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!