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Saturday, January 19, 2013

Viaggio in Italia: un antipasto (1 Parte)


Vacation in Italy: An Appetizer (Part 1)


1. Pisa - November 1, 2012
2. Florence - November 1 & 2, 2012 (Part 2)
3. Rome & The Vatican - November 2 & 3, 2012 (Part 3)

So, let me start by giving a new reason for my travel obsession. Before we moved to Barcelona, our wonderful friends, Matt & Abby, gave us a map of the world. The countries that we visit can be "scratched off" to keep a record of all of the wonderful places we have visited. Challenge Accepted!

Why only an Appetizer?
I'm calling this trip "an appetizer" because we were only able to spend three days in Italy. Everyone we know was a little irked at us for not devoting a proper amount of time to Italy. I jokingly pointed out that the trip was only "an appetizer" because were had a very short holiday from our universities and wanted to get a taste of Italy. Certainly, we will devote more time when we have it! For the time being, we just couldn't help but to tease ourselves a little and make the most of our time off by visiting Italy.

Kshiteesh, Will & Me
We were accompanied on this trip by two of Will's classmates, the ever-so-wonderful Kshiteesh and Rohan. We left for Pisa together on a Vueling flight that ended up being quite nice. 

Italy from above: The Countryside

Italy from Above: Cityscape

 We took tons of pictures on our way to the Leaning Tower of Pisa (Torre pendente di Pisa).  The first part of the journey was to take a city bus from the Galilei International Airport to downtown Pisa. It was pretty cheap and didn't take long at all.

Rohan, Will & Kshiteesh
Will and Me - "under the Tuscan sun" ;)

Goofing off in the parking lot of the airport

Walking to the Tower after exiting the bus

The first of many
First siting
Once we arrived, we took our places in the queue. Little did we know, that you had to buy tickets for a particular time frame before hand, and only when your appointment was about to commence could you get in line. We bought the next available tickets (a few hours in the future) and grabbed some food. 

Will is on the right, but it ended up looking like Rohan had 4 arms...

Right as the sun was setting

Just for my mom, Pam
The Tower and surrounding cathedral (Duomo) in the Piazza del Duomo were worth the wait. They were beautiful, inside and out.  However, the extra time we spent to be able to see everything and trying to navigate Pisa at night to get to the train station made us extremely late for check-in in Florence.

Advice for Travellers
We normally print out Google Map directions to all the places we will need to go, but we did not have a map to guide us to the train station, and we did not have any way to advise our hostess of our late arrival other than various payphones that we found in Pisa. Learn from our mistakes and always bring some kind of map (or save an offline version in your phone or tablet) and research places with WiFi before you leave! That way, you can always find your way, and you can use email or Whatsapp to get in touch with your host, no matter what!

FYI, if you have a nice tour guide in the Tower, after she explains the history of the Tower in Italian, she will also explain it to you in English if you ask nicely!

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