.... Still Loving Italy.

Trip Start Sep 07, 2011
Trip End Jul 18, 2012

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Flag of Italy  , Tuscany,
Sunday, December 11, 2011

Saturday December 3, 2011

We woke up early to catch a morning train to Pisa the next day. We left a little before 9am arriving in Pisa around 10am. The train station in Pisa didn't have any tourists maps, but they told us we could go to the hotel across the street and they would give us one, which they did. We then journeyed our way to the Leaning Tower of Pisa which was on the other side of the city. It was a little cloudy and looked like it was going to rain so we tried to hurry to get over there. We got a little lost at one point trying to find the tower then I looked up and saw it over in the distance and we were both like, "Ahh! There it is!" and just followed the road to it.

Next to the tower is also two other structures which I think were a church and something else.. Not sure. But all of these were on one big open lawn. There was also a tourist market along the street as well. We took several pictures, of course, and it took us forever to figure out the right distance from the tower we needed to be and at what angle the camera had to be in order to get the "pushing up the tower" picture. There were also vendors along the street selling different items and one actually convinced us to buy a watch from him. I got a black and gold Louis Vuitton watch for 20 euros (fake or not, I still love it).

After walking around the tower, taking pictures, and stopping at the tourists shops along the street we went back into the city. There isn't much else to Pisa besides the tower. There are stores, of course, bakeries, and another old bridge but that's about it. We were told we needed to go to this one restaurant for lunch though because the served 1 meter long pizzas so we searched and searched for it but because of the crazy tiny Italian streets, and some of which don't even post names of the street on the map, it took us forever to find it. Once we did, it was already too late for lunch and they weren't serving the meter long pizzas anymore :(. So we just decided to pick another place to eat. We randomly picked this one family owned shop in some alley, but it was the best decision ever. The pizza here was so good, even better than the night before. It was also in a great location. We ate outside on the quiet patio in the narrow street amongst all the old buildings watching all the Italians walk by.
After our great lunch we needed to catch the train back to Florence. We got a ticket for around 4pm and went to our platform to wait for it to arrive. There were a lot of people and when the train came everyone was all crowded together trying to get on the train at one time. I went ahead of Megan and was looking for a place for us to sit. Once we got seated Megan said someone had tried to pick-pocket her and all of the zippers of her purse had been opened. However, she looked through everything and nothing was missing thank goodness. She said while she was in the big crowd of people she had her purse a little on the side of her hip and could feel something very light moving it and out of the corner of her eye could see a girl staring right at her (we're assuming to look for an expression on Megan's face to see if she noticed) and then she quickly pulled her purse in front of her. She was a little freaked out after that happened, but luckily nothing was taken and it didn't happen for the rest of the trip. We definitely kept a good eye out for the remainder of time though.

Once we arrived in Florence around 5pm we went back to our hostel to rest for a while again. We started to pack up a little since we had to leave early in the morning. Afterward, I ended up falling asleep and took a nap for a while. I think Megan was on her iPod and skyped with her family. We then were starting to get hungry again and decided to look for another restaurant. We didn't have anything in particular in mind this time and just walked the streets to find something. We came across another family owned place we thought we'd try since we had so much luck for lunch. As we walked by the special was posted on the window that was a main dish, a "side" dish, a glass of wine, and a huge platter of bread for 10 euros that we that was a pretty good deal and the waitress was outside trying to get us to come in. So, we decided to try it and went inside. I had a glass of red wine with spaghetti and a side platter of something I just picked off the menu because I didn't know any of it. It ended up being a slab of some mystery meat. I think it might have been pork, but it honestly grossed me out a little because I couldn't tell what it was. I didn't eat much of it. The spaghetti was alright, but nothing like what I expected. The wine and bread were very good and I left very full. We passed up dessert this time.

We then went back to our hostel and rested for a while again. This time we both took a little nap. Later we contemplated going out or not because we were both tired and needed to get up early the next day for our flight, but decided it would be our only opportunity to go out in Italy so we had to make the most of it. So we got dressed up, found this club I found online that had a good rating and went for it. It was a little eery walking the streets of Italy at night, but everything was fine. We made to the club, went in, and bought only one drink because it was pretty expensive. There weren't a whole lot of people there yet because it was still early (about midnight.. I'm finding this is quite early for Europeans), however later much more people came and started dancing. When everyone was there I had to take a step back and observe everything in the room. It felt and looked as if I was with the people from Jersey Shore and the mafia all at the same time. There was such a mix of people. The young people with their slicked back hair trying to be all cool and then a bunch of older men in their nice suits.

After a couple hours we decided to go back to the hostel. We walked quickly back home, as we did not like walking the streets of Florence at night, and made it back fine. We went right to sleep and had to get up at 7am to catch our flight back to Vienna at 11am.

It was quite a trek getting back home and we now wondered why we didn't just take another train back. At first we thought it was going to be cheaper and easier to fly back, but I'm not so sure if we were right. We had to take the bus from the Florence train station to the airport, do all the airport junk (which we allowed more than enough time for), had a connecting flight to Dusseldorf, and then flew to Vienna. We fly with Air Berlin which I'm a big fan of. It's a nice airline which offers free snacks and gives you chocolate when you leave the plane. Anyone that gives me free chocolate I'm a fan of. After arriving in Vienna we had to take another bus to the train station, get a train back to Linz (which we accidentally sat in the first class and had to move and lug all of our luggage all the way down the train to get to the second class) and then finally we were back home!

This was definitely one of my favorite trips so far. I really loved Italy- the culture, history, people, warmer weather, food, everything. It was a really great experience, and I'm looking forward to going back again.
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