This morning's departure was a bit later so we got a small sleep in, Leaving Nice and off to ITALY, Florance. The drive was along the cliff face again overlooking the Mediterranean, We had a stop off within 45 minutes at one of the oldest French perfumeries which was tucked away in the gorgeous cliff side. This was a quick 10 minute tour of the factory and information on how perfumes were made and the history of the smelly king who wouldn't bath- hence the creation of perfume to hide his odor. Very expensive stuff so we left shortly after the tour.
The drive was then on a slightly tight schedule so Lara and Levi could show us the leaning tower of Pisa. Lunch was an hour stop and was a real experience. Lara gave us a heads up that Italian style of service was inefficient and messy and chaotic. This was no joke. There is no lines and no sensible system then they got angry when we were all confused. It was really had to deal with for all of us in the industry it was even worse.
Onto the town of Pisa which was interesting. Driving in the place looked really third world and just old and poor. History is that it was a originally a very wealthy pat of Italy because it had a massive river system running through it so they would tax ships coming through and also the sailors would spend lots when they docked. Anyway, this river dried up over the years and ships stopped coming through so the town has really diminished.
The leaning tower was great to see but this was a rushed visit so it was a couple of quick classic photos and then back on the bus. Another hour or so to Florance and driving in Lara told us that she actually used to live and study here so we had a local with us and as she described it, we were under here wing and we would be looked after here. Bags up to the rooms which were amazing! They were huge with balconies and elaborate decor. Jen opened the balcony door then ran in screaming which in turn made me scream.. There was a bird on the balcony! It flew at here when she opened the door because it's nest was out there in the corner. Funny moment. We didn't go out there again.
We only had a few minutes in the room then back on the coach so Levi could take us to dinner. Coaches do not fit on most of the Italian roads so we had to walk a while to get to the restaurant. This dinner was amazing. Jen and I sat with the Canadian couple Andrew and Akira, the lone American Kat and Sarah from Adelaide, This was pure Italian food, wine and service. From dinner it was onto a Karaoke bar which is owned and run by a man who Lara was really close to. She said he was like her second Dad who taught her Italian, found her a house and also covered the bond on it. This was a great bar and there was a few other Contiki groups there but unfortunately, nearly the entire bus was sick with the flu so we all sat in the corner waiting for the bus back to the hotel which Lara said was never been so full before coming from this bar. Only two guys stayed behind because they bought 3 lites of beer each which came in big rocket containers with sparklers on top of it. All of us were back and in bed by 10:30pm.