Saturday, February 6, 2010
The Leaning Tower of Pisa
What’s the first thing you think of when someone says Italy? Often an image of Pisa’s famous leaning tower pops into one’s mind. This tower has been strewn across my school books for as long as I can remember and I knew that my trip to Italy would not be complete without the stereotypical picture of a tourist holding up the tower. So today we decided to go there, pretty much for the sole purpose of capturing the image you see here.
We hopped on the train around noon today and after cruising along for an hour with some rowdy Italian high schoolers, we were about to get off on our stop. The train conductor came around to check our tickets and all seven of us very narrowly avoided having to pay a 40 euro fine for not having our tickets “validated” before entering the train. That would have put quite a damper on the whole experience. Once we go to Pisa, we literally had no plan except to go around and ask some locals, “Dov’è the tower?” while making the leaning shape with our hands. Apparently Pisa is quite a small town because it was about a 5 minute walk from the train station to the tower.
Once we got there, after the initial shock of knowing that we were actually looking at The Leaning Tower of Pisa, we realized there wasn’t much to do but take pictures with it. The tower is not nearly as big or as leaning as you would think and it was hard to get a good picture with the literally hundreds of Asian Tourists blocking our view. After taking all seven of our individual pictures holding up the tower from every angle possible, we decided we should fork over the 15 euro to climb it. Unfortunately, because of mass quantities of the aforementioned tourist group, the tickets to climb were sold out. Instead we just looked around at all the tourist gift shops and tried to bargain with the vendors just for fun. I got a pretty sweet mask for Carnival next weekend which I had to dig through hundreds of mini Pinnocchio figures (who is apparently a native of Pisa) to find. Other than that we basically just got lunch and went back to Florence. Moral of the story: if you are in Italy, Pisa is worth the day trip, but don’t ever go there on vacation because you will run out of things to do after approximately 90 minutes.