Pisa is only an hour away from Florence, so we left in the morning and came back late afternoon with enough time to still roam around Florence. Pisa is set in the heart of Tuscan countryside, really beautiful and with amazing weather.
8.27 am. The train is supposed to be at platform 1. There is no train at platform 1! One man helpfully suggests platform 5 when we say “Pisa”. Hope he didn’t think we were asking for pizza. We run to platform 5, a train is about to leave. We jump on board, hoping it’s the one to Pisa. It was.
8.40 am. The compartment we jumped on to was a 2nd class compartment. We have first class Eurail passes. Walked through the whole train to realize this is a regional train, there’s no first class. Forced to sit in second class. I feel so downgraded.
10 am. Finish a proper breakfast at the Pisa station, with tea. Ready for the tower.
10.20 am. Waiting for the LOCAL bus to take us to the tower on a LOCAL route. With stops along the way. Really, why not a direct bus to the tower? Why else would ANY one come to Pisa?
10.30 am. At the tower.
The Duomo inside the plaza that also houses the Cathedral and the Leaning Tower of Pisa.
Gosh, it’s expensive. It’s 42 euros for us both to climb the tower, visit the Duomo and the Cathedral. Our time slot for the climb is 12.40 pm, so we have a couple of hours to kill.
Our first view of the Tower
There’s souvenir shops lined up by the mile inside the tower plaza. We pick up some cheap gifts here. Missing our Bengali vendors.
Everyone’s taking pictures of “holding up” the tower of Pisa, so we spend a good fifteen minutes taking such pictures of each other. “A little bit to the right, to the left, move your hand this way” etc. Almost leads to a fight!
"Tumi thik kore chobi nite paro na!" :-)
The Leaning Tower of Pisa. It really leans!
11 am. The Cathedral is more impressive on the inside than the Florence one.
It also seems quite inspired from the Prophet's mosque in Medina and the Cordova mosque in Spain. We eavesdrop on some Italian guides and hear them say the same thing in reverse. Er, people, check your history.
The main altar
Paintings on the dome of the cathedral.
11.30 am. The Duomo is so blah. Really, nothing much to see here.
12.40 pm. At the tower.
You have to check your bags somewhere else so had to spend good 5 minutes doing that.
And then our climb started.
Really, this was unlike ANY other tower or stairs I have climbed. The building leans, so half the time you are falling on to the right wall and the other half you are leaning on to the left.
We stopped at all the view points to take pictures and admire the view.
The final two decks were very narrow, claustrophobic and steep. Not to mention slippery.
At the bell tower level. These bells when rung signify something important happening in the city of Pisa. These are also from where Galileo allegedly dropped various sized cannon balls to prove gravity is constant.
And then the climb up to the bell tower was another fright inducing one.
Very narrow, at times I was climbing on all fours.
1 pm. Finally!
The view was breathtaking.
Not only was beautiful Tuscany laid out for all to see, but the wind through your hair, plus the noticeable tilt of the top, all makes for a very wonderful experience.
2 pm. Still waiting for the bus - Lam Rosse. Really, can’t they have an express bus to and from the station? Why else do they think ANY one will come to Pisa.
3.30 pm. Back in Florence. Sleep. Pack. Eat. Sleep again. Tomorrow, iA, Rome. Then, home.
Pisa was really fun. Our short time here (half a day) plus the good crowd management (timed slots) really helped. The climb up was something unique and it feels good to have something as famous as the Leaning Tower of Pisa as your backdrop picture!