10.23.2012

Day 6 :: Wine and Pizza in Tuscany

Leaning tower of Pisa

They both need a V8
Another day another city.  On cruise day 4 the port city was Livorno, Italy and our plan was to go to Pisa first and then Florence if we had time.  When I was researching the trip I found out that this port was not walkable so we booked a round trip shuttle to and from the train station through Royal Caribbean for $18 each and we had to meet on deck at 8:15am.  I still don't know how I became one of those freaky people who bounces out of bed every day full of energy especially given how long and exhausting our days were but once again I popped out of bed before the alarm while Mj had to hit snooze.  We had breakfast at the Windjammer and then headed for the gangway to get off the ship and find our shuttle.  The deck is pretty busy and chaotic in the mornings.  There are tour buses lined up and people running every which way.  We tried to find our shuttle but kept getting the run around.  We asked one bus driver who sent us to the next bus and that bus driver send us back to the first one.  Someone even told us we needed to go to some parking lot.  Finally someone knew what they were talking about and we were told that due to a Livorno train strike our shuttle had been canceled.  Without a train we couldn't get to Pisa and we would've been screwed but luckily they were able to find us a spot in the Pisa and Florence on your own shore excursion bus.  Shore excursions are fairly expensive but we were more then willing to to pay $99 each if it saved the day and let us go about the business of enjoying our vacation.  It was actually nice not having to worry about making the train and making it back to the ship in time.  All that is taken care of for you on a shore excursion.  It's like being on a middle school field trip.
Another beautiful cathedral

Yep, it's crooked! :: That's the cathedral behind me on the left
We were so excited that finally we were going to have a warm sunny day with no umbrellas.   We made it to Pisa and the world famous Leaning Tower of Pisa around 9:00am and then we were left alone to walk around and take pictures for about an hour.  The leaning tower is so cool!  It's so crooked and you know that but it's still so puzzling and bizarre to look at.  It was so cool to see it in person.  We didn't book tickets to go inside.  To go in you have to book a time slot in advance because they can only have so many people in the tower at a time.  Wouldn't want it to totally fall over!  We didn't  know exactly when we'd be there and didn't really care that much about going in anyways so we were fine with just seeing it.  Apparently there was a soil problem that caused it to lean and they tried to fix it but couldn't.  It was closed to the public in 1989 for about 10 years, closed again for some work and opened to the public again most recently in 2008.  The cathedral behind it was beautiful.
Pizza AND wine?  We're doing fine!
From there we got back on the bus and it was about 1 1/2 hours to Florence.  We got there around 11:30am.  We finally made it to Italy so you know what that means?  PIZZA!  Our first stop was lunch at a cute little restaurant.  We wedged ourselves into the tightly packed outdoor seating area.  We would find that throughout Europe they don't have hostesses.  You pretty much walk in and seat yourself wherever you want.  Mj and I split the most delicious Pizza I had ever tasted in my life.  It's thin, cheesy, just the perfect amount of oily and the crust is so good.  We had some wine and it was so nice and relaxing to sit and enjoy Pizza and wine under the Tuscan sun.   
Inside the Duomo Cathedral :: The mural was painted on the domed ceiling

I got my usual coffee flavor Gelato, Delicious!
Now that we'd had our Pizza fix we could set out to explore the city.  We walked the Duomo Cathedral and went inside.  It was beautiful. We spent time just walking around and taking in everything around us.  I bought a scarf from a street side vendor for 5 €.   You can't go to Italy without getting Pizza OR Gelato.  It was the perfect dessert.
Those steps went up and up for ever!!
We still had time so we decided to walk to Michelangelo Square and make the hike to the top.  It was pretty rigorous but we are always up for a physical challenge on vacation.  There were so many stairs!  I was breathing hard and starting to sweat by the time we made it to the top.

Awesome view of the Duomo Cathedral :: Mj used the zoom lens for this and the one below
We walked across that bridge to get here::  Those buildings sticking out are shops

We made it! :: Duomo Cathedral on the right
There was an amazing panoramic view of Florence at the top and it was worth every single step.  I mean seriously?  I turned around and just couldn't believe what I was seeing.  It's spectacular to look at.

Pizza #2, Not sure which one was better!!
After that Mj wanted more Pizza so we stopped to eat at the same place again around 3pm and had the same waiter.  Is it me or did he look at us funny?  I was still full from lunch but I found room for another slice.  We met our tour guide around 4pm and he lead us back to the bus.

We both fell asleep on the ride back to the ship.  We were a little nervous about this whole train strike thing so we stopped at the shore excursion desk to see if we could book a tour for Rome even though at $89 per person plus they are pretty expensive but they were all full.  Then it was time for our obligatory cat nap.  It might seem surprising that there was so much napping on vacation but we seriously needed it.  We were always up before 8am and our days were averaging 8-9 hours off the ship and then we had shows at night.  It was fun but exhausting!  We woke up and went to the Ice Skating Show at 7pm.  After the show we weren't hungry enough for the dining room which was fine because it was formal night so we couldn't go anyways.  Packing for two weeks was hard enough so we decided not to bother with formal attire.  We went to Windjammer to grab a bite to eat and then went to bed.  We needed to rest up for Rome which I was guessing would be our most exhausting day yet.

Next stop:  Rome, Italy

26 comments :

Kathy C. said...

ah... so jealous! Looks like you two are having an amazing time!!

Michelle said...

Love your pictures! It's making me want to travel RIGHT NOW :)

Amy said...

If I had any doubts about the leaning tower of Pisa actually leaning your pic cleared it up. Definitely crooked :)

Faith said...

i cannot believe that the tower really leans! so crazy. i loved your comment that the tower and hubby both needed a V8, lol.

your pictures are beautiful! makes me want to do the exact same trip!

Lauren said...

So far, this sounds like it was the most exciting day! :) The Leaning Tower of Pisa would be amazing to see in person. And it really is crooked - I mean, we all know that, but seeing it in the same picture as the Cathedral makes it look a lot more crooked than I thought it was! It's totally understandable that only a certain amount of people can go in at a time!

Your hike to Duomo Cathedral does look a bit exhausting, but wow! That view is beautiful! And the shops on the bridge are so cool! Sorry I'm writing a book, I love hearing the recaps. It looks like such a beautiful place! :)

Lauren
http://laurensweetnothings.blogspot.com/

Randi said...

How cool! That pizza looks amazing! Loving these photos!

Newlyweds on a Budget said...

I am loving the recaps! Italy is my favorite because it reminds me of when i studied abroad there.

Travel_The_World said...

I am enjoying reading about your vacation. Florence is a beautiful City. I am glad you and your hubby got to enjoy it!

CeCe said...

All this reminiscing is making me want to go back. I miss my Vacation!

CeCe said...

I hope you do go some day. It's a great experience! Maybe before you decide on any kiddos.

CeCe said...

I'm so glad you are enjoying the recaps. And yes, you know it's crooked but jeez...you realize just how much when you see it next to an upright building. I think it's off by like 5 degrees or something like that but I guess it's still safe to go in with limited quantities of course!

CeCe said...

I know two people who studied abroad in Italy and they all say it was one of the most wonderful experiences of their life. That's so cool you got to do that. It would not have even crossed my mind in College to do something so adventurous.

CeCe said...

We had so much fun. It was such an adventure to be in a new place every day.

CeCe said...

It was so good! Calorie counting definitely went out the window fast!!!

ShellyShell said...

The pics are beautiful. I did the same exact excursion. The only difference is we paid an Italian driver to drive us to Florence then to Pisa then back to Livorno. We had our own built in tour guide...lol! Funny I never had pizza the entire time I was in Italy! I had lots of wine though! LOL

ruthy ann said...

that pizza looks amazing! Looks like such a beautiful and fun trip!

Janna Renee said...

I would have eaten pizza twice too! YUM. Aaaahhhh I want to go to Italy!

Steph said...

Awesome pictures! Love the one with the steps in the background.

Nicole G said...

I almost don't want to comment on these posts because of how INSANELY JEALOUS I am!!

But, major kudos for eating pizza 2x in one day. Something I'd definitely do if given that chance! :-)

CeCe said...

If you like Pizza you missed out! It was so good. We went through multiple bottles of wine!

CeCe said...

Well thanks for commenting anyways! I would never do that at home but in Italy on vacation....it's on.

ShellyShell said...

I figured I lived in NYC and I get good pizza all the time...lol!

CeCe said...

So true!! You definitely have a point there. In fact, I went to NYC years ago and did NOT eat Pizza. What was I thinking???

Mrs. Pancakes said...

I've always wanted
To go
To Florence...loved your pictures! And the pizza omg looks soo good!

LWLH said...

I am loving all these pictures...and your experiences....take me!!

Stories of Kel said...

Ooh I think tis day would have been my fave. Amazing cathedrals and great sights and amazing pizza. yum!

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