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[Pisa, Italy]

From Florence, we took the train to Pisa just for a quick stopover to see the Leaning Tower. We arrived at the Railway Station, and went searching for the Left Luggage where we could leave our bags. We knew there was one there as we'd read about it online, however I don't recall seeing any obvious signs about it. Anyway we found it, dropped our bags, grabbed a bus ticket from the cigarette shop and headed on our way.

The area of the tower really is beautiful with all the old white marble buildings, lovely green grass and plenty of open space. What was weird though, was the tens of African sellers, I think they were probably Nigerian, and they sold everything from suspicious Rolex and Gucci gear, to crappy ornaments and models of the tower. Anyway ignoring these guys, we exchanged our travel receipts for our tickets and wandered around taking photos until it was our turn to climb the tower.

It's a fairly long climb to the top, and it's really strange with the leaning problem. Naturally the steps in the tower were designed when the tower was not leaning. This means that as you climb, instead of a constant rise in the steps it comes in waves - for a few steps it feels like you're walking on flat ground, then the next few steps are really steep, then back to flat ground again. Of course once we were at the top we took some photos, and it was so windy up there. There is a great view of the surrounding area and you can see part of the old Pisa City Wall. We took a bunch more photos and then headed down the steps.

After the tower was a visit to the Duomo (Cathedral), and the Battistero (Baptistry). Very nice inside with great views and amazing architecture. Like so many places we had been, there were many people ignoring the "no flash photography" signs which is horrible as the flash will damage the historic art.

The final sight at the Pisa Tower area is the Camposanto Monumentale (Cemetary), a huge U-shaped building which has many people inside coffins but not buried, the coffins are inside the building. There are also many sculptures there, and one of the rooms has been converted to display some art pieces.

Having seen pretty much all there was to see, we grabbed the bus back to the Railway Station. We got some McDonalds there, along with a large vanilla shake that didn't taste quite right - seems these Italians don't know how to make thickshakes! After disposing of the shake, we waited for our train to Rome...

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