Wednesday Night in Lucca and My Hair Looks Fabulous!

Tell me something… why is it when I look like a wet dishrag and dare to run out for much-needed eggs and milk – I run into exactly who I don’t want to see me looking a mess. BUT, when I just got a spectacular haircut the world really should know about, I don’t have a thing to do and all those folks who caught me in the market in my slippers at midnight are nowhere to be found.

ImageWell, it is just the same in Italy. I went out this evening and got a haircut and it looks so good! Actually, I went out at noontime to get a haircut (I’m way overdue since leaving home in September) and I found a salon nearby. I was standing across the street trying to decipher the prices in the window when a man opened the door to usher out a client. She had glowing new red curls, sparkling in the sunlight and a delighted smile on her face. They air-kissed on both cheeks and she strode away.

The man looked over at me, did that once-over appraisal look up and down, and shut the door. Hmmm. They do have very glamorous photos plastered all over the windows. And pretty pricey looking products. Maybe this isn’t the shop for me. I walked on.

But later in the day I took a look in the mirror and no doubt about it – this hair needs cut. So I put on my coat and walked a different direction where I thought I had seen a salon. Sure enough, there it was and it wasn’t busy. I walked in the door and greeted the man, “inglese?” I asked. “no,” he replied.

I made cutting motions with my fingers… “haircut?” I inquired. “Si,” he said and jumped up to take my coat.

His assistant, a girl dressed all in black (as he was) motioned me to the shampoo chair. She proceeded to wash my hair with very warm water and it was heavenly. Ahhh… a scalp massage. And a rinse. And conditioner. And another rinse. Bliss!

The man then took over. He wore a pack around his waist with scissors and razors, etc in it. We made motions back and forth to explain the haircut, but he was good – I wouldn’t have had to say a thing. And it was fun to watch his concentration in the mirror as he tweaked and perfected each part of the process. The assistant was at the ready to sweep up clippings or hand him extra brushes as needed. Quite surgical!

So I was really tickled with the end result. You never know what will happen when someone cuts your hair and they don’t even speak your language! But this turned out great. Too bad I don’t have anywhere to go after my italian coiffure!

Meanwhile, I HAVE been back in Lucca for a couple days now and I haven’t filled in the gap since Rome. Well, here’s what happened…

I left Sweet Stay in Rome – which was a bittersweet parting because Piotr and Paola were so delightful (and the city so grand, of course!) and there were big hugs all around. I headed for the train station in a taxi. After all the walking and getting turned around, it was a luxury to be taken right where I needed to go.

ImageIt was easy to locate my first train – one of the fast trains that go between the big cities. And I already had a reserved seat – car 6, seat 10A. I found my way but the train was packed. And I couldn’t begin to lift my suitcase overhead. So I tried to squeeze it into the seat with me, but it wouldn’t go. I was mortified. And next to me was a very small Asian girl who motioned me into my seat and wedged my suitcase between us. But it really wasn’t between us – it was mostly on her side. I wasn’t sure what to do because this was not a short trip – more like an hour and a half!

The girl was fine with it and I couldn’t believe it. She kept saying “don’t worry” but I would hold on to that case whenever the train went around curves so it wouldn’t push against her. And both she and her mother smiled at me all the way to Florence. I felt like such a clod.

But I was relieved to make it through the first leg of the train trip. I am not yet comfortable on the trains, especially with luggage. But the worst was yet to come…

I had a good 20 minutes between trains, so I got to the track where the train to Lucca was to depart. I knew the number and looked on the screen for news. It was supposed to be track 7, but this was the one train on the screen without a platform number listed. Great.

The crowd grew. We were all watching for the track listing. Soon, the NEXT 6 trains had track numbers, but not 3072. Finally, it popped up to have a 15 minute delay. OK..

Another 20 minutes went by and no news. Other trains are leaving. Then it pops up 30 minute delay. Crazy because there is another train to Lucca before that! Now what to do? I wait.

Suddenly, the word “cancelled” appears beside 3072 and the next train to Lucca is ready to leave. I scurry down the platform (with a hundred others) and show a man in uniform my ticket. “Get on this train fast!” he says. Well me and the word “fast” don’t exactly work well together, but I lunged into the nearest door where people were already standing several deep in the entry. Desperate, I rolled my bag into the car and towards the only empty seat.

I got the last seat and one of the Asian boys nearby lifted my case overhead. I collapsed in relief. Honestly, does this really happen to other people who never ride the train in Italy? Geez…

The next few stops were even more crowded – standing room only in the aisles. People were in and out and up and down all over the place. Like musical chairs. But the farther we went, the more it cleared out. By the time we got to Lucca – I was an hour late – there were 3 people left in the car. And the train stopped a long way down the tracks from the station, but once I got to the station entrance I knew where I was. From there it was a walk back to the apartment I call home. Thank goodness!

I don’t hate the trains – they’re just hard for me. And I’m surprised we don’t have them in the U.S. They’re a great way to get around – if you’re used to them and you aren’t carrying anything!

So anyway, walking back through Lucca was a bit of a revelation. The comic fair must have been the end of the tourist season. Many of the familiar cafes have been dismantled now. The restaurants are still open but you have to go inside.

ImageImageAnd more street work has started. It is interesting because these old cobblestones are historic and they probably only fit one way. So they have to be marked before being lifted so they can be replaced just like they were. It’s so nice that they take the time to do it. It has to be a pain!

So the city is relatively quiet but the locals are out as always. And I still like to go out and walk a couple times per day. Usually at noontime and again in the evening.

ImageEarlier today I was going past Pizzaria da Felice, a busy local eatery, and I remembered they had this desert-looking thing in there. I stopped in and pointed at one. “Cioccolate?” I asked. “No,” said the girl, “chestnut.” Well, I had seen a number of people order it, so I said ok. She popped it in the wood-burning oven and I slid down the counter to pay. Pretty soon I had a hot chestnut pancake folded over a dab of ricotta cheese. I took it outside to eat since this place is always standing room only.

ImageI can’t say I have the taste for chestnut yet – although I’ve tried. MB and I got a roasted chestnut from a street vendor and didn’t like it well enough to buy any. But I did think it was something you would learn to like if you tried it a few times. So in Rome, I tried to get another taste. The vendor said no and held up a card saying you pay 5 euros minimum. So I walked away.

But they smell so good that I tried again in Lucca. This time I held up a 50 cent coin and asked for 1 chestnut. The vendor gave me about 5. They were warm and mealy but only slightly sweet. More like a potato than a nut. Almost like they need salt or butter or sugar to bring out the taste. But then that would be too American.

So I munched on the chestnut cake (castagnaccio) and it was OK – but I think you have to really acquire the taste for it. And if you lived here where the chestnut orchards abound, and every year your mama and your nonna would bake chestnut cakes – well then you would probably love it when chestnut season rolls around!

Now me and my beautiful new haircut are going to bed. Too bad you didn’t get to see how good it looked for a few hours! Doncha just love a good hair day!!

6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Paula!
    Nov 07, 2012 @ 18:44:19

    Wowee! Quite the surgical coiffure if I do say so myself!!! Where’s that Italian Elder? Train ride sounds a little unsettling if you ask me. You are one brave coiffed gal!

    Reply

    • Paula!
      Nov 07, 2012 @ 18:48:20

      Oh and you are not a slob or an obnoxious traveler. If so that cute little girl would not have been quite so gracious. Besides, as they say, you’ll never see those folks again! Enjoy!

      Reply

  2. Ellyn
    Nov 08, 2012 @ 22:40:15

    I think your hair looks very pretty!

    I was fascinated by the numbering system they use for the street pavers. It never occurred to me that they would take ’em up, do some work, and lay ’em back down. I guess I thought those old streets stayed intact from the time they were made, having never been worked on. It’s one of those things I never knew that I didn’t even know!

    Reply

    • thesketchylife
      Nov 09, 2012 @ 03:26:51

      I think it is pretty amazing about the streets. I’ve seen all kinds of markings on the pavers. And when they are finished you can’t even tell they were moved!

      Reply

    • Paula!
      Nov 09, 2012 @ 13:36:26

      Leave it to Ellyn to make me realize that I forgot to comment on the street pavers! You are ever the thirsty for knowledge girl and I love it! I was so tickeled by your comments Starr on your hair I forgot how interesting that was. Yeah, something I too didn’t even know I didn’t know. I’m gonna try to be more culturally observant! Always learning from the young healthy minds!

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Old Design Shop Blog

Free Vintage Images

thomas campi

making every day a work of art

Arty Velarde

making every day a work of art

Urban Sketchers

making every day a work of art

Laurelines

making every day a work of art

Danny Gregory

Inspiration for creative folks like you.

Cathy Johnson--Art, Life, and other Oddities

making every day a work of art

Roz Wound Up

making every day a work of art

My Site

Just another WordPress.com site

%d bloggers like this: