Now here I was on my way to my third city of the day – PISA, Tuscany! This is probably a city that most people have heard of because of its famous leaning tower, but are probably not that familiar with the details of the city itself.
I had some time to explore. So I decided to take a long walk towards the Leaning Tower of Pisa which was located about 20 to 30 minutes away from the train station. Since I was already happily satisfied with my earlier two visits, I didn’t have much expectations. But, soon, I was about to be pleasantly surprised to see a vibrant hint of Italy within the city of Pisa, and not just the tourist areas!
As most people are aware of, the Piazza dei Miracoli or Field of Miracles area is considered a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Here, one will find the four famous sites of Pisa: The Torre Pendente (The Leaning Tower of Pisa), Duomo di Pisa (Cathedral of Pisa), Battistero (Baptistry), and Campo Santo Monumentale (Cemetery). The Museo del Opera del Duomo and Museo delle Sinopie nearby also offer some interesting collections that many visitors tend to skip after seeing the four sites.
While I have seen photos of this place and of those funny pictures people tipping or leaning on the Pisa Tower, seeing it in person was kind of extraordinary. I could really sense how big it was and how special this place was. I mean, look at this! See how white and big this place is?!
It was unfortunate that I didn’t have enough time to go up to the Tower or check out the Duomo. (Plus, they were about to close pretty soon.) But those who do have more time should make that visit if you are there!
It was also nice to see how all the families and friends made themselves comfortable at the large green grass part of the Piazza. Even though there must have been a lot of interesting details to check out at the inner part of the museums and Tower, watching them I could see that this Piazza itself offered a pleasant place for people to enjoy. It was nice to just sit outside and admire.
Now that was the main tourist part, but is there anything else to check out at Pisa? And I would say yes! There is a bit. Though my time there was really short, I was happy that I got the chance to enjoy the Italian style streets and cafes. The main street walking towards the tower is very fun! In fact, I stopped few times to admire how different these streets were from the ones I saw at Bologna, Florence, San Gimignano or Siena. It was just different and fun!
Furthermore, the bridge area was cute! By the time I was heading back to the train station, there were many couples and family out to enjoy the evening with their gelatos.
I had one too at this shop next to the bridge. I went because it was crowded and it was yummy.
I continued walking on one side of the street, which allowed me to witness the beautiful Pisa river area. Did you realize that Pisa offered such a view that is different from Florence?
It was becoming quite late. I wanted to hope on another train to Genova, but I decided not to when the train officer politely informed me that there is no train to that direction. (Later it turns out that there was a train but it was not an Italian line so they didn’t know about it.) Anyway, three visits within one day was a handful, though it didn’t feel like it. Every time I got off that train stop I would feel like I just started a day, and every time I return to the train station I would feel like I have just ended a day. So each trip felt like it was its own and I was happy I have gotten the chance to enjoy all three very different parts of Tuscany that day.
The train ride back home was a long one. From Pisa, the train back to Vienna would have to pass through Florence, Bologna before it enters to Austria. It took another thirteen hours or more but it turned out to be quite an interesting one for I befriended another stranger!
Who knew how fun train rides could be? I wasn’t actually seeking for conversations, but it is so easy to start on one when you are sitting alone inside a train compartment or seeking a seat alone. This time it was a group who came into my compartment. Turns out it was four French, all from different areas and different ethnicity, following one Italian guy. They got to know each other through a film festival and they both were coming back from enjoying a day at Florence. They were returning to Bologna because it was the Italian guy’s home for he was studying film. So within the same day, I got a chance to talk with Opera singers from Paris and a film studying student from Bologna. How fascinating is that?! In fact, this pattern of meeting and starting random fun conversations with strangers continued throughout my journey.
They got off at Bologna. After some talk, he kindly shared a list of “good films to watch that are placed in Italy” in which he signed his name. We didn’t exchange contacts for that felt rude at that time. But if he does come across this post, I hope to say thank you for the suggestions and thank you for the nice chat. At both meetings, I’m happy to say I think I’ve encouraged them to both try making a visit to Korea and to the USA!
Who said traveling alone was boring? I smiled and felled asleep quite deeply throughout the train ride back home.
Thanks for reading this far. But the journey continues..guess where Miss Kang went for her 10th trip. For she decided to go a bit further again..to..Hamburg!