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A little Pisa heaven (or, Florence you glad we came?)

16 September, 2008 (13:08) | hitch | By: hitch

I’m gonna run out of puns someday…but you’re not that lucky yet.
Day…um…Florence day! (I could figure out exactly what day it was, but I figure this fits in better with how well we managed to keep track of days while we were onboard – i.e. “not very”) This is the first full day we had – the first of three days in a row of 10+ hour tours. In retrospect it wasn’t all that bad; especially given our penchant for napping between tour and dinner.

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Had we been slated for the 7pm dinner seating I think we would have likely collapsed by the third tour. As it stood we got up, got dressed, swung by the buffet breakfast and off to the meeting point. Then off on a whirlwind tour of Florence. And I do mean whirlwind – the first thing I learned in Italy is that we have to go back to see everything we missed. All of the museums had lines hours long, as did most of the cathedrals. In particular we wanted to see the Dome of Santa Maria del Fiore. This was primarily because Robocop makes an amazing history teacher, and his episode on Renaissance Italy showed just how amazing this piece of architecture is. Again, though, hours and hours of lines. Still, we did get to see an amazing amount of the city, statues like you wouldn’t believe and just an all around beautiful city.

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I’m a little overwhelmed by the whole thing, quite frankly. I feel like we need to spend at least a few days there to really get a feel for the city and its flow. We didn’t have time to stop in any of the shops (aside from the few hand-picked by the cruise) and the restaurant we stopped in for lunch was a “five star” restaurant prepared for tourists. I suspect it showed in the food. The food on the entire trip was actually the biggest disappointment. Everywhere we went we ended up at tourist restaurants (until we hit Venice, but that’s for another post)

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that were all prepped and ready with a fairly good pasta followed by three consecutive days of a slice of beef, roasted potatoes, and peas. Wait, no, I’m sorry – the third day was a slice of chicken. I’m not complaining about the portions, or even the selection – but it seems unlikely that we’d be eating identical items three days in a row without some…coordination on someone’s part. I suspect it was chosen as “perfect for tourists” because it was bland and uninteresting. Bah. That’s reason number two to go back and spend some time in each city, for those of you keeping track at home.

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Finally, we ended up in Pisa. My favorite photo of Pisa isn’t the tower – it’s not even the gorgeous basilica (which has the distinction of being the first we saw on this trip and thus had all the impact of being unique. Something we’d lost by the time we got to St. Peter’s). No, my favorite picture from Pisa is of all the people standing posed to hold up the leaning tower, out of context.

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If you look carefully, I count at least 10. All my whining aside, it was an auspicious first day actually in Italy, and our enthusiasm only grew over the course of the trip.

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Florence and Pisa pictures are available here

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