Under grey skies we sped first thing to Pisa. There is after all a substantial dearth of photos of the work of 12th century cowboy builders, and especially of 21st century tourists pretending to prop up said shonky works as if they were the first to think of such an idea despite half a dozen others on either side in exactly the same pose.
I suggested that we four gentlemen in the party should arrange ourselves in a near-vertical for a photo we could christen the Leaning Tower of Geezers, but I was cruelly shunned. I’m sure it’s not an original idea but it was MY unoriginal idea, dammit, so intrinsically better than those propper-uppers.
It was to be a relatively short visit. We bypassed the infinite row of market stalls selling leaning limoncello bottles, ferchrissakes, and drove to Lucca for lunch.
Inside the still-imposing medieval wall protecting the old town we found a pretty piazza retaining the oval shape (and supposedly some original stone) of a Roman amphitheatre. We parked our collective behinds at a café. Beer, pasta, sunshine.
And then thunder. A darkening. A few heavy drops of rain. Folllowed by half the Med.
Safe under canvas we waited out the storm with another beer. It was thirty minutes or more before the rain relented; we started back to the car but got nowhere before the other half of the Med descended.
No escape. Well, Chris and Chef had bought umbrellas from an enterprising tat-seller and Andy had a waterproof jacket secreted about his person just in case, but Melanie and I had decided to risk it. It was a long, wet walk in an ever-increasing monsoon.
It was like those adverts where beautiful youths frolic in a rain shower. Identical in fact. Maybe a marginally lesser degree of frolic. And much, much more water.
And an hour in the car back to the villa. Nice.
Memo to self: beach holiday in spitting distance of food, drink and hotel next.