Monday, April 12, 2010

You need more than 12 Italian words

Bagni di Lucca

We stayed in a little village called Bagni di Lucca. It is near a bigger town near Lucca - which is now famous for us because it has an almost unfathomable roundabout that variously sent us off to many places to which we did not really intend to go.

Our car navigation system suffered from apoplectic seizures whenever we got to the roundabout and we had to put a damp towel over its head and make our own arrangements.

These were never satisfactory and we toured around the walls of Lucca much more often than we had intended. The problem turned out to be numerous road changes and when we followed the car navigation instructions to the bitter end one day we found ourselves at toll gates – but with a fence between us and them. On another occasion our road came to a dead end and we were greeted by a new but unopened piece of road – with no way onto it – so retraced out steps for 20 kilometers.

I imagine that it takes a long while for these types of things to filter through the system in Italy to get to the map people. It may be done by the same people who do the highway restaurants.

Our total combined Italian vocabulary extended to about 12 words and this proved not to be enough as we went to many places where English she is not spoke there. John is excellent at charades and had some long conversations with people who kept edging away from him. He is the type of person who can make people nervous as he assaults them with a variety of English and French – and his two Italian words - while waving his arms animatedly.

He had a wonderful conversation with a man in a vineyard near our unopened road – as we needed to find another way to the motorway. The man spoke for 15 minutes in Italian and John said ‘Prego’ and ‘Si’ about 40 times. When he came back to the car was asked him what the man had said and he said ‘no idea’.

But Tuscany was everything I had expected. There were very few tourists – except at Pisa – and the weather was glorious. At Pisa we took pictures of each other pretending to prop the tower up. I don’t think this has been done before so I am going to submit my photos to National Geographic.


  1. As you were in Lucca I hope you saw some Puccini!

  2. Did you do any olive oil tasting? I've always wanted to do that. Followed by a bottle of really good chianti, of course.

  3. We skipped the Olive Oil and went straight to the Chianti - which is outstanding.

  4. Ah, charades. Where we foreigners be without them? I mean, aside from not having sore arms.