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Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Lastra A Signa to Camaiore

Sunday 9th September
Temperature 34° from about 10am

We had planned to have a quiet day by the pool but that was not to be-too much to do and see. We can sit by the pool at home when we get some decent weather. We went back into Florence and had planned to get on the number 36 bus and get off close to Palazzo Pitti, however we missed the stop and stayed on the bus which took us at least 10-15 kms out of the city. We saw a lot more of the suburbs of Florence including market gardens than we’d ever hoped to see. On out return back into Florence the bus took  a different route and we managed to get off at the stop we needed. We purchased tickets to the Bobilo gardens and the costume and porcelain museums. What an amazing display of wealth that belonged to the Medeci family- the most influential family in Florence. The gardens were spectacular and evidently the residents of Florence can visit whenever they want. Beautiful trees and gorgeous views over the city. After a couple of hours we headed back to the Ponte Vecchio through some little alley ways and towards the Ufizzi museum. There seemed to be many more people around the restaurants were doing excellent business. Around the Ufizzi Museum area, there are many artists but their work is all has a very similar look about it with Tuscany countryside and the Duoma in Florence. There are literally hundreds of market small market stalls all selling the same goods – leather bags, belts, fridge magnets, pictures/paintings and pinocchios by the hundreds.

We found a lovely restaurant Fiorina D’Oro for a late lunch in the Piazza de Republique. Menu- Graham’s favourite melon (Canteloupe) & prosciutto and a pizza which we shared. We headed back to the train station to find that the 4.28 train had been cancelled “because it is Sunday” (don’t worry about what the timetable says!)and we had to wait for the 5.28pm train. By that stage we’d had enough walking so across the road to “Maccas” where there were seats and we waited there.
Once home, there was still time to read and relax by the pool for a couple of hours before our final dinner at the restaurant. To our surprise the restaurant was almost full and there were a couple of large groups, we suspect who were locals having dinner too.

Rear Palazzo Pitti

View over Florence form the top garden

Palazzo Pitti Forecourt

Typical streets and crowds

Favourite lunch

The Hop on & Hop Off bus

Monday 10th September
Weather 26-34°. Very cloudy skies to start the day but then the sun came out and the temperature rose considerably.

We had a reasonably short drive to Camaiore and arrived about 11.30. We were able to book into our Hotel room at Laconda Le Monarche, offload our cases and then find some free street parking up around the corner. This was the pace that I was most uncertain about finding and sorting the parking and it turns out it was the most straightforward of them all so far.

Armed with a map and some general information from Nicolette, we set off to explore Camaiore. This is a reasonably small town with what I suspect a small influx of tourists. This place had been recommended to us and we are always happy to find places off the main tourist radar. What we had forgotten however was that it was getting close to Siesta time and we walked along the main street of shops and on our way back they were all shut. A peach, grapes and coffee served as lunch. The café at our hotle was open until 3pm but we weren’t especially hungry so were happy with the fruit.

Rather than a quiet afternoon siesta, we set off for Lido di Camaiore which is about 6kms to the coast. We found the sea very quickly and it didn’t take long for Graham to dip his feet in the ocean. We were stunned by the sight of chairs, lounges and umbrellas along the beach as far as the eye could see. We have never seen anything like it. We later discovered how it all worked. You pay according to what you require – Lounges only, lounge and umbrella, lounge and umbrella and locker room etc. Starting price was around €15 for the day up to a maximum of €25. You could also pay per week or month or for the whole season up to €1,800. Judging by the number of areas available, it must be a very overcrowded time in peak season. As we noticed in France, very few people wear hats, no shirts and not much care to avoid the sun’s rays. 

I haven’t taken any Viramin D since being here, I think I am getting enough from the sun for now. What we have also noticed is that the temperature is high from mid morning until about 8pm- so there is a very long time to enjoy the beach and in fact daylight. The evenings are usually quite balmy.

Umbrellas and beach lounges as far as thee eye can see in both directions

Stunned  by the rows and rows or umbrellas and chairs!

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