Pizza in Pisa
Trip Start May 22, 2011
13Trip End Jun 03, 2011
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Our day started with a delightful breakfast in our hotel dining room at the Grand Hotel Duomo in Pisa, Italy. The hotel was a time warp from the 1950s, yet Expedia claims it is a 4-star. Everything was very clean, but the furnishings haven't been changed for multiple decades. While we dined on the white linen tableclothes and white bone china Big Band music played in the background. I expected Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire to join us for breakfast.
Off to the site we came to this small town to see ... The Leaning Tower of Pisa. After a 10-year restoration project to straighten the tower by 18", it was finally reopened to climbers last year. Yes, we climbed the 264 steps to the top of the famous bell tower. Yes, it really does lean, and it is very noticeable. Yes, it is easy to get seasick from walking up the spiral staircase as it goes from one side to the other. Near the top the width of the stairs was only about 18," and each stone step was concave in the center where millions of feet have climbed over them for hundreds of years. Once at the top, though, you could see the entire skyline of Pisa against the summer blue sky. The jade green grassy park below the Tower contrasted beautifully with the Tower's white stone. Two recommendations for the Tower: a bathroom and drinking fountain on top.
Once again on the ground Madison and I took the requisite 'I'm holding up the Tower" and "I'm pushing over the Tower" pictures with the use of depth of field. Of course, every other of the thousand or so tourists there was also taking the same pictures.
With a couple of hours to fill before our train left for Rome, we followed the city map to the birthplace of Galileo here in Pisa. We also had time to enjoy a bona fide, authentic Italian pizza so we could have "Pizza in Pisa."
After the three hour train ride to Rome, we arrived around 4 p.m. Our first impression is that Rome is not a clean city and its Metro stations are even worse. They are all very dark, not well-lit at all, and just give off that creepy feel. But we journeyed out to see the Pantheon with the gaping hole in the center of the ceiling that dates back to 24 A.D., had our photos taken with a Roman soldier, tossed coins in the Trevi Fountain, and climbed the Spanish Steps.... All in a single late afternoon/early evening. There were literally thousands of people at each tourist spot - very crowded. Madison made the comment that she had a new understanding of just what it meant for Jesus to wash the disciples' feet from seeing all the dirt in today's Rome - she's so wise.
For dinner we found a quaint little neighborhood ristorante and had authentic Italian pasta for dinner. Madison had the fettuccini, and I had the ravioli. Both were hand prepared by an elderly man who did not speak any English. I tried to compliment him on the food but he just threw up his hands and went back to the kitchen.
So back to the hotel for an evening's rest before heading out to the Vatican for a tour at 8 a.m. tomorrow morning. We'll see if these Baptist girls bend under all the Catholic influences we have encountered.