Being exhausted from last evening we got up bit late and had very good breakfast before hitting the road. According to our itinerary, distance to be covered was long one as our hotel was booked at Florence.
We took train to La Spezia, it was a crowded, got packed with each passing stations of Cinque Terre but became empty as soon as we crossed Riomaggiore. We had to wait a bit at La Spezia as train was coming from north was late. We heard trains in Italy sometime get delayed by few minutes to hours.
On our way to Florence we planned to visit the amazing 180 feet high Leaning Tower of Pisa - stop for taking pictures as we were crunched with time for visiting top sights.
At Pisa, we left our luggage at locker room of railway station went to “Duomo” by local bus, which was a quick way to get a glimpse of this old city. Pisa is also known for its famous university. As soon as we got down from bus we found the entrance was packed with hawkers and souvenir shops. It is a pretty common site in Italy to find people from North African countries trying to lure tourist with fake designer bags to sunglass.
After years of restoration leaning tower of Pisa now allows visitors to climb up 500 plus stairs to get a breath taking view and unique experience. But there was a small catch – we were told to wait for next five hours for our turn to come. With exhausted legs from yesterday’s hiking and dampened by the long queue we dropped the idea.
In the same campus there are three other key buildings which was also build around the same time. The bell tower only looks leaning once it is referenced against it surrounding. We started with the cathedral (duomo) influenced by Byzantine architecture with magnificent red tiles on the top.
After that we visited Baptistery- famous for its acoustics. And we were very fortunate to witness the same. There was a group visiting the same at the same time and one among them sang beautifully. Though we did not understand any words what that gentleman was singing but we experienced the power of music. It was a superb impromptu performance as every one inside stopped and made sure there was pin drop silence.
From there we went Camposanto (cemetery) which are guarded together by wall called as Field of Miracles. As we have nothing much to do we tried plenty of pictures where we tried to give a push or hold the tower
Back at station we picked luggage and boarded train to Florence. The view from the train was superb as we crossed the Arno River few times. The lush green of wheat fields with mountains at backdrop were very scenic with sun setting in west.
Arno river is very famous river as it flows through the famous Tuscany region. To some Arno divides Italy in north and south as there is vast political and socio-economical difference in those two parts.
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TIP: European trains are very particular in time not fit for people following Indian stretchable time. It’s always better to have some time in hand as they close the doors of train 5 minutes before departure.