Today is the day we get to see the leaning tower of Pisa. It was a long day yesterday and we were all exhausted, so we made the most of a sleep in, except Cheryl who was up rather early to go for a sprint around the block. When Cheryl got back, we went downstairs for a very nice breakfast. Following that we went back to our rooms to pack, as we will be leaving for Tuscany after seeing the leaning tower. I chatted with the lovely girl at reception. She gave me the full tourist spiel, then said to me the worst part of explaining things was folding the map up afterwards. True to form, it was a mess. Reminded me of Captain Parmeter on F-Troop.
We set off on the recommended trail, and eventually made it to the tower. I have attached a picture to prove it. I must say that most things in Italy are crooked, and this is no exception. The tower was designed by Bonanno Pisano and Gherardo din Gherardo. It commenced in 1173 and was completed in the mid 1300's. Given the construction time, I would suggest this I where the CFMEU have their roots also.
Like most things in Europe, there is also an Australian connection. I was speaking to a couple of the locals in AusTalian and they told me that Bonnano and Gherardo's wife's cousins, Salvatore and Gino Opalia emigrated to Australia on the first fleet in 1788. They were also architects and builders. Their craft has been handed down through the generations, and their work can be seen in the high-rise apartments built in Sydney today.
Brian and I were drooling over the Lamborghini car display. There was a whole range from early models to the latest. There is so much wealth over here. Brian also took us around to the back of the buildings to show us how the tower was being held up at the moment, using cables, and counterweights. It is on a 4 deg lean. It was actually leaning before they finished it. The architects tried to rectify things by building the last three stories a little more upright.
Well, that's the tower, a site well worth seeing.
Our next stop was the airport to pick up the hire car to go to our Karma resort in Tuscany. What was supposed to be a reasonably economical exercise turned out costing a fortune. You would have thought we hired a whole fleet of cars, but we only hired a Jeep Renegade. Cheryl and Brian are the insured drivers, I am the navigator and Dianne is the road alert alarm.
Brian volunteered to be first driver. We picked up the car, looked at each other and said, "how do we get out of the carpark?" None of us has driven left hand drive before, so we knew this was going to be a little nerve wracking. I set the sat nav up, hoping that I set the right journey. (you cannot put exact streets into the sat nav. It accepts localities, and you get a choice) I failed my first navigation job giving Brian instructions to go the wrong way out of the carpark. THIS is going to be a long trip.
Brian did really well, and we only scraped one Armco rail. (you could say it was a flesh wound) Fortunately, there were some scratches on that side of the car. We did mow down quite a bit of bush on the verges, but have agreed not to charge for that, we will just put it down to community service. The driver alert was working well in the back seat, all we have to do now is work out how to turn it off.
The Karma resort is located high up in the hills in Tuscany, approximately halfway between Pisa and Florence. It is a refurbished old Manor House, and it has a great feel about it.
We checked in and went to the restaurant for lunch. Whilst the lunch was very nice, we had to mortgage the house to pay for the bill. Thank god the interest rates are coming down!
Having been stung we decided to go to the supermarket to stock up. This meant another drive of around 8 KM's to Colleoli on a very narrow goat track, with Enzo Ferrari coming the other way.
What made it worse was the driver alert in the back kept going off and we couldn't stop it. Brian offered Cheryl the opportunity to drive, and she couldn't see the need to change since Brian was doing such a good job.
We made it to the supermarket, although we went in the wrong entrance and upset one of the locals. We all got out and kissed the ground like the Pope does (I can see the reason now; it all makes sense.) Every time we come to Italy and France we rave about the Fruit and Vege's; they have a taste of their own. Today is no exception.
Coming back to the Karma Resort was just as hilarious, but we made it. Brian has done an excellent job.
We are looking forward to a rest day tomorrow, and hopefully Brian can fix the driver alert system.