Archive for Pisa

Italian Vacation 2010, Day 3

Posted in Vacations with tags , , on November 6, 2010 by Verge

So, we packed in the morning planning on touring Pisa all day and then heading somewhere else, to be determined.

This is the back of our hotel during the day. I know that seems odd that I'm including another picture of our hotel, but this place was truly unique. They had open areas on each story with artificial turf and lounging areas. It really was a kick ass place to sleep, if only for a single night.

Obviously, the Leaning Tower is the place to go, so I got the map and Ira drove, and we wound ourselves to the other side of the city.

Monika and Schmoo as we approach the beautiful center of Pisa.

this is one of the rarer pictures of me and Mon without my arms in the picture. that is to say, someone else took it!

this is the outside of a church. The best pictures are the inside, but that's not allowed.

A shot from the top of the tower. It's not easy to get up there, and it certainly does make one a little uneasy as well.

I wonder how many people over the years have fallen over the rails. There really is nothing stopping you, and considering it's leaning a good deal more than you think, it's pretty simple to lose your balance.

This was a good vantage point to find a place to find a beer.

Found it!  A great little cafe.  This place was so damn cool they had wine on tap!

Every town has a church or two, but this one is over a thousand years old (and, they allowed photographs).

The reason that most major cities are built near rivers is because it gives tourists incredible photo opportunities!

After a long day, we left Pisa and headed to Bologna, where we found another great hotel and a place close by to have dinner. By this time, we'd decided to head to Venice the next morning. But, that night...we did a bit or partying in our rooms as the city was completely asleep.

See all of the photos from day 3 over here on Facebook.

Italian Vacation 2010 Day 1 & 2

Posted in Vacations with tags , , on November 5, 2010 by Verge

We hadn’t planned on going on a huge vacation overseas this year at all, but we couldn’t really resist when Monika’s family insisted that we join them on their trip to Italy.  I had been there once when I was 12, and Monika had never been there.  We couldn’t go for as long as the rest of the family, but we headed to the airport on Friday afternoon for our flight from Philadelphia direct to Rome.

We had to pack pretty lightly because all six of us had to share one mini van when we arrived and traveled around Italy. This was all our luggage. One checked bag a piece, and a couple of carry-ons.

By some insane stroke of luck, as we walked into the airport to check in, I ran into my first cousin, once removed, and his beautiful girlfriend Simona. They invited us to the private club for frequent flyers. This shit wash posh. Free food. Dollar wine and beer, and martinis (a lot of them)! They are awesome.

but don't think for a minute that that may have stopped us from the drinks on the plane. We had to sleep, because our usually time to go to sleep at 1 am was when we would be landing in Rome, ready for a long day of being a tourist.

We landed outside of Rome and were picked up by Monika’s dad and mom, and older and younger sisters.  We promptly left Rome and headed north, towards Grosetto. This was technically now the start of day two, since it was now Saturday.  We really didn’t have a plan on where we were heading.  I know that doesn’t sound like something I would do, or could do, but that’s how we rolled on this trip.  After a few hours of driving without a definite destination, we got lunch.

the waiter here was drunk, and that was awesome. He sang and danced and helped us stumble through our poor Italian. We had wonderful food on an amazingly beautiful, summer-like afternoon.

Finally, after 4 long hours, I had my first beer in Italy. And then a second.

The center of Grosetto, like every damn Italian city, is beautiful and filled with all kinds of historic buidlings and churches.

After some exploring in the castle and general hijinks, we found our way back to the car and headed to Livorno, a stop on the way to Pisa, which at lunch we cemented as our destination for the day.

We stopped at a roadside bar for a bathroom break, and found that the back deck had an amazing view of the Terranean Sea.

...

Livorno had few nice things to see, but overall, it was just a pit stop on the way to Pisa.

So, we did drive around Pisa a bit aimlessly for a while, and after the first hotel was a dud, I took over driving.  In Italy you drive on the right side of the road and it’s pretty much the same as driving in any American city.  I enjoy driving and I wasn’t that upset that it took us almost half an hour to find a hotel we could stay in, and the one we found was amazing.

the entire hotel was wrapped in a glass shell that was illuminated from the inside and slowly changed colors.

and the interior was like the set of A Space Oddysey

We partied well that night.  We had dinner at a restaurant that was walking distance and had great food and drinks.  Later, we scored tonic water there and had Saphire and tonics in the hotel room with the duty free gin we got on the plane earlier that day.  It was an amazing first day.  We had already been in 3 different cities, had beer and cocktails, and we were spending the night in a hotel from the future in Pisa.  We slept well.

All of my pictures from the first leg of this adventure can be found here on Facebook.

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