Dream For Three

A disconcerting climb

Today was our trip to Pisa – when we arrived yesterday we had been given a fax sent by the tour company advising us to be at the meeting point at 8:10am instead of 9am. Fortunately this was only a few minutes up the road (on the way to the train station). We had breakfast where we were staying (since it was included) at 7:30am, after a false start at 7am.

Arriving at the tour check-in, which included a number of tours, we exchanged our voucher for the Pisa sticker, then waited in the heat for about half an hour. Once on board the air conditioned bus, there was another delay as they handed out tour sets, earphones, and made sure everyone was there.

The trip to Pisa was uneventful (although Historia seemed like a nice place as we passed through – I think that is the correct name). It took about 1.5 hours, then we joined up with our Pisa guide who took us to the toilets first (for a few in the group), then a description of the area (baptistery, cathedral, hospital, cemetery), followed by a visit inside the cathedral and, finally, the leaning tower.

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Although the tower looks to have a significant lean, it’s only 4°, or so they tell us, which is a lot better than the 7° that it was in 1990, when entry was closed until 2001. It was pointed out that the baptistery and cathedral are also on a lean, but it’s much less noticeable than the (famous) bell tower and all three lean in different directions.

We then went inside the tower for a brief introduction, followed by a climb of 250+ stairs to the top. At the top DW and I were there while one of the bells chimed, and DD arrived just as the chiming ended.

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DW and I walked around the top of the tower, which is very disconcerting, before making our way back down the steps. I think that one of the things which makes it precarious, apart from the lean, is that you are walking on slippery marble.

At the bottom again, we had some time to spare, so we returned to the meeting point and grabbed a quick bite for lunch. We had struck up a conversation with a lady and her 16 year old daughter, from Dallas, so that filled in the trip back, plus a bit more time afterwards.

Again we returned to the apartment for a rest and a break from the heat (it got up to 37°C today). It was a short snooze and then DW and I headed out for another walk. We went a slightly different way this time, but still ended up in the same tourist area. Wandering some more streets we hadn’t covered yet, and doing a bit more shopping, we stopped at the apartment before going for dinner – DD had lasagne left over from lunch and didn’t want to go out again.

Taking yet a different direction, we found Trattoria La Madia (which turned out to be just three streets from the apartment) where DW and I had a traditional Italian meal – consisting of a shared antipasti, a shared primo, and a secondo each. I had asked about chicken, but the waiter laughed and said I could get that anywhere. Instead he suggested a mixed seafood antipasti, a delicious vegetarian pasta dish for the primo, and finally a fried sea bream for DW and a baked turbot (flat fish) for me. I was going to have it fried, but the waiter suggested we have one baked and one fried and then share them – mine was much nicer.

After dinner we waddled back to the apartment where I have finally had a chance to catch up on these posts (when I’m not absolutely exhausted).

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