Today was the first day I woke up early (i.e. before 9am). I took the early train to Pisa, to see the famous leaning tower. The train was over an hour from Grosseto but it was a nice relaxing ride. Today was my first day on my own really and I had almost forgotten that I was on this journey by myself. Traveling by yourself is definitely weird at first. You decide what you do. You eat when you want. You do what you want. The first time I traveled alone I was 19 and heading to Paris to meet up with my sister. She arrived that night and I arrived that morning from Barcelona. I had the whole day to myself.
I hated it. I wandered around aimlessly and pretended to love it. Freedom! I told myself. Time to reflect, as well. I remember writing in my notebook and being quite happy. Then I had to eat on my own. I’m in one of the best places for food in the world, and I had one of the worst meals of my life (outside of hotels & airports because good meals in those places are an anomaly). A lot of it had to do with my intimidation by the language. Looking back, I was just young and inexperienced. I did not like eating by myself. After years of working ,and sometimes traveling alone, I’ve learned to enjoy it and be anything but ashamed of having a meal on my own.
Alright, back to the traveling. The walk from the train station to the piazza with the tower is a decent one, about 15-20 minutes. It is enjoyable too. You can take Corso Italia and stop in a few of the stores along the way. I am quite proud to say I went into Zara and didn’t buy anything. It was hard because a lot of the stores have everything on sale as they are getting rid of the winter clothes. The thought of having to carry it helped me resist.
After you cross the bridge and walk past the university, you arrive at the Piazza del Duomo. The leaning tower is immediately recognizable. It is quite a sight and I definitely recommend a visit on any trip to Italy. The cathedral is next to the tower and there are 2 other monuments in addition to two museums in the Piazza. I also visited the Cathedral as it is free to visit. There are a few positives to coming in the off season. Much fewer crowds, no waiting in line, the only drawback is that the weather doesn’t always cooperate.
I debated for a bit on whether or not to go up the tower. It costs 18 Euros and to be honest, a lot of historical experiences are wasted on me. In the end, I was not sure when I would be back, or if by then they would have shut down the ability to walk up it.
I’m so glad I did. As soon you enter, you can feel the tilt. You climb up the stairs and you can see the indents from years and years of walking. I’m not one who is normally afraid of heights but I was a little nervous at the top. I thought I would roll right into the frail fencing along the outside and fall. The tilt is that noticeable so that you actually feel pulled towards one side. The view was nice from the top and the tower probably only took me about 20 minutes. The stairs leave you a bit winded but nothing too bad.
I wrapped up my day with pizza and a cup of red wine (because seriously why would you drink anything else in Tuscany?). Although not the most exciting day of my life, I would call Pisa a success and another check on my imaginary bucket list.