Today we got a lie in and even woke up before our 8.45am alarm went off. We got up, dressed and was out the apartment by 9.15am for a leisurely walk to the station.
We arrived with good time so had time to get some cannoli and peach juice as breakfast. The train was unbelievably crowded but we managed to get a seat. This was our only train without reserved seats as the Florence- Pisa line is very short. Despite the air conditioning the extra bodies made the train very hot and I was relieved to get off and have some fresh air!
Straight in front of the station was the vittorio emmanuelle square where we could see the Keith Harring mural, the largest mural in Europe, which was good. Very colourful!
We then had a walk down Corsa Italia, the main high street, ducking into shops for the air conditioning. The weather was about 32, about 13 degrees cooler than we're used to in Florence, but we were still sticky. The shops all have sales on and it was frustrating knowing we couldn't handle the extra luggage weight, so many good bargains!
We went to the Knights square, the medieval political hub, which has some beautiful buildings and had lunch on a street just off to the side. I had a ravioli whilst Adam had a pizza. I had prosecco too and finished off the meal with ice cream from their gelato counter. It was a very nice meal.
Afterwards we headed to the square of miracles, which is where the main attractions of Pisa sit. These include the baptistery (the largest in Italy), the duomo, the cemetery and of course, the leaning tower of Pisa! Everything is very beautiful and there was a nice breeze running through the square.
We had tickets to enter all the monuments. The baptistery was a bit plain on the inside, despite its intricate exterior facade. However a lady did some singing in there which showed off the amazing acoustics.
The duomo was very nice. We've seen a fair few during our time in Italy and this one was very traditional but still grand and quite impressive.
Then we had our time slot to enter the tower. We climbed the 300 odd steps to the top, it was quite a job! Sometimes the lean would work for you and it was like climbing steps but going downhill but when you were going uphill and climbing steps, that was a killer! The views over Pisa at the top were spectacular. Our photo is taken at the top of the tower.
Then we went to the camposanto monumentale. It's believed to be the most beautiful cemetery in the world and it's certainly the best I've seen. It was very pretty.
Afterwards we had plans to go see the botanical gardens but they were shut due to construction so instead we decided to go for a bite to eat before the train home.
We found a restaurant in the square in front of the station. We had a nice meal. Adam had ravioli and coke whilst I had gnocchi and wine (which was 1.20 a glass!).
So I'll just explain how we work things out financially. Our spending money was pooled in a kitty which I split between 27 envelopes, each marked with the date. It was ensured that the money in the envelopes would cover food in each of the places (taking into account the average price for that city) and also any miscellaneous activities or transport we might also have that day.
So far it's worked out well, each night I empty the next day's envelope into my purse. If I got my purse stolen then it would only be a minor inconvenience in this scenario. Alongside that in my purse I have another little pocket with some misc kitty money in, just to cover going over the daily budget. If worse comes to worse Adam has a card on him that doesn't charge to withdraw cash abroad.
So we're at the restaurant and the bill comes and it's 26 euros. A bit higher than I thought because the cover charge is 5 euros, much higher than at other restaurants but whatever. So I go into my purse and there is only 25 euros... Plus I changed my handbag and didn't transfer over the 'spare' kitty money. So I told Adam we would need to use his card...which he told me he didn't pick up this morning.
So we're a euro short. Adam suggests putting down the money and just quickly walking off but I'm not too sure. As we're talking about it the waitress comes to collect the bill money and we're forced to admit we're a bit short.
Now really you wouldn't think this would be too much of a problem, we're the equivalent of 80p short and they've charged us a cover charge that is the same as a main meal. But it was a problem. Multiple members of staff were called, they told us again and again we had to pay the bill and we told them again and again we would if we had any way to. It was all very stressful and quite embarrassing. In the end they very reluctantly let us leave, I was so glad to get out of the place!
We got to the station half an hour before our train was due to depart and went and sat on the platform. 5 minutes before we were due to leave I was confused why the information hasn't flashed up on the platform board so went back to the main office to check. Our train had been delayed by 40 minutes. Luckily there was another train heading to Florence on the next platform that we jumped into. It got us there 10 minutes earlier than our one would have so its a result!
Heading to Rome tomorrow so we're packing tonight!