I check my phone. It is a God thing no doubt, because Raluca has called - she is at our apartment door.....so we turn the contraption around and run back to meet her. This is the first time she and I have seen each other in two years, since we met at the Eurhotel in Firenze. That is another story for another day:) She and I were instant friends. A very brave girl, to come meet strangers in Lucca for the day. SHE IS a darling. Our Raluca. We all decided we want to take her home with us.
While we spent the next 40 minutes bicycling, Raluca went to find just the perfect photo op....And Kim was at the wheel of this bicycle thing, complete with a BELL (she rang it at every SINGLE PERSON that we passed) Kimy Ringy Dingy. We pumped our glutes into shape and it was up hill both ways, as everything in Italy IS.
So, then. Off to lunch. You gotta think like this in Italia. Because if you wait too long, the Italians close everything down and go take a nap somewhere. And we aren't into naps on this day. We want FOOD - Italian FOOD and Italian WINE and Italian BEER.
So about two hours later, we walk. Searching for a garden that Linda saw when we were bicycling on the wall. Always, a quest is SO much fun. We went the same circle around and around, each time seeing something different, wonderful having Raluca ask for directions when we got sort of lost. And finale, we find the palace and the garden and we walk into another sort of paradise.
Later, we return to the apartment to freshen up a little. Drink a toast of Prosecco to our friendship and to the day, and await a call from Kims friend Anna, who has invited us to dinner in her home with her fiance Fiorenzo. He is a photographer, like Raluca, and I am so happy for them to meet, for Anna to meet our Raluca, for Raluca to meet our Anna, to celebrate their coming wedding, to have a REAL italian dining experience in a REAL italian kitchen.
And OH my, we weren't disappointed. I knew it would be good, but I had no idea it would be CRAVEABLE. What Fiorenzo called a lasagna, like no lasagna I've ever tasted. I mean, NOTHING like I've ever tasted.....And he told us how he made it.....I don't know if we can even come close to matching it. Amazing, thin as paper pasta sheets, light, beautiful cheese, lightest meat sauce, italian cheese, the real thing. Then a nice rare beef roast, sliced so thin and lovely, with oven roasted potatoes, then a beautiful clean and fresh, crisp green salad. Grappa. Finito. Fiorenzo says the only thing that would have made it better was if he could speak english, he would have made us laugh. Because, in his own words - he is very funny:)
Say it with a SMILE and a handmade TILE! www.ShadybRanch.net www.tilesmile.etsy.com www.tilesmile.artfire.com