Napoleonic weekend in Lucca 1 – Arriving in Italy, and dancing in Palazzo Ducale

And so I’m back.

I always find it hard to decide if I am happy or not to be back after an event like this one. In one sense I am, I am happy to have had a good time and met such nice people and to come back with all these wonderful memories, but at the same time it can also leave me feeling a little depressed for a while. I know that shouldn’t be the case, but honestly, when you’ve been away living like a princess having the time of your life it can be a little difficult to adapt to everyday life again! Don’t mistake me, I have alot of wonderful things in my everyday life too, but these events really do mean alot to me!

So yes, to tell you about my trip.

I left home early Thursday mornning and arrived in the beautiful old city of Lucca in Tuscany sometime around midday. The event wasn’t set to start until next evening, so I had some time to get settled and familiarize myself with the city.
Lucca isn’t a very big city, the center of it, the inner city so to speak, is surrounded by a big 500 year old wall (everyone kept refering to it as the “new” wall! You’ve got to love that about Europe!!) and it is just such a charming and pleasant place! There are not nearly as many tourists in Lucca as in many of the other Tuscan cities. Compare it to Florence or Pisa and it is more or less devoid of them! My general impression of the place is just very positive and I would love to go back again!

Tuscan houses. The picture is a little blurry since I took it hanging out the window of the train

Lucca!

One of the many beautiful ‘piazzas’ they had

I do love roses, and these were some of the prettiest ones I have seen! Behind them you can see the wall of Lucca

Having said that though I did have an experience that was far from pleasant. Friday morning, before any of the event had started, I went out to do some shopping and for the first (and hopefully last) time I experienced becoming a victim of a pickpocket. In other words, I had my wallet stolen. That was quite a shocking experience as all the money I had with me and my credit card was in that wallet, and this meant I was in a country far away from home without a penny in my pocket! It was quite distressing and took up most of that day for me, phoning my father in tears when I first panicked and didn’t know what to do, frantically trying to get hold of my bank to see if they could do anything to help me, running back through all the shops I had visited to see if I could find it somewhere (thought I didn’t have much hope of doing that) and spending ages in some police station where no one spoke any English trying to get them to understand me. It was quite an experience! Not one I would recommend, and not one I would seek out again, but I think I learnt quite a few things from it. And the good part of the experience was that I was once again reminded of how very kind and helpful most people really are! Not only family and friends (who helped out a great deal, thank you very much!) but also strangers who don’t actually know me at all!
The whole thing did turn out ok in the end, even if I didn’t get my wallet back I did get to borrow some money for the time I was there and could focus on enjoying the event thoroughly. 🙂

Apart from that little insident though the whole trip was just amazing and I loved every minute of it!
Friday evening everyone had arrived, settled in (I will show you the beautiful hotel and the incredible room I was staying in later!) and gotten changed into Regency wear for the dance run-through that was taking place. We marched off from our hotel, a big group of us, through the center of Lucca (receiveing quite a few stares as we did so) to the grand Palazzo Ducale in Piazza Napoleone (I know, suitable name right?). This is where the dancing was to take place.
I have to say this about Italy, they have the most amazing palaces! The venues for these events were simply to die for! This one had been the home of Napoleon Bonaparte’s sister, Elisa Bonaparte Duchess of Lucca and Grand Duchess of Tuscany. Those of you who have read my posts from the last time I visited Italy may remember that one of the palaces I visited then, where the grand ball was held, was also at one time the home of this same sister of Napoleon’s. She probably had quite a few houses…

I realized I didn’t have any really good picture of the outside of Palazzo Ducale, but here you can see it at least, in the background

Waiting to enter the palazzo

A very common position for alot of people during this weekend!

The paintings on the walls inside the palazzo were really something!

The red plastic chairs felt a little out of place though I have to say

Of course it was very special to be dancing in a place like that. Not only was it stunning, but also the historical connection to famous and influential people made it even more special!

Margarita welcoming us to the first part of the event

Margarita and Donald leading the demonstration of a minuet 

Dancing was as always lots of fun. Though very very hot! Every break there was a rush for the refreshments to grab a glass of water, or for the windows to cool down slightly in the (rather warm) breeze. It was lovely though, and also as a wonderful chance to catch up with people I haven’t met in a long time!

I have finally learnt not to go to a dance without bringing a fan! 

Isabel and I in the beautiful hallway of Palazzo Ducale

After the dancing we all headed back to our lodgings, to get some rest before next day which had a busy schedule, full of wonderful things…

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One Response to Napoleonic weekend in Lucca 1 – Arriving in Italy, and dancing in Palazzo Ducale

  1. Dorte Kreiberg says:

    I am very sorry to hear you lost your wallet, it was not a good way to start your trip, but I am glad to hear that so many would help you, And it sounds like you had a fantastic trip, I enjoyed reading about it so far, can not wait till the next bit of your story.

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