We arrive very tired after having flown 11 hours from Seattle to Paris and then another couple of hours to Pisa. In between, we take a train into Paris and walk around for a couple of hours because we have a seven-hour layover. The cold snap that is upon Europe means walking in sub-freezing temperatures with a fine snow coming down, so we are not making our first visit here under ideal conditions. We go inside Notre Dame and the Shakespeare & Company book store and walk past the river Seine, the Sorbonne, Saint Julien, Cafe Procope, Luxembourg gardens and a few other impressive buildings, and we stop for some delicious crepes at La Crepere Saint-Honore. We see the Eiffel Tower from a distance. All in all, we are glad we take this side trip, though it will not be a particularly memorable experience.
The train trip from Pisa to Lucca is a real bargain at only 3 euro each, and it feels comforting to be back in familiar surroundings. We settle into the Hotel Rex, right next to the Lucca train station, around 8 p.m. and sleep for 12 hours, a welcome rest after having been on the go for 24 hours. Tomorrow it is onward to Padova, where we will stay for the remainder of February. We plan to focus on language classes for three weeks, so it will be short on interesting adventures, but maybe at the end I’ll be able to say a four-word sentence without displaying my bad accent. But probably not.