Date: Mon 17th June
Highlight: Reunited with good friends
Not sure if we can really call this day one of Tuscany, but as we are spending the night here we might as well.
Today started off with a lovely relaxing breakfast as we didn’t need to catch the train to Pisa until 11:17am. The Monterosso train station was busy as usual, but we soon discovered that it was quicker queuing for the station staff than waiting for a ticket machine (and we had a nice chat with an Adelaide couple touring Italy). We decided on purchasing our Pisa to Florence leg in Pisa where we hoped it wouldn’t be as busy.
Once on the train we sat with two American ladies who were expecting to get off at the next Cinque Terre town only to discover that we were expressing passed all Cinque towns. Luckily the train stopped at the far end of the Cinque Terre so they could easily catch a train back, but at one stage it wasn’t looking too promising for them.
At Pisa, we made our way straight to the baggage minding service and then followed the signs to the information centre in town to find a map of how to get to the Leaning Tower of Pisa (our only true mission for this town). Whilst you needed a map to navigate to the tower, one could simply follow the crowds as everyone had the same idea.
The Leaning Tower is truly amazing in that it is still standing, just with a very noticeable lean. It is also so white in colour being built from limestone. What we’ve noticed since being in Italy, is the amount of marble and beautiful stone that is used everywhere as common as we would use brick pavers back home!
After a couple of photos of this famous iconic building it was time for a quick Gelato (forgot to take a photo) before purchasing our next set of train tickets and retrieving our luggage for the next leg to Florence. Express all the way (50min)!
Just needed to pick up the car rental and find our way from Florence to our Tuscan villa! This is where we hit a couple of hurdles.
1. We didn’t have our car rental voucher. Luckily there was literally an Internet Cafe next door where for 50c I got half an hour online to retrieve the voucher and print it out!
2. No SatNav, but can we hire a portable unit. Sorry none left. OK, what about a map? We get given a very basic map!
3. We ordered an Automatic. We get a 6 speed manual (More on the car in a future blog – Anne stay tuned!)
4. Our iPhone GPS is still upside down, so no turn by turn ability and battery about to die.
Now, trying to follow a map in Florence (probably anywhere in Italy) is like solving those mazes where you draw the line along the quickest path to the treasure. Well there are so many one way streets, that it is nearly impossible to find your way from point A to point B (well without a SatNav anyway).
This is where our first Italian miracle occurred. Somehow, we managed to arrive at our destination in one piece with the last 10km with no phone or maps or GPS! When we arrived, we looked at each other in shear amazement and then high 5’d.
At our Tuscan farm house and villa we were warmly re-united with our good friends from back home. It’s so nice to see familiar faces after travelling alone for over 6 weeks. It seemed so surreal to be sitting at an outside Restaurant in the middle of Tuscany 10,000km from home and to be sharing a great Italian meal with good friends!
What’s more, is along with these friends came a dress from home for Jenny. She now has 4 outfits to choose from! – I’m not sure if Jenny was more happy to see her friends, or see her dress! (Also bathers were delivered so a swim in the pool was enjoyed.)