In Pisa, I had the pleasure of meeting two fellow travelers, Jose, from the Dominican Republic, and Marie from Montreal, both of whom were studying in Valencia. The three of us shared the two- bedroom, one bathroom apartment known as the Pisa Towers Hotel. Our first night together, having decided that we were not tired, we wandered around quiet and surprisingly easy-to-navigate city, eventually stumbling upon the infamous tower in all of its leaning splendor.
The next morning, we traveled back to the tower, this time, to take in its awesome views by day. However, when we arrived, there was a steady downpour of rain. Yet, coming from London, I refused to let a little rain stop me so I urged the three of us to buy the 15-euro ticket to ascend the tower. Upon climbing the winding staircase and inching our way through an even smaller one to get to the top of the tower, I heard a loud, thunderous “boom.” Suddenly, the sky opened and within minutes I was soaking wet with my shoes and jeans drenched as a thunder-storm passed overhead. Since we were already wet, we decided to continue to stay on the tower. It was a good decision since, once we had made our way inside, we had to wait within the tower for the guards to let us out of the building. It was surreal to lean against the walls of the leaning tower of Pisa for 15 to 20 minutes. I would never have imagined that anything like that would happen in my life.
Eventually, after a nice lunch at a restaurant in which we, covered in water, became the center of attention, and a lovely tour of the magnificent duomo of Pisa, I said “good-bye” to Jose and Marie. I made my way to the train station, purchased a one-way ticket to Florence and ran in my squishy shoes to catch the soon- departing train.
On the train, I received some weird looks from my fellow passengers when I removed my socks and shoes. Anyway, upon arriving in Florence, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that shoes stores lined practically every block in the city, which would enable me to replace my wet shoes with sleek Italian shoes. Or so I thought! Unfortunately, I had to travel for the better part of an hour in 4 different stores before I could find anything size 46. That is when I discovered that Italians have small feet.
Read more of my adventures at staffordtravels.blogspot.com