Today I decided to hop on a train and visit the town of Lucca, Italy (recommended by a friend). Overall, the day was a fail – and that was completely my fault. I did almost no research and planning in advance, and when I got there, I realized that was a mistake. (Mainly because Lucca is too good to do on the fly.)
Normally, winging it is no problem. But, the first thing I learned in Lucca was that it is larger than I expected and not particularly easy to navigate. Aside from that, I did a couple of Periscopes, early on, which completely drained my phone battery (and I couldn’t find any place to recharge). That meant no google maps. Shockingly, I couldn’t find a shop that sold a street map . . . sooooo . . . I was adrift.
Nevertheless, the things I did do in Lucca – walk around, pop into a church or two, have lunch at a cute restaurant overlooking a nice piazza – were lovely. But, I missed out on a lot of great things either because I didn’t have enough time, couldn’t find a location, or found activities that simply would be more enjoyable with a companion. (For example, the city is encircled by a wall on top of which you can walk, run, ride a bike. It would have been really lovely to ride around the whole city on a bicycle. While I am usually cool with all things solo, this just felt like the kind of activity that would be more enjoyable with a friend.)
Speaking of the wall . . . it presented a huge barrier to finding my way back to the train station. I tried looking at a map on a board to figure out where I was (no “you are here star”) and where I needed to go. I started off (around the wall) in one direction and it was taking a really long time to get to where I wanted, so I stopped someone near the next map board and asked. She wouldn’t/couldn’t show me where we were on the map, but just told me which direction I should go (the same way I was already going). After a long time more, I thought it might be better to walk atop the wall, so I could see the train station (outside the wall) and know I was getting there. So, after climbing the steps – no train station in sight. I looked around and asked another person who promptly told me I had been going the wrong way and that I was very far away. So, this time atop the wall, I headed back from whence I came in a renewed effort to get out of Lucca. Finally, I found my way back to the train station – more than an hour after I had planned to depart – and got a ticket back to Florence.
Note to self: Plan a longer trip to Lucca, get a map, bring a friend.