Overland 1972 - Day 15

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February 26th 1972
Published: March 1st 2013
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Day 15 - Sunday 26th February

As we should have arrived in Florence by now, we only have a short time to look around Pisa. It is a beautiful city and fortunately we are already in the centre by the Leaning Tower. The Cathedral is especially stunning and inside you cannot help but be inspired by its paintings, its ceiling and the wood carvings. We ate our lunch by the very picturesque River Arno and then at noon decided to start our hitching. Pisa looked very special and clearly we did not do justice to its charm (must add to list of cities to visit later in life).

The first lift in a Fiat drove us to the autostrade. Good fortune followed as the next lift was going all the way to Florence - not such an achievement really as the journey was only 50 miles but with our recent luck it certainly felt like success. The driver spoke good english and provided us with some interesting historical information about this region of Italy. We were dropped on the edge of Florence and caught the bus into the centre.

It was a beautiful sunny afternoon. We walked to the square near St Maria Novella and sat down for a coffee in one of the street cafes. We were quickly joined by an older American who was visiting Florence with his work but was delighted to have someone english speaking and young to talk to. He kindly bought us a beer and some cake whilst we provided him with some travel tips as his daughter was planning to do some travelling in Europe soon. Sadly his other daughter had died aged just 18. He made us realise how much parents worry - maybe a few more postcards home ! He listened with interest to our tribulations over the last few days and insisted on giving us 10,000 lira which more than covered our overspending from staying in the last two hotels. Somewhere I have his name and I will add later.

The Youth Hostel is situated to the North East and is an old house with a long rambling pathway and pleasant gardens. It is the firstly really busy YH and is full of Americans and Canadians travelling on euro railcards - more of the implications in the notes on Rome. We also met our first travelling British person and by coincidence he had also just arrived from Pisa. He was extremely amusing and when out of the cities, he was sleeping mainly in fields to minimise cost ! His plan was for 12 months and included Israel, Syria and Tunisia - good for him. Dinner was spaghetti, meat balls and fruit. Michael arrived at the YH and let us know how worried he had been during his two day wait - he read out some of his diary entries - no faith !

One other point mentioned in my diary was the speed of traffic in Florence - pretty scary even for someone used to the streets of London !


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