Deaf Havana - The Past 6 Years
Thursday - For the Workforce, Drowning
A rough nights sleep if truth be told. I wasn't uncomfortable, I just couldn't nod off. I woke up (tons of f***ing times) just before 9 and pretty much got straight in the shower, no way was I missing breakfast. The shower was interesting, just me stood in a bath really with no curtain to stop me from potentially flooding the bathroom floor but at least I got it hot right from the start & admittedly too hot towards the end.
We headed down for breakfast at around 10 and it was nice & quiet so we'll be heading down there at that time for the rest of the trip probably. They had a good selection of fruit, cereal, breads, meats & cheeses and similarly a decent choice of drinks; tea, coffee, juice, milk & hot chocolate. I think I had a bit of everything except cereal food wise and a nice glass of pineapple juice to wash it all down with before leaving the hotel a short time after & heading towards the home of The Leaning Tower; Campo dei Miracoli, which translates as 'Field of Miracles'. We walked down a bit of a dodgy looking road as we made our approach to the piazza and The Leaning Tower and the Duomo came into focus. We were both impressed straight away and noted how it was all much grander than we thought it would be. We entered the grounds, took a couple pictures and then our unborn baby told Catherine, in no uncertain terms, that Catherine needs the toilet. This was becoming more regular but understandable of course because as the baby grows it puts more pressure on her bladder. When Catherine returned we looked into going up the tower which we didn't realise you could do until we walked in and saw people up there. The description stated that it's quite a hard walk, with around 300 steps to climb up a spiral staircase and some tight spaces to deal with. Catherine wasn't confident she'd be able to manage this in her current condition but didn't mind if I wanted to go up. I would have preferred it if both of us could of but at the same time I didn't want to miss out so I bought my ticket & had to wait til 12 o'clock to go up. In the meantime we walked around the Cathedral, it was impressive. The Italians sure do know how to build Cathedrals. It's 12th Century Façade was particularly impressive with its patterned surface of knots, flowers & animals and there was even a tomb in the wall for a man named Buscheto, who was the Duomo's original architect. Whilst inside, Catherine saw a Saint that died back in the 1100's body on display in a casket that was off to one side of the church and for some reason some real creepy music was playing in there but not an organist in sight as far as I could make out. We sat there for a while gazing at the marble flooring, golden ceiling & everything in-between until about 5 to 12 & I made my way over to the Leaning Tower. The weather was starting to brighten up after a cloudy start to the day and just in time too as I handed over my ticket & started the tricky climb up the spiral staircase.I could feel myself starting to lean on the way up & kept getting close to the wall somehow but I passed quite a few people on the way who had stopped for a breather & others that were looking through little windows that showed how empty the middle of the tower was & how far up they were. I overheard a tour guide telling her group that apparently all the buildings in The Field of Miracles lean because of their shallow foundations but none of them are as spectacular as The Leaning Tower. It took me just under 5 minutes I reckon to get to the observation area & was well worth it. The views were amazing. I had a great view over the whole Field.... and on the other side towards the mountains. In-between all that were the orangey/brown rooftops you see in many Italian cities but never tire of. I saw Catherine from up there and she took a picture of me waving towards her. I felt bad that she had to miss this. I was asked by someone who I presumed worked there if I wanted to go to the very top. I thought I already was to be honest but said yes anyway and managed to navigate the worlds smallest-probably-built-for-dwarves- staircase ever. Again worth it though as I looked out over Pisa & beyond and took it all in.
The climb down was much easier & I was re-united with my wife. I showed her the pictures I'd taken, including one of her and we headed off towards the toilet again as the baby was demanding it and after that wondered off to have more of a look around. We didn't get far as we stumbled across a restaurant & decided to sit outside and have a bite to eat. I had Spinach Ravioli in a creamy tomato sauce & Catherine had something Tortellini in a tomato sauce, it was nice, better than yesterday's pizza that's for sure.
We made our way towards a square called Piazza dei Cavalieri & it was nice there too, right in the heart of the student quater. It was originally occupied by Pisa's medieval town hall but was destroyed when the city was taken over by Florentine rule.
We headed back to the hotel for a while to have a little siesta. Well Catherine did while I sat & read for a while. When she awoke she suggested I try & find the supermarket that was mentioned in the hotel's hospitality guide, just to stock up on little bits for the room. She specified she'd like apples so at least that was something to go on.
Roughly 10mins later and I'd arrived at Pam's supermarket. It was bigger than I thought it would be, much like the apples I found. I also bought clementines, chocolate, lemonade, crisps and some biscotti all for just under €10, bargain. Catherine was impressed with my shopping, particularly the biscotti & apples. We both reckoned they were the nicest, juiciest apples we'd ever had!
I went down into the lobby and walked past Batman, a pimp and a guy dressed in a giant banana suit. Fair enough. I came down to ask at reception for train times to Florence & to use the computer as I couldn't get the Wi-Fi in the room to work & through doing so I saw I had a message from my cousin Jason. He was congratulating us on the baby news and jokingly (we hope) claimed it should help Catherine quash her drinking problem, which to be honest when Catherine heard this it made her feel a bit sad that she was in Italy and couldn't drink. She saw the funny side too, don't get me wrong but she does love her wine!
From what I've seen of Pisa so far I've liked but I don't think there's enough here to keep most people interested for more than a few days which is part of the reason that tomorrow, my birthday, we're off to Florence on the train. The other part of the reason is that Florence looks incredible so I'm really looking forward to it.
I popped out to get a bit of dinner and tried a pizzeria that Catherine pointed out yesterday and that in hindsight we should have gone in. It seemed a friendly place, lots of banter between staff & customers. I watched as they used a wood burning oven to make the pizza and before I knew it I was holding two brilliantly designed Pizza boxes in my hands and was making my way back to the hotel. It.Was.Delicous. Catherine loved it too but couldn't finish it so I gladly obliged.
We did a bit of planning for tomorrow while listening to the iPod and overall, we enjoyed our first full day in Pisa. Here's to tomorrow!