff. Front desk recommended a restaurant nearby for dinner. Ristorante Le Fonticine. About 7 minute walk, 500 meters. Has >400 reviews on Tripadvisor so we had him reserve a 7pm table for 2. Walked about ½ km to the restaurant. Beautiful location. Had a wonderful dinner. Soups for both, Rigatoni Bolegnese for me and Salad Medici for Nan. She also ordered a pasta pomodoro and we finished with a chocolate pie with shaved dark chocolate on top. Walked back and just got in when the rain started pretty hard.
Great breakfast again at Hotel Margherita. Nan went off for shopping but nothing was open. Checked out and got a cab around 10:30 to catch the 11:05 train to Viareggio to connect to Lucca. Got there just in time but had to hustle the 2 suitcases, 2 carry-ons and our purse/backpacks down the stairs and over to the other track. Got up the stairs just in time to step on the Lucca train just before it left. Nan was barely able to carry the carry ons. Hard for her to manage. Stood at the door with the luggage til we got to Lucca. Cab to the Hotel Iloria, inside the walled part of the city of Lucca. Very nice. Stylish courtyard leading into a well appointed lobby. Checked us in and informed us that there were free bicycles available and that there was a .6km ride along the city walls. Turns out the “suite” was in the residence building across the street and down the block. Porter took the bags and led us to a wonderful room with 2 baths, bedroom loft. Comfortable layout, free snacks and sodas in the min-bar. Jacuzzi tub in the downstairs bath. We dropped the bags and went out and got a couple bikes and did a circuit around the city walls. Started around again and decided to go in to the botanical gardens. Bailed when it started rainging. Went to a walk after it stopped about halfway into the city center. At the hotels suggestion, made a dinner reservation at Buca di Santa Maria for 7;30p. Dinner was fabulous. Quaint restaurant with candles on every table and around the place. Very attentive service. Our waiter spoke very good English with a UK accent. He is married to an English girl. Started with Asparagus soup (Nan) and artichoke pie for me. Then split a square spaghetti pasta with tomatoes, Olive Oil and Basil. Finished with Cod Stew (for her) and Wild Boar for me. Both with polenta. Desert was a pear torte with warm chocolate. Then a lovely walk back to the hotel.
Had a lovely breakfast downstairs. Saw Jeff and Caroline again. They are leaving today for Venice to continue their 7 week Europe travels, by car. We bought some stuff at a local shop and tried to take it to post office. Didn’t have any packing material so we decided to hold it til Florence and DHL it. Took the train to Riamaggiore. Very sedate. Walked up the hill but not much there. Then down to marina and took a bunch of photos. Were looking for a snack and everything was closed. Walked back up the hill and went into a little shop with olive oil, cream de artichoke, and sun dried tomatoes. Had them ship that all to the house via DHL for arrival after 4/4. Trained over to Manarola to try to get that classics shot of the city at magic hour. Too early in the day. Had dinner to kill time and found out the trains back were only every 1 hour. 6:30 or 7:30. Lights don’t come on til 7p’ish and we’d need 15 minutes to get back to the train. Blew it off and caught the 6:30p train. Had desert and espresso in Monterosso when we got back.