Day 69 – Livorno
Livorno is quite a small town and not very touristy, mainly because there’s not a lot left there. It feels like it was once a nice place to come and visit, but it’s now all a bit run down and in some places literally falling apart.
There was a pretty good service station at the port so we refilled and emptied of all the various parts of the van. We also helped a whole group of Ukrainians who were trying to fill up their drinking bottles from the tap used to wash out people’s cassette toilets. There was no way I could stand by and watch them do it!
Then we were back on the road; next stop Pisa!
Day 70 – Pisa
Sticking to our plan to get up early we headed down to the Leaning Tower of Pisa to attempt to beat the crowds (which keeps autocorrecting itself to Piss). Wheb you actually see the tower you realise how much of a tilt it’s actually at. Pictures don’t quite do it justice. We hadn’t prebooked any tickets so Jack asked the miserable looking ticket collector outside the leaning tower where we could get them. He, with a look of complete disgust, said ‘Yellow building’ before turning to the stuck up woman who was first in the queue, rolling his eyes, tutted and they both laughed together as though it was a completely stupid question. Apparently customer service doesn’t come with a smile.
Despite this we headed towards the yellow building and were amazed by the cost of the tickets! For €18 you can get a ‘guided tour’ of the Leaning Tower of Pizza and the Cathedral. In comparison to all of the other tickets we’ve bought these are definitely the most expensive by a long shot! With our expensive tickets in hand we joined the end of the queue to see the happy man again. At our allotted time we were ushered inside to receive our ‘guided tour’ which basically comprised of a guide giving us a 5 minute introduction to the tower, most of which could be read from the large notice board directly behind him. We were let free to climb the steps which is an experience in itself! Think leaning backwards and stretching your legs as long as possible in order to reach the next step while going up the lean, and on the downwards lean, leaning forwards and feeling as though you’re going to do a forwards roll. We did learn that in order to make it safer the tilt in the tower was reduced to 5 degrees and we thought we’d test it out at the top. It was hilarious watching all of the fellow tourists pile into the gardens taking their typical tourist pose photos. After walking round the top a couple of times, just because of how weird it was, we went back down to take our own photos.
Up next was the cathedral so we joined the queue to get inside. By this time the area was filling up quite quickly with tourists which made us glad we’d got up early! It was beautiful inside but in comparison to the mosaics in Ravenna seemed a bit plain. Well if huge arches, beautiful frescos and a gold ceiling can look plain, but you know what I mean.
Pretty much everything to see in Pisa is in the one big square where the Leaning Tower is, but you have to pay extra to go inside any of them. Instead we headed through the cobbled streets to the riverfront. It’s a shame that the majority of money is put into the part where the cathedral and tower is as the walk along the river shows how run down some of the old buildings are. Even heading up the high street it seemed a little sad and very quiet in comparison to the swarms of people elsewhere in the city.
We headed back to the van and moved a little bit further north to the beach at Via Reggio. After some chilling and some food we went for a walk along the seafront. It’s really strange along the beaches in Italy and France, they’re all divided up into sections owned by the beach bars which means you have to walk through a beach bar to get to the beach. There’s also no ‘free’ area so people feel obliged to spend money in the bars which is a bit annoying for us and our skint ways. On or way back to the van we stopped through the marina to pick out which boat we’d like to own out of the ones docked. We settled for a 4 storey yacht which looked a bit posh.
Make sure you out more of my posts on our Europe Road Trip across 3 months, 7,000 miles and 15 countries.
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