We woke early to catch the bus as there were only two options, one at 8:15 and the next at 11:10 which we thought was too late. As I was getting things organized outside we ran into the owner of the Agritourismo, Andrea and he asked what I was doing up so early. When I told him he said that he could have his father drive us in at a more civilized hour and we happily took him up on the offer.
Ton did some research on the comic book festival in Lucca and it goes back to 1966. It is the largest in Europe and the second largest in the world with 90,000 tickets sold each day and the festival apparently sells out the 450,000 tickets in hours each year. It is a much larger event than we expected. We figured the people watching would be interesting even though we do not have tickets.
Arriving at one of the city gates all of the tents we had seen around the city yesterday had long lines leading into them with fans of different cartoons and comics looking to score the latest merchandise. We wandered the streets pretty aimlessly and Lucca is a great site for this kind of event as the long narrow streets with frequent piazza’s allow it to absorb the people effectively and allows the participants interesting places to stage photos.
A lot of the participants were dressed up in costume, though Ton and I are not the right age to identify most of the characters people were dressed up as. We did have fun trying to guess. Eventually we climbed up on the wall that encircles the old city and it turns out it is an unofficial promenade for the people in costume to walk and see what other people were wearing. We ended up walking completely around the city. We found one exhibit that was open to people without tickets, it was based on the video game Resident Evil so we got to go in and interact with a bunch of zombies in Raccoon City.
In between all of the characters we also continued to admire Lucca. After a while we needed a little break so we went to a restaurant Ton had her eye on that has been in business since 1865. Our waitress was a young lady who spoke English well. She asked if we were here for the cartoon festival, we told her no, it was a happy accident. She apologized and said that Lucca is a beautiful city and while the festival was really good for the local economy she is happy when it is over because it was just a little too weird, and to illustrate her point she had to run up to the cash register to ring up the bill of a zombie with his intestines hanging out and a knife in his back.
We returned to François just before the rain that had been threatening all day hit. I am writing this a little early today because we are heading up to the farmhouse for a 4 course Italian dinner, I will write about that tomorrow.