Look at us just sitting at the bus stop waiting for a bus like people that don’t totally hate themselves. Gosh, I actually can’t tell you how taking the bus totally changed our perspective of the whole travelling experience. Granted you don’t get to accidentally see as you much if you were limping around on foot, but I was totally OK with that.
Also let’s quickly talk bus tickets. You have to buy them. It’s not free contrary to many different people’s views on it. You have to buy the ticket at any store that sells tobacco. But even more important than that is that once you are on the bus, you need to validate it. And that means sticking it in the little machine and getting a time and date stamp on it. There were people checking on the busses that we were on and some American tourists were fined like 500 Euro which would put a serious damper on your trip if you were a South African!
Guess, what, we did something totally different this morning. We got up at 5.30 AM. Ok, you got me. That’s not different at all. It’s what we’d been doing the entire trip. Which is funny because you will not a damn get me up at that time at home.
The reason that we were up early again is that it was time to go and see that leaning tower. Which meant that we had to get all the way to the other side of Florence to meet up with our tour at the train station. We were going to do it alone but I am SO glad that we got the tour. Not having to worry about the trains and which one to take, exactly where to go and how to get back was so wonderful. It took all the stress off that I know I would have struggled with if we had tried to do it on our own. We changed trains about 10 times and took a bus or two. So nope, tour it is.
When we got to the train station we hadn’t even had coffee yet. So we checked in with our guide and let him know that we were there and then headed to a Mac Donalds Cafe. Now I hear you. The first words out my mouth were, “Gross, I don’t want to go there when we have the whole of Italy on our doorstep!”. But it was the only place without a huge line and so we went in and got a coffee and “breakfast”.
Seth ordered a croissant with nutella. And if you don’t know, Nutella to Italians is like liquid crack. It’s in everything. Not that crack is in everything, but you know what I mean. Anyway, so he chooses this croissant and we are standing by the counter when he leans over to one of those ketchup machines. And we were like what the heck. The next thing, he shoves the spout into the middle of the croissant and pumps it crazy full with Nutella. Both Seth and I looked at each other in disbelief, in fact we were so shocked that the guy doing it and the lady standing next to me burst out laughing at our reactions. It was hilarious.
Once we were on the train we took an hour and a half train ride to the city of Pisa, from there we jumped on a bus to the actual leaning tower of Pisa.
I had no idea that it was once a bell tower. Or that before it was built the land that is currently on was actually under water. So when they built it, the ground was too sandy and stuff, so it couldn’t take the weight of the tower. which is why it is leaning. They stopped building it for a while and then finished it over many years. Then they had to close it in the 80’s to make suure it didn’t fall over completely and now you can actually walk all the way up to the top. Which we did. but first…
If you don’t stop to hold the tower up, were you even in Pisa? I don’t think so…
Then we actually got the chance to walk up to the top of the tower. It’s such a weird experience climbing up something so skew. It made my already height weary mind completely weirded out. Like you’re going up steps, but it feels like you’re not. Bizarre.
From the top you can see the bells and the whole of Pisa.
After that we had some time to kill so we went to check out the cemetery where a famous mathematician is buried. So famous that I don’t know his name. I’m just not that into maths. And we quickly popped in at the cathedral too (which by the way, is also leaning just so slightly to the right).
Those last pictures are of the visible grave of some or other priest. They make face masks out of silver and bury them like that inside or around churches. (The more important you are the more elaborate obviously). This is also life size – the Italian people were much smaller then.
We bought a little leaning tower and then it was time to hop back on the train to visit the first of the Cinque Terre (5 lands). This was the absolute highlight of what I was looking forward to on this trip and I’m so glad that we got to see it! But more on that next time.
FOR MORE ON OUR ITALIAN TRIP DON’T MISS:
- What We Packed In Our Backpacks for 9 Days in Italy
- Leaving Cape Town
- Day 1 – Rome
- Day 1 – A Day In Rome – Photodiary
- Day 2- A Morning in Naples Climbing Mount Vesuvius
- Day 2 – An Afternoon In Pompeii
- Day 2 – A Night In Rome In Search Of the Best Gelato and Caffe
- Day 3 – The Roman Suburb Of Trastevere
- Day 4 – Rome To Florence
Day 5: Florence, Pisa, Cinque Terre Besides our upcoming days in Venice, today was one of the days I was looking forward to the most and it did not dissapoint! All my bucket list things checked ✔ Highlights: 1. Taking a tour for these kinds of things is really worth it. They know the places, structure it to work with the mass of tourists, figure out public transport and ensure you have fun without having to worry. Defs worth it if you’re wanting to visit a few places in one day. 2. We went to Pisa and did our bit to hold up the tower. Did you even go of you don’t take the photo? 3. We had also booked to climb the tower. Which we did and it was really weird because it’s so skew. I struggled with the whole heights and slanty thing the entire time we were on it. 4. The bus ticket system here works really well and NO it isn’t free. You have to buy a ticket at any shop that sells tobacco. It’s saved my knee like crazy! Also don’t forget to validate it (they were checking on the buses we were on) 5. Our first stop in Cinque Terre was basically just a stretched out version of Kalk Bay and we even had lunch at the “Brass Bell”. It was lovely though. 6. We ate Gelato and dipped our toes in the Mediterranean Sea at the second stop. 7. Our Cape Town beaches are way better than these beaches. By far. 8. The last Cinque Terre town we visited was Manarola which is the iconic picture that is often used for this town. It did not dissapoint. 9. We got back to Florence and were going to head home to plan tomorrow and go to bed. But that’s not actually how we roll. So in spite of us managing to halve our walking up till that point, in just this evening we managed to double it. Walking a total of another 20km. Dang it. Tomorrow we will be better though! 10. As we were walking back to our airbnb we saw so many people walking their dogs at 12pm! It’s weird but awesome. 11. Florence has a much more chilled night life than Roma. Tomorrow we will actually stay in Florence and see David, check out the Duomo and chill!