Friday, July 13, 2012

Tutto pendente

After a two-week break, this Saturday I was up early again to do some more traveling around Italy. Saturday's destinations included a place called "la Certosa di Firenze" and the home of the Leaning Tower, Pisa. The trip to la Certosa di Firenze was about two and a half hours, which gave me a good amount of time to keep sleeping. We arrived a little too early, so the friar that would be guiding us on the 10:00 am tour wasn't ready. While we waited, we checked out la Certosa's pharmacy, which was stocked with things like rosaries, locally-produced alcohol, truffles, ceramics, postcards, and the like. I picked up a nice medium-sized cross.

At 10:00, we began the tour. The friar talked a lot about the historical significance of the objects we came across and the typical day of a friar at la Certosa. Almost immediately, some of the people around me pointed out the friar's black Nikes. It's pretty hard to miss that on a friar, after all:

The tour lasted about an hour. It was cut short by the fact that we weren't allowed into the actual church. The reason? The princess of the Netherlands was getting married there that same day and the staff was still working on getting the church put together. As we descended the steps leading up to la Certosa to leave, we noticed a lot of important-looking people in nice clothing. Many of us were hoping we'd get to see the princess before leaving, but that didn't end up happening. Although we didn't get to see everything at la Certosa, their reason for not letting us in was solid, haha.

After boarding the bus, we were off to Pisa! About an hour and a half later, we reached the city and could see the Leaning Tower of Pisa (la torre pendente) off in the distance. After eating, Bridget, Claire, and I entered the historic center of the city where all of the main attractions were...right next to each other! Opposite these buildings was a long line of souvenir stands that were virtually indistinguishable from each other.

While looking for the place to buy tickets for admission into the buildings, we found a girl from out tour group looking for the ticket office, too. We all found the place and decided to do the same things, so she joined our group. Normally, I am not that interested in photographing buildings, because I don't find them as interesting as people and nature. However, the Duomo of Pisa was spectacular, so I happily took a bunch of pictures there.

After the tour of some of Pisa's more famous buildings, we took a few pictures by the Leaning Tower, which, for me, was the highlight of Saturday. The Leaning Tower is one of those monuments recognized world-wide, so you think you have a pretty good idea about what it is. It's so different in person, though. That's one of the most interesting parts about visiting all of these touristy destinations to me. There's always such a stark contrast between the perceived and the actual.

We rounded out our time in Pisa by walking by the souvenir shops. Almost all of the tiny souvenirs like shot glasses were tilted slightly, in homage of the city's most recognized attraction. By 5:00 pm, we were on our way back to the bus. Although the first trip of July had a different vibe with different friends, it was a  great success. I'm eagerly awaiting the next few!

1 comment:

  1. I love all the pictures of the buildings you've taken! They are so beautiful, and so different from what we are used to here.

    As for the friar, he should be ready to run in a moment's notice. You never know...