Travel Journal

Pisa - no we didn't take stupid pictures like we are holding up the tower

(Saturday 6 November 2010) by Mike and Julie's sort of round the world trip
Day 74 -- 10/18/10 Pisa
We took the non-toll roads to Pisa as we were not in a rush and it was about a five hour drive. We located the pension we were going to stay at but there was nobody there. We had to wait for a half hour before the maid showed up but she couldn’t get in. The girlfriend of the owner also showed up and she called him on the phone to come on over. Reflecting back on the website it did mention it was important to send your arrival time to the “staff” which means tell the owner so he would be there.
It was a house with about three rooms converted to rent out. The sign was a piece of lined notebook paper taped to the door. There was no heater, coffee maker in the room as advertised and no hot water. It’s obvious this was a start up and I don’t think it was worth our time to write a bad review on the booking site as I seriously doubt this place will still be open in a month.
We went directly to the main site and I purchased a ticket to enter the Leaning Tower with an appointment an hour later while Julie gave it a miss.
We did buy some combination tickets to the other museums in the plaza and we went first to the Duomo or
church which was very ornate. I very much enjoyed the wooden pulpit. There was also a pulpit in the Baptistry across the way. Climbing to the top there was a window with a whole in the mesh where people took pictures of the Duomo and Leaning Tower which was a good shot. I ducked out early to do the Leaning Tower while Julie remained and listened to a demonstration of the acoustics in the dome.
After getting to the Tower, I found I had to check my bag so I ran to the coat check and ran back as my appointment time was past but got in okay. It’s like an elaborate fun house climbing up the marble stairs.
You can see where the steps have worn down the stone unevenly as people struggle up the stairs. The view from the top is outstanding and there are several bells at the top – This is a bell tower after all! I don’t know if they actually ring the bells here though.
Julie had gone to the Museo dell Opera de Duomo (church museum) while I had gone up the tower. Afterwards we both went to the Sinopie Museum which displayed primary sketches for frescos. There was also a video on the history of the tower and the corrections made and the corrections to the corrections, and the corrections to the corrections of the corrections, etc. I’m not really sure if the fresco sketches where what remained
after the frescos wore off, if they were incomplete works or duplicates as I saw some completed frescos with the same art work over at the Camposanto.
Heading back to the hotel, I wanted to find out if the Museum of the Ancient Ships of Pisa was open as the guidebook said it should be completed in early 2010. After a bit of walking, we discovered that the museum was not open yet which explained why we encountered so many people that had never heard of it. There was really nothing else in Pisa that interested us so we left the next morning for the short drive to Florence.


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