Saturday, 22 June 2013

Puccini's House and Lake

Wednesday 22 May 2013. Sheesh, it's a month ago and I'm still working on the photos and blog entries! I've been a bit busy of late...

Anyway on this bright Wednesday morning we jump ship at Livorno Italy and board a coach for our only paid excursion of the week. We are heading firstly for the house and lake of Giacomo Puccini, he of opera fame.

He loved this spot and lived in this house just a few yards from the lake. The house is now a museum and photographs inside were not allowed. As we listened to the guide's commentary in the first room a huge cat jumped up on the table causing all of us to jump momentarily.

Looking from the house down to the lake. There was a room with a huge collection of guns. Apparently one of the reasons he moved here was to do his best to rid the lake of wildfowl... It was a different time and a different world and today it is hard to think of a man who could compose such beautiful arias for operas such as Tosca, La Boheme and Madame Butterfly, happily grabbing a gun and blasting away destroying life...

Having done the tour of the house, we drift down to the lake as part of the tour is a trip on the lake by boat with Puccini's music played - and to give a touch of authenticity a chap in costume shoots at us from the shore. ...ok, I made that last bit up...

In the background of the above photo is a corner of the huge arena where operas are staged. There was a signboard listing upcoming performances.

Ah... and chill... We are some of the last on board and Fran and I are sat right at the back of the launch that takes us on the lake, whilst David and Jeannie are sitting in front of us. We are too far from the boat's speaker system to hear the music properly...

But never mind, the lake trip includes a glass of wine and nibbles! Here is Vanessa, guide for the quaintly named Trumpy Tours, bringing round little plastic cups of (yikes) very sweet sherry-type wine and some small hard biscuits that are a danger to teeth unless dunked in aforesaid wine for several minutes to soften them up!

Fran brandishes her biscuit threateningly. The lake trip sets off down a sort of lane separated from the rest of the lake by a row of small islands and then turns onto the lake itself once well away from the shores. What shores? I'll have another of those little cups please...

We are a long way from them, but the Italian Alps catch the sun (as do we all!) and make a wonderful backdrop to a pleasantly relaxing spell.

Then all too soon we are back on dry land and back on the coach for the second of our two destinations this morning - Pisa. Next stop here we come...

Large versions of the photos: all the photos of this holiday can be found (once I've finished - don't rush me!!!) at this Flickr set.

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