Lucca-Conad Cuisine

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In Florence we had a “refrigerator” which consisted of our window-ledge that we used to store yogurt and cheese on since it was just cold enough outside. It was small and required some delicate stacking. When we arrived in Lucca we were happy to have a hotel with a full kitchen and a real refrigerator. After dropping off our bags we made our way to the local Conad supermarket. Luckily we discovered early on the meaning of the magical red sale stickers reading: “promozione”. Sean got straight to work picking up “promozione” labeled fresh pasta, sausage, asparagus, zucchini, onions and tomato sauce and I took care of the cheese selection. We picked up some excellent two euro wine and a fresh baguette as well. That night we had the best meal yet in Italy. It doubled as lunch the next day and cost us a fifth or less what it would have in a cheap trattoria. The key is traveling with a chef. Especially one who likes to save money and pick out cheap ingredients and make them taste amazing. Bravo Sean. Bravo Conad “Promozione”. The next night we had white fish with gnocchi and zucchini in a red sauce, also amazing, also “Promozione”!

Lucca was a very special part of our trip, we did not visit a single monument, basilica or garden. Instead, we cooked delicious food and I tried to find a skirt in the extremely expensive boutiques. We also spent time walking around the walls of the city and one morning running on them. Which was beautiful. You could see the Apuane Alps (at least I assume that’s what I was looking at) among other hills and valleys. People were actually running here too. In Palermo, Sicily we identified a sort of walk-jog people were doing that was like the saunter of jogging. Like they were too cool to break a sweat, but they wanted to show off their track suits. Here people were RUNNING. Like they were earning their fontina e panne.
During the last two nights we stayed, out of three, there were all girls in the hotel with us. Which would have been fine if we had ensuite bathrooms, but they were shared. There were only three and there were two rooms with three girls. Somehow, anytime Sean or I needed to use the bathroom between eight pm and nine am they were all occupied. Amazing. At some point I stood outside tapping my foot anxiously until one opened and a girl stepped out sheepishly to let me in. But even at one am, they were occupied. We were a little mystified and annoyed.

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(Sean)
This medieval town was really cool, the wall surrounding it was a really nice loop about 2.5 miles around that you could circumnavigate. I saw posters for a Pink Floyd show using Lucca’s wall as “The Wall”. Anyway- so this bathroom mystery. It seriously at one point kinda spooked me, like there was something strange going on in this quite little village that Naomi and I weren’t privy to.The hostel / hotel seemed fairly empty but every during that night we tried to use it they were full even at like 2 something in the morning- 3 bathrooms and showers right next to each other, just weird- Needless to say I peed in the streets of Lucca that night.

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