Published: August 4th 2012August 4th 2012
After leaving the hostel in Corniglia, I had lots of time to make my way to La Spezia for my train to Pisa. I got on the bus to the train station, got a ticket at the train station, and took a train to La Spezia. I met three Canadians along the way; a girl in her 20s and her parents were traveling to Florence. It's really nice having the Canadian flag on my bags, because it starts so many conversations that way. I've only been mistaken for American once or twice, when I didn't have that Maple Leaf showing prominently. ;)
In La Spezia, I had two hours to kill. There was a McDonalds there, so I got a meal, and made myself comfortable. More than an hour later, I made my way to the platform to await the train. It wasn't as hot out there as I had expected. The shade and the breeze made it quite nice, and I pulled out my book to read while waiting for the train. Once I boarded, I tried to read some more, but my eyes got heavy and I fell asleep. The conductor, having seen my ticket was to Pisa, tapped me as we approached the city to let me know we were almost there. That was nice of him!
Once in Pisa, I got a map at the Tourist Office, and walked to my hotel. It was a little further than I had expected, but not too bad. Probably more a 15-20 min. walk than the 10 min. they advertised. Then again, they probably weren't carrying 50 lbs of stuff when they walked it! I checked into my single private ensuite room, only to find that there was plaster and dust all over the bathroom floor. I got my stuff and went back down to the front desk. The woman there said that I could wait while they cleaned it up, and I thought it looked way too unfinished to be cleaned up any time soon! I was also dying to use the bathroom! She told me there was a washroom available on the first floor, so up I went to use it, with all my gear. When I came back down, she told me that I would get another room (yay!) and gave me a new key. This room was fine, although a little in need of minor repair. The tiles on the floor wiggled when you walked on them, but it was clean, there was an air conditioner that worked (hooray!), and I had my own bathroom with toilet and shower. (double hooray!)
I left my stuff and went off exploring. I meandered the streets on the way to the Leaning Tower, and saw some restaurants with some interesting pasta dishes and good prices. I made a mental note to return there. I walked around the tower, the duomo (cathedral), and took lots of photos. I didn't see as many people doing the "holding up the tower" pose as I expected. And no, I didn't high five anyone who was doing that. I didn't have the guts. :S
I walked around all the souvenir stands, saw a couple of t-shirts I liked, but didn't end up getting one. I did get a few souvenirs to take home though, and then made my way back to the restaurant with the cheap pasta. I sat on their patio, ordered the one with the salmon, and got a nice (albeit smallish) plate of pasta in a salmon sauce. The meal included bread, a bottle of water, and the service charge (tip) for 6.50 euros. Pretty good! And the pasta was good!
I wandered back a different route to the hotel, and stopped at a supermarket along the way. I wanted some Diet Coke (much cheaper here!) and some water for the long train ride the next day. I considered going back out at sunset to take more photos, but I wasn't feeling all that well, and ended up going to sleep early instead. Probably for the best, since my alarm was set for 5:15am! Ouch!!!! I had a 6:49am train to Naples to get to....