Holidays and Other Excursions

Tag: Pisa

Pisa 2.10.23

Monday 2 October 2023

This morning we have a walking tour of Pisa.  Even though it is October it is very warm – warmer than we might anticipate at 10am – and so we are all keen to be in the available shade.  The Cathedral Square, which we visited a good few years ago, was busy then and busy again today – it looks like tourist numbers are as significant now as they were then.

Our earlier visit was very time limited and the walking tour is intended to explain the history and the architecture – but we have a free afternoon.  We wander back the way we came to ensure we do not get lost and then I return to the Leaning Tower and acquire a ticket for a timed departure.  Rather than standing in the sun for some of the wait I repair to the inside of the cathedral which is much cooler than outside.

The Tower is of course a bell tower so to prove that this time I managed the climb I have shown a close up of a bell from near the top of the tower which also shows some of the excellent stonework detail.

Pisa was the birthplace of Galileo Galilei and he lived here until the age of 10 then joining his family in Florence returning to Pisa when he enrolled at the University initially studying medicine until distracted by a swinging chandelier – the swings of which he measured with his heartbeats.   He later changed degree and by the age of 25 was appointed to the chair of mathematics in the University in 1589, the same year as the Leaning Tower of Pisa experiment to determine the speed at which objects fall – although there seems to now be some doubt as to the reality of such an experiment – but hey nothing stands in the way of a good story!

There is a bronze statue of Galileo close to the location of his birthplace near the town centre which we saw as we walked through the town earlier in the day.

Dinner is with the group in another restaurant in the same street as the previous day, neither meal is particularly outstanding unfortunately.


Italy and France – 1.10.23

Sunday 1 October 2023

Time for a new adventure, travelling this time with PTG Tours – with whom we visited the (undocumented) Douro Valley just about a year ago and we are partaking of another tour, in view of how well the previous one ran – this time Pisa, Corsica and then Sardinia.  This is the first time the tour has run post-covid and inevitably the world has changed significantly since the operator wrote the original brochure for this tour and indeed there were uncertainties around aspects even at the time of our departure from the UK.

Unusually for my travels in recent times we are allowed onto the tarmac at Gatwick and head up the rear boarding steps as all operators are keen to minimise time on the ground and utilising the rear steps speeds up the process (and we are sitting near the rear so it suits us) and allows a photograph of the plane!

EasyJet provide our transport to Italy and this time Jackie and her luggage are re-united (unlike her return from Israel).  We are a decent sized group enhanced by some Australians with further travellers due to join us in Sardinia, so quite a mixture.  Most of the participants are, it seems, likely to be more interested in the scenery and similar rather than the trains, although to me this is a railway holiday with a hope to try and cover most of the railways on the two islands.

The good news is that our hotel is immediately adjacent to the Cathedral and the Leaning Tower and we walk past them to reach the street full of restaurants which we had previously identified as the location for dinner.  We walk  past a number and it is more or less a question of tossing a coin, we make a choice as finding the precise one we had found online was not simple (slight difference in name – I do spot the restaurant the following day).