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Sidetrip to Pisa

ITALY | Saturday, 14 April 2007 | Views [572]

I really thought long and hard on how to spend my last full day in Rome. I have seen all the major tourist traps and I wanted none of it anymore. So I decided to catch a train to Pisa. So off to Termini I went, bought myself a ticket and waited for 2 hours, witnessing 2 Italians argue on the side, complete with hand gestures. The train ride to Pisa was really a non-event But as soon as I alighted from the train, my adventure began.

The thing with traveling is that you really get to judge what's the best guidebook out there especially if you have no iota of an idea on how to navigate a new city. And this was where TimeOut really lived up to its hype. With just TimeOut in one hand, I was able to find the Leaning Tower of Pisa all by myself, not asking a single Italian for directions. From the train station, I walked past the piazza and and through the main street. I walked past a bridge where I stopped for a few minutes to just absorb the view. Pisa was a quiet town at that time. But this didn't diminish its quaintness. Medieval buildings stretched as far as your eyes can see along the banks of the river. Quaint and quiet, a nice break from chaotic Rome. From the same bridge, one could see the dome of the Duomo, an assuring sight that I was on the right track.

The main street merged with a side street that's part of a grid of side streets that forms the heart of Pisa. At the end of this side street, the cathedral greets you in all its splendor. One quick look to your right and there it was - the leaning tower of Pisa. 

Seeing the tower was a surreal experience. No words could describe witnessing a tower that felt like it's gonna tilt to one side with the slightest jolt of the land it stands on. Or the thought that the people who paid to go inside and be on the highest floor of the tower could potentially make it fall if all them decided to converge on the one side where the tower was leaning.

Tourists outside were as entertaining as the tower itself. It felt like everyone had this conversation on how to pose for their photo and agreed to pose as if one were pushing the tower to make it stand erect. Everyone was doing it from all angles of the tower. Except me. Since most of my photos in this trip hardly involved me, I just decided to take photos of different people posing the same way which would definitely give me a good laugh as I begin to look back at this experience.

On the train back to Rome, I thought to myself that the leaning tower of Pisa was worth all the press that was written about it. And I was glad to have made the trip. 

Tags: italy, leaning tower, pisa, termini, train

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