Monday: Viareggio

It was bittersweet to leave Siena late this morning. Our hotel – Hotel Ravizza – was so comfortable and a great place to stay and Siena is a wonderful city. But we will be in Viareggio for the next few days and I’m sure we will live it there too.

We stopped for lunch in Pistoia, an old city about an hour from Viareggio. It is Monday, so many restaurants are closed but we found a good place for lunch and spent some time there since check-in for our Airbnb was at four o’clock.

We drove around Viareggio and checked out the marina. The largest and most expensive yachts in the world are made here by Benzetti boatyard. They are spectacular to see, but since it was pouring rain we couldn’t walk around at all. We will do that tomorrow.

We will also take the train one day to Cinque Terre to hike and see the five seaside villages and beautiful views. We are hoping for some nice days ahead after almost a week of rain but we will make it work regardless. For now we are settling in at Viareggio.

photos: seen along the way as we drove today – a farmer apparently has a sense of humor about hay bales; this evening’s view from our Viareggio home; little round eggplants for sale

Friday: Clermont-Ferrand

We drove from Saint Emilion to Clermont-Ferrand today, about a four-hour trip. We had such a nice stay in Saint-Emilion and now have bottles of wine to enjoy for the rremainder of our trip.

We stopped at about 12:30 for lunch at a place I discovered online: Chez Juju. It was the only restaurant around and we had to drive along narrow roads to get there.

When we finally arrived we saw it was a very cute place, but just eight tables, all full. The owner said we could wait, which we decided to do since we had no alternative. There was nothing at all around.

We soon got a table and enjoyed a delicious lunch. The owner serves everyone the same lunch fare and changes it each day. Today: pate and salad; chicken, rice, cauliflower; cheese; walnut cake. plus house wine. It was a nice treat.

We continued on to our destination, an old city with breathtaking views, inactive volcanoes, a university, and lots to see. We will do all that tomorrow.

photos: all beautiful cows, all we saw today while driving.