Friday, July 20, 2007

9/7/07: Pisa, Italy - part 1: Awesome Area for an Aria

Houses on the Arno in PisaFrom the coast there are far more buses towards Pisa than from the village, so we took the opportunity to sample public transport life. It's a nice ride, along the sea side, through quiet fishing villages and along the grandiose river Arno. The Arno is familiar to Catherine from her days singing Italian opera tunes. Many are the poor lovelorn souls who had proceeded to throw themselves into this stretch of water after a lengthy song on that very subject. Promptly followed by the man or woman who actually loved them after all and then pretty much the rest of the family. My understanding is that if anyone is left standing at the end of an opera, the audience pretty much tears the chairs up and demands their money back.

The Arno in Pisa againThe bus drops you at the bus station a little out from the centre, but not quite "the middle of nowhere" as the guide book puts it. Admittedly it's not right underneath the Leaning Tower, but it forces you to study the geography of the town and exercise those legs.

The first thing we did when we got there is had our morning coffee. However, this being Italy and because we didn't specify any further we got espressos. Espressos so strong they gave us twice the recommended daily dose of coffee in a cup the size of a boil. It was tasty coffee, however.

The Famous Upright Building of PisaOnce the coffee had been downed, we moved on. We walked up to the Arno, peered in, looking for fished and drowned tenors, and then wandered up to and over the next bridge. Over the bridge and you are in the city centre. Streets are narrower and tourists wider.

The very outskirts of the town had been horrible in that dirty and dusty, industrialised way a lot of small towns are. The centre is much, much nicer, and bits of it are architecturally wonderful.

narrow shopping streetWe wandered for a bit in the narrow part of town until we found a small park where we had the brunch we had made that morning. There we planned our attack.
Facade of old church
door of old church
Pigeon in tree knot

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