Tuesday, July 21, 2009

8 Pisa, Italy

Ever since we first booked our flight to Italy, we had been dreaming about the food. On our trip to Rome in 2007, we had set records in terms of how much delicious pasta we ate in a day, and we planned to continue that tradition this trip. Unfortunately our first Italian meal was the breakfast included with our stay at Pisa's Hotel Milano. The prepackaged croissants were inedible and the other "goodies" on offer might have well as been styrofoam.

Hotel Milano, with its muggy lobby, sparse rooms, and crusty old owner, was exactly what you might expect from a small town with a reknowned tourist attraction that singly drives the local economy. Our morning march with the other Tower seeking tourists seemed almost ritual and through the eyes of the locals we surely must have looked like map-toting zombies. The well-beaten route was lined with restaurants advertising "typical Tuscan food", and the hotels we passed along the way looked strikingly similar to the dilapidated Milano. The side streets, however, looked asleep. Undoubtedly there are parts of Pisa that are lovely, but in our 13 hour whirlwind tour (including seven hours of sleeping) we certainly did not see them.

But we did have just enough time to sleep, visit the Tower, and get out of town. And seeing the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person is pretty darn cool. It really is...leaning. In a very precarious way. We expected that at any minute, it might topple over on all the people pretending to hold it up for their photos.

The good news is that Pisa is an easy stop on a Tuscan tour. After the Tower, we hopped the next train to Lucca and were there within a half hour, eating that delicious pasta we had dreamed about for so long. But more on that to come...

Since our time in Pisa was so short and accordingly the post, we figured we'd throw in some tidbits from the road:
  • We weighed in our packs at the airport in Barcelona...Patrick's came in at 7.3 kilos while Katrina's was 6.7
  • Patrick for the first time ever enjoyed coffee this morning
  • Shower safety is a big concern in Italy as both showers we have used had S.O.S. pull strings
  • The first new word we learn in any country we arrive in is "sale" as it is plastered on every storefront window
  • We have yet to see a drop of rain in our first 8 days
  • Patrick is becoming a tap water connoisseur...he claims that Spain and France's tasted too "cloudy" and "thick" while Italy's is much more agreeable to his gentle palate
  • We can't believe we get to do this for another 178 days!


  1. My trip to Pisa was similar, it was in college and we stayed in a shady hostle... were in town long enough to sleep, see the tower and hop the train out... Spain looked great! Enjoy the rest of your time in Italy.

  2. you realize you just weather-jinxed yourselves. I could be paranoid about this, but I grew up in England, we're sensitive to such things. Better dig out your raincoats out of your packs!

  3. My trip to pisa was fantastic. We stayed in hotel and it was really fantastic. I booked this hotel thru ECT as i got good deal there.

  4. I also took a picture of other people posing by the learning tower trying to hold it up.Funny. And I agree that is about all we did on our trip to Pisa, see the tower then drive to Florence.

  5. I have forgotten the count of how many people have advised visiting Italy. The photos clicked by you are so great. It simply reminds me of my last vacation with my wife.

  6. Thank you so much for this information. It's so nice to have all this sharing, so useful and inspiring. I really appreciate the time and your effort you put to it. Great work, well done indeed

  7. Truly informative post!!! Last year I went to Italy with my family. It was a completely different experience for me. This March I’m planning for a trip to Israel because this time I’m getting discount on hotel room booking.


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