Mid January was the time for our third mission. Not just any mission: The Big Cleanup went on a working visit to Italy to check out the situation there and of course to clean up! We visited, among other things, the picturesque town of Lucca. For the handful of people who, like me, have never been in Tuscany: it is beautiful and you can also enjoy delicious food and drinks. Only now do Hella and I understand that everyone loves going on vacation there.
One of the attractions in Lucca is the old city wall, a 4-kilometer-long wall, where the locals can certainly have plenty recreation on Sundays. A perfect place for our mission. We started a bit hesitant with a piece of paper here and there, but when we found a big plastic bag in which we could put everything, we really went all out! We walked around the four kilometers in a warm sun shining down. Of course we have no idea what the Italians thought of those two middle aged signora’s with a dirty plastic bag. But the reactions we received were positive in any case: a jogger running past gave us ‘complimenti’, an old lady who understood that we were not Italian, smiled at us kindly and said ‘Thank you’. There was even an older gentleman who walked up with us for a while and also started collecting. Awesome!
And our harvest? We filled the bag with immeasurably many wraps, presumably left behind by traders who have their stalls on the city wall in the summer months. What was also very striking: the inhabitants of Lucca all suffer a cold. We stumbled on the used paper tissues, which after 10 pieces were followed by the plastic packaging. We cleaned them all up but unfortunately the next day, during a short inspection round, it turned out to be a chronic cold.
Tired but very satisfied we then went for lunch in a good restaurant on the wall, San Colombano. Normally I immediately sit down, but this time I just washed my hands before eating …
The reward of the day came when after lunch we fell in a tub of butter. On a field near the church all the pets of Lucca were gathered to be consecrated there: the annual … Benedizione degli Animali. The pope on duty walked around and insisted to give us a hand (or a handshake), honest to god! I could not understand what he said to me, but I suspect he wanted to thank us for La Grande Pulizia.