Friday, June 29, 2012

Italy Day 6: Pisa! Pisa!

Day 6 officially marked the longest we'd ever been away from Kye (obviously Brittlynn as well). Aflac trips typically run 5 days, including travel time. Hawaii was 6. At this point on the trip I was ready to go home. Not that I wasn't enjoying myself, I was. But my heart hurt for my children. I was sick of pumping and wanting to nurse super super badly. We started to call them daily for a check-in on the day before. Typically we won't call much when we travel. I feel like it makes Kye misbehave because it reminds him that he misses us, ya know? But on this trip I needed to hear his voice. The time difference made it easy for us to call because we could call around 10ish at night and they were up from their naps. Perfect :) I loved hearing Kye's voice and even hearing Britt's baby noises made me happy.

When planning our trip one of the "must sees" was the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Well...it's not that easy to go see and many people told me it wasn't worth the trip. I didn't care. We were in ITALY we were SEEING IT! I booked a train for Thursday to take us to Pisa early in the morning. We'd see the tower, have time to grab some lunch, then take a smaller train from Pisa to Florence. We didn't need to go back to Florence but it was on the way back to Rome so why not make another stop there and split up the trip? We'd have time there to re-see a few sites and grab some dinner before catching our evening train back to Rome.

At this point in the trip was when we didn't have hot water. It was miserable taking cold showers. I didn't pack a lot of warm clothes so I was wearing tons of layers to warm myself up. It wasn't the coldest shower of my life (I had one in Maine once that was MUCH colder!) but it sure wasn't pleasurable and I had some killer razor burn from shaving my legs in it :( boo! 

By this point we were also getting pretty sick of the daily breakfast selection ;)
This train was different than the one to Naples. It was more like an airplane with the seating...and it was practically empty so we had tons of space to stretch and be comfortable! I, of course, ended up falling asleep. So much so that I didn't really care when they announced we were having train issues and would be delayed by 2 hours. Our whole ride was 2 hour long and with the delay became a 4 hour train ride instead. Luckily we had books to read to keep us busy and some snacks and I enjoyed more napping ;) Zach had a GREAT attitude about it! He just kept saying how lucky we were that this day was the day of a train delay and not the Naples days as we had more time on this day than on those. We didn't feel stressed as we weren't really on any tight schedule or anything!
When we arrived at Pisa we had one mission: see The Leaning Tower. We checked out a map and followed the herd of people through the town. Of course the tower was at the opposite end of town from the train station haha.
It was a beautiful city!

Loved the easy-to-read signage!
We assumed this is the man the town was named for?

First glimpse!!!

The foundation for the tower began in 1173 by Guglielmo and Bonanno Pisano. It was completed in 1390 and is one of the best known Italian landmarks (it brings in 10,000 Euros in entrance fees DAILY). In 1185 the tower was already leaning when builders reached only the third level. This lean was due to a bad patch of shifting subsoil and it brought construction to a halt. A century passed by until 1275 when Giovanni di Simone took over the project. To correct the lean, his solution was to build a banana-like curce into the cylindrical structure that would help it reach a more vertical profile. The curve worked to some extent and you can still see it today. Unfortunately, the foundation kept sinking so the tower continued to lean!

In 1990 the tower's lean was about 15 ft off the vertical and the mayor of Pisa at the time ordered the tower closed to visitors indefinitely. Since then they have done a lot of different things to bring the lean back some and have succeeded in righting the tower a mere 2 feet closer to vertical. Even just that 2 feet difference allowed it to be safe for people to enter once again and the doors reopened in 2001.


When I was editing these pics I kept wanting to "straighten" them ;)

The lawn in front of the tower was covered with tourists, like us, who just wanted the famous "look I'm holding up the tower!" photo :) It's what we came for right??? We debated about going inside of it but honestly I'm SO THANKFUL we didn't climb anything on this trip. We did enough walking. And were satisfied with seeing it from where we were. No need to climb :) Don't these pics all look like we're standing in front of a blue screen?


Haha I was off on this one!
I wanted one more without all the random people in it :)
Our new trick when traveling: take lots of pics like this and complain loudly about it...
...then someone will volunteer to take one of us together :)

You can really see the lean!
The square around the tower was also very pretty
Another side of it
Beautiful church beside it. Don't you feel sorry for the other buildings in the town? No one cares about them!



You can kinda see the banana-like curve
Basically is was a 4 hour train ride, a 30 min walk and a 10 min reward. But it was worth it! It was SO cool to see in person. Afterwards we walked down and found a cute little outdoor restaurant (they are all cute and outdoors huh? I loved it! We were REALLY blessed with AMAZING weather...) that had free wifi and a decent bathroom. Worked out perfect...I pumped while Zach was able to check some emails on his Ipad :)
We didn't want to eat too much as we planned to eat a big dinner in Florence...
My second time having spinach and ricotta pasta but I loved it!
One of my favorite Italian desserts in the States is cannoli and I FINALLY saw some at this restaurant. Omg. It was BETTER than the ones at home. Zach even liked it!!! SOOO tasty. I wish I could eat it every day, no joke!
While enjoying our meal I saw a family sitting nearby with a tiny baby. I couldn't resist...I had to go see it. I've never been a big baby person. I LOVE my babies, but not really other peoples. I was missing Brittlynn (and Kye) SO MUCH that I HAD to see this baby. I really wanted to hold him like I've never wanted to hold a child before...but that would have been pretty awkward. He was only like 8 days old I think? What this family was doing in Pisa with an 8 day old baby I'll never understand. They def weren't Americans but they weren't Italian either. They sounded British maybe? The baby was ADORABLE and his mom was nursing him when I went to go pump myself. I felt like crying I was so jealous of her that she was nursing her baby. I wonder if she would have let me nurse him some? haha imagine that conversation. "hey can I nurse your baby?" Totally normal right? ;)

I know everyone's favorite part of my Italy posts have been bathroom pictures right? ;) I did want to show it though just for memories sake! I LOVED how most of the public restrooms had FULL coverage doors. No little cracks. I HATE it when, at the airport for example, I'm pumping and people can see me through those cracks in the doors. It's uncomfortable and awkward. This was nice and private!
I know the bathroom itself looks pretty gross but the toilet seat was kinda awesome. It had this feature where whenever you stood up it shot up and automatically sprayed a cleaning spray on it to clean it. I'd never seen anything like it before!
Again, a decent sink for cleaning everything after I finished pumping. It took me awhile to figure out that you turned the sinks on by a lever on the floor with your foot :)
After lunch we hit up some gelato while walking back to the train station. When I booked all of our tickets we booked a 1:00 train ride from Pisa to Florence. With the delay of our train into Pisa everything got pushed back but luckily the train from Florence to Pisa was similar to the one from Naples to Pompeii/Sorrento. It just ran constantly back and forth so we could catch it anytime, it arrived like every 10 or 15 min. It was nice not to rush and just enjoy ourselves!

More of Pisa




We walked up to the train station and, again, lucked out. There was another train leaving in a matter of minutes after we got there. We hopped on and were ready for Florence! We were actually nervous if it was the right train or not because it all seemed toooo easy. Thankfully the train conductor came and punched our tickets and said it was the right one. We had to keep a good eye out for our stop as they didn't announce them or anything and there are two stops in Florence. It was a little over an hour of a train ride but it was pretty to see more of the countryside and nice to be sitting down relaxing! It was FOR SURE the warmest day yet of our trip and one where we were doing a lot outside and walking a lot so the break was well enjoyed :)

2 comments:

Kim Harner said...

Yeah, so now I wanna go to Italy even more! :) Love these posts, Em!

MeganRay said...

I'm loving all your Italy posts! I went to Italy (and tons of other European countries - one of those month long all over Europe visit every single thing possible tours) when I was 14 and I totally wasn't old enough to appreciate it. I mean, I enjoyed it, but not the way I would now. Still, it's fun seeing your pictures of places I've been before. Glad you were able to go and have such a great time!

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