9th June 2012
Seeing the Leaning Tower of Pisa wasn’t a factor when deciding which tour to do but it’s included so today I visited another famous place. We had to park outside the city walls again and the bus park was a real shock, it’s the first time we have encountered street vendors in any number. There were a few dozen just in the bus park trying to sell everything from knockoff bags to sunglasses to umbrellas to jewellery, you name it they had it. Mostly they were quite okay if you just said “no” firmly enough but there were a couple more persistent ones who the tour guide ended up speaking to rather sternly. I didn’t ask what nationality they were but heard someone say they would most likely be from Africa. It’s funny the things that make you so aware of being away from home, this was one for me.
We caught a little train thing closer to the walls and walked about 50 metres down a little side street following our guide. He stopped, we all stopped behind him like we do, he then took another couple of steps and turned right – and there was the Leaning Tower of Pisa!! What a wonderful way to see it for the first time, totally unexpected and unannounced, it was terrific. I was pretty awestruck then to actually be there and really did appreciate the theatrical way we were introduced.
I must say I didn’t have the patience to wait in line to climb the tower but instead wandered off to have lunch and a look at the town. Had a lovely melon granita and stumbled on some markets where I found a few treasures to top up my luggage (I had just posted 6kg home so what the heck). I bought a couple of old fashion magazines, one from 1958 and the other from 1960 as well as an old map of Rome that I’d love to have displayed on a wall one day. Think I might be a bit “sightseed” out at the moment because people watching and taking street life photos is about all I’ve done today. Then again, it doesn’t matter what I do so long as I am enjoying it I guess.