Pisa is world-famous for one thing, and for one thing only: it's leaning tower! However, considering its big attraction and its tourist draw, Pisa is a surprisingly relaxed and pleasant city. As well as having a gorgeous (and architecturally brilliant) main piazza, Pisa is also home to a large university, and to thousands of regular Italians. Since it's only an hour's train ride west from Firenze (Florence), many tourists only visit Pisa as a day trip — but I decided to soak the place up properly, and to stay two nights.
Beatrice the air hostess
Beatrice ("Bea") is a beautiful blonde Italian girl, whom I met this evening at the guesthouse. Although only 21 years old (like myself), she's already been working three years full-time as a flight attendant (that being the PC-GN term for "air hostess") for RyanAir, Europe's favourite budget airline. She's moved from her home in northern Italy over to Dublin, Ireland; and she's just in Pisa for one night, exhausted and in between flights. She was too buggered for me to take her out anywhere tonight; but she did help me polish off the home-made pasta napolitana that I cooked up for dinner.
Leaning tower of Pisa
There's only one thing you really must see when you visit Pisa. I'll give you three guesses what it is. If you answered "the cemetery", or "the art gallery", then you're a knob, and you've obviously spent most of your existence living in a cave in Chad. And you've got one more try. So do yourself a favour, and don't make me pull out my electric cattle prod in frustration at you: tell me that you gotta see the tower! Since I had the entire day at my leisure today, here in the beautiful city of Pisa, I naturally spent at least some of it admiring the lovely and architecturally precarious landmark itself.
Central Station Guesthouse, Pisa
The Central Station Guesthouse is a brand-new place to stay in Pisa, and it's run by the same woman who manages the more-established Welcome B&B in town. I was meant to be staying at the B&B while here in Pisa: but due to complications caused by fog, I got moved to the guesthouse. I'm not sure if the pricing is permanent — but at the moment, the guesthouse's private rooms are going as cheap as are hostel beds in most other cities in Italy. The guesthouse currently has no street appeal whatsoever — it's on the 3rd floor of an apartment complex, with no sign on the building — but it's in a great location, and it's a very comfortable place to stay.
Foggy night in Pisa
Having managed to get my new emergency passport this afternoon, I had no reason to hang around in Rome any longer (nor anywhere to stay in Rome); so I continued on to my next destination: Pisa. The train to Pisa was an easy three hours, with a change in Florence: I got the high-speed "EuroStar Italia" from Rome to Florence, which was nice but absolutely packed — I can see why they have compulsory reservations on the EuroStar trains. From Florence, it was just an all-stops local train to Pisa Centrale — I pulled in there at about 8:30pm. And when I arrived, I found the famous city to be completely enveloped in a thick fog. Not to worry: the fog didn't stop me finding my bed for the night; and it had all cleared up by the next morning.