We settled ourselves in a 2 bedroom modular cabin which had a nice kitchen and was quiet new and then walked up to the Tower of Pizza which was 5-10 minutes away on foot (depending how energetic you are)
. The first impression you get is WOW! After studying about it, looking at pictures most of your life I still don't think they prepare you for the real thing. It was magnificent - you just want to get and push the thing back in place! The leaning tower is in stark contrast to the upright architecture of the square, upright structure of the neighboring church and the round baptistery set in lush green grass. WE reached the Tower at about 4.30pm yet there was still a fair smattering of visitors all taking the mandatory shot of holding the building up ETC. We thought we were too late to go up the tower as they only let groups of 30 people up at a time but we did catch the 7 pm tour and cost 20 euro each to partake. I found the ticket person uninformative and pretty rude for a someone who was in the service industry - though I guess we were there at the end of the day.
Daniel was quiet enthused about this visit as he had studied the tower in detail in grade 7 when he put together a great little model of the tower under the expert tutelage of Dr Andrew Lawson ESQ of Gold Coast Christian school fame! It was really stray to walk up the tower as on one side whilst ascending the spiral staircase you rube your shoulder on the outside wall and it was easy to walk as the steps appeared to flatten out and then on the other side you were bumping your head on the inside wall and the stairs appear to get a lot steeper
. When you get to the second level from the top you wait for the tour group before to descend from the very top platform. When we visited there was work going happening on this platform and the view was obscured via net. This is the platform where the bells are situated. I would hate to be there when they tolled!! They are huge. The view from the top is magnificent and worth the climb - If just to say you were there on that magnificent freak of nature which is still standing when everything says it shouldn't be.
We didn't get to go into the church or the baptistery as they were closed so. You pay another fee for entry to these. I think the baptistery would be magnificent as it is proof of baptism by immersion in the early church as a biblical concept.
I will mention the little cafe/restaurant that we went into. It is just a little kebab shop down the road run by a Sri Lankan man. He has an Indian menu also and the food was great and the price was also. You can find it if you walk out the front gates and turn right and walk down toward the roundabout on the left side of the road. It was one of our better value meals in Italy though we did feel like we should be eating PIZZA is Pisa.
We hired a car - VW 1.6 - amazing how big it really is on the interior since it is a small car. Paul drove - had fun driving the wrong side of the road. With Sonya biting her nails and pumping an imaginary brake on the right, we arrived in Pisa in the afternoon. We thought once we got into to the town we would see the Tower of Pisa and be able to locate it as our map was pretty basic. WRONG!!! You have to wind your way through the small town to the other side and then you will see groups of tourists walking out from an ancient wall with masses of stall (more / same really) lining the footpath inside and outside the wall. From there we made our way to a camping village which while not that great a value had the bonus of being in easy walking distance of the Tower which proved to be great as there is only very few parks anywhere near the complex.