Night Location: La Spezia, Italy
Song of the Day: Twist and Shout - Michael Buble'
Mumisode of the Day: Falling for Dad's Italian pronunciation of Pisa (PIZZA) and continuing to refer to the town in this way until Amber pointed out what was happening. Dad was referred to as a "naughty boy".
Today has been a fantastic day, somewhat unusual for us, as our transit days have been previously quite chaotic. Needless to say, there were no run-ins with Japanese tour groups, or crazy car parks or any boats, which definitely helps! We packed up early, said farewell to the converted farmhouse and the American camera crew that have been sitting in the hallway laughing, and headed for Pisa.
David had luckily for us done his research on some good carparks, and so we were able to stop really close to the tower. We had to ease our way through the throngs of tour groups, all vying for the best spot for a photograph and there it was! Pretty incredible up close; it genuinely looks like it could fall any minute. Gemma tried several times (at least ten) to capture a photo of the leaning tower 'falling' on Amber. Turns out, this is something that she really cannot do. Amber, no problem; Gemma disaster! We shall include some of the failed attempts in the album as well as the fantastic ones Amber took effortlessly.
David, again with the research, had found an incredible chocolate shop down in the town centre. We left the throngs of tourists and headed down the street to a much quieter section of town beside the river. It is actually a really interesting place; not what we were expecting at all. The chocolate shop was amazing and we all bought a wide variety of treats. Gemma particularly is impressed with the chocolate jalapenos that she is yet to try.
The next stop was Lucca. Hopefully, some of you will have watched the 'Top Gear' episode where the director's challenge was to navigate out of Lucca from the centre with no map or GPS through tiny cobbled lanes that involved tucking in mirrors and abandoning the vehicle and attempting to escape on foot. We were prepared, thanks to this episode, and so did not attempt to enter the town centre, nor did we attempt to drive the car up on the ramparts. Instead we chose to hire bikes and set off on the four kilometre ride around the top of the wall.
The city of Lucca has decided to use their medieval town wall by turning it into a 30 metre wide bike/walking track, complete with avenues of plane trees and sloping grass in the would-be moat. Over lunch, the children had to convince Mum that hiring a tandem bike to ride with Dad could be a bad decision. It took some convincing, but finally they settled for a pedal pushed cart complete with canopy, no gears and column brake. Mum spotted one in the bike yard, and guarded it from the American family that were also interested. Then, realizing that it needed to be hired inside, she charged in without money or a passport. The children were a little more conservative and hired regular bikes and off we set.
The ride was really beautiful. You definitely get to see an interesting side of the town from the ramparts. It was a little tricky to remember to keep right, but luckily there were no collisions. Interestingly, in spite of his cycling experience, David came the closest to colliding with a runner, as instead of focusing on the task at hand, he was making a study of a 'Scrabble' game as he whizzed past.
Currently we have checked into our hotel in La Spezia and have all made good use of the free and fast wireless Internet: very exciting after the last few days at the farmhouse with an inferior connection. Tomorrow we set off to the Cinque Terre and the stairs, hence the stretching done today during 'Twist and Shout'.