The problem with our style travelling - limited to 3 weeks due to finaces and the business - is that we can only taste a bit of everywhere. But the flavours are amazing so what to do?
Left the Cinque Terre hotel with a degree of confidence. Taxi rank had been sussed out and train schedule checked. Got to the taxis - well where the taxis should be - and not one in sight. Waited for a while before I mustered up my Italian (that didnt take long, all of 2 words) and asked a group of fine young Italian lads. Their English vocab was in line with my Italian - but I did catch the word "PROBLEMO" Good thats now 3 words. Something was happening - who knows what - but managed to work out I need to get a bus ticket and catch the 4-oh or 9-oh or 12-oh bus. Oh-k. Duly done and caught a slightly later train than expected for Florence. Problemo solved!
The thing with going to Florence is that you pass the town of Pisa. This means you leap off the train, pop into left baggage and leave your bits there, purchase the local tourist map and walk the 1.5km. Naturally we got lost but by some lucky observation saw the famous lean between the other quite straight buildings and managed to get ourselves there. I dont know how we could miss it - as there were at least 100 000 people milling around who had found it!
Bigger and more glamourous than expected (so small in the books and postcards!) and altogether quite amazing. We slipped into the breathtaking cathedral and Baptisory. The Baptistory - a glorious stone building amplifies sound and several men sang whilst we were there. Hauntingly beautiful. Well at least it was until John decided to let out a yobo "Coooeee" grrrrrrr. Shusshed him up vey quickly I did.
I could have spent hours there - admiring the buildings so steeped in history or people watching. Of course every tourist in town is standing on a bollard or the lawn getting a photo taken of themselves lifting, holding or pushing the tower. (no wonder I thought it was so small) looking like mini modern day statues albeit fully clothed unlike most of the statues Ive seen recently.
It took 344 years to finish this bell tower. Which reminds me of some of my craft projects. You get started - somthing goes wrong and takes forever to get it sorted and completed!
Decided we could have stayed on there in the pretty town of Pisa but Florence was calling. Again on the train and eventually arrived to Bernadettas home. A homestay on the 3rd floor on the river. Timber shutters, marble floors, a hallway as wide as a bedroom and old things around. Like the mirror on the wall which was made before Australia was discoverd by Cpt Cook. Simply gorgeous. And friendly.
Dinner at Bernadetta's recomended local cafe produced some amazing mussels and pasta, sword fish and artichokes and a faboulous glass of red. which had me leaning over as much as the tower. (exhaustion of course!)