Friday Sep 28 – Livorno Italy

September 28th 2018
Published: September 28th 2018
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Main Gate in the wallMain Gate in the wallMain Gate in the wall

View from outside
Caio from Livorno Italy.

We arrived in this commercial shipping port about 6:00 this morning. Janet had a fairly good night’s sleep, but she was still feeling weak. David went up to the buffet for breakfast and then brought her a plate of scrambled eggs and bacon with a side of toast and yogurt. She ate some of it and then went back to bed. We had trouble getting connected to the internet but finally got the message about Tessa so David could go off on his excursion without worrying about her.

His tour’s meeting time was 8:00 and it headed for the bus promptly at 8:30. Today David and 30 other folks were destined to Pisa with the goal of climbing the tower. By the time he was done, David was sorry he had not been regularly using the stair-stepper machine in the gym (actually he hasn’t been to the gym even once). Anyway, the bus ride was about 45 minutes to the parking area for all the Pisa tours. With at least 2 other cruise ships in port, it was pretty crowded and we were glad to be ahead of a bunch of them.

Our guide (Titsiana) had been telling us about the history of the city for much of the bus ride. Did you know that Pisa used to be a flourishing port city back around 800-900 AD, but the seas receded and left a very sandy surface from lots of silt and sea life. Now the port is all the way off in Livorno and only a part of the Arno River flows through the tow now. Of course that sandy base is the reason that the tower began to tilt – it wasn’t built of sufficiently firm ground. After just 2 levels had been built, the tower had already started to lean. Following architects tried to compensate by making the columns on the low side longer than those on the high side, but that just resulting a little bend in the tower as it was built higher and higher. From various starts and stops of construction, it took almost 200 years to complete the tower.

First we walked about 10 minutes to get to the main gate of the walled city. Since there were multiple tours from different ships all walking the same way, it was hard to keep track of which
Pisa CathedralPisa CathedralPisa Cathedral

with Bell Tower adjacent
people belonged to whom. But we all had little radio receivers and headphones so we could follow the instructions from our guide. Our scheduled time to climb the tower was 10:15, so we got a short bathroom break first and a brief “walk around” while the guide explained about the Cathedral, Baptistery, and the Cemetery. Each building has its own history with the Bell Tower being the most famous of the 4. We were shown the gathering point and then everyone was given their ticket to climb the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

Only 30 people are admitted at the same time (every 15 minutes), but they let all 31 of us in at the same time. There are occasional portals which mark each level and you can look out and pause to catch your breath, but no one could go out on the lower levels. As you climb the tower it is apparent than the steps on one side are steeper than those on the other side. But every step is made of marble and each has been worn smooth with thousands upon thousands of feet walking up and down. After climbing the 297 steps we reached the top. Actually you climb to the 6th level and can walk around the outside. Then there is a smaller narrower final ring of steps to get to the very top. Once again you can walk around the outside of the top level of the tower. That is where the massive church bells are hung, but they do not ring them any longer because the vibrations have been one cause of deterioration on the tower.

At its most severe the tower tilted 5.5 degrees, but when restoration was begun in 2002 it was decided to partially correct the tilt. Now it only leans 3.5 degrees. It still provides an impressive view from the top and looking at it from the ground it is still obvious that it is tilted. At least that is what the guide said. Less obvious is that the Baptistery also leans a little, but not as much. David got a number of pictures and had someone photograph him, just to prove he made it to the top.

Back on the ground there were numerous souvenir stands and restaurants. Our meeting point was just outside a restaurant which would give us samples of bread dipped in olive
Stairs to Climb Stairs to Climb Stairs to Climb

around periphery of Tower of Pisa
oil. The also sold glasses of wine if we wanted until it was time for our group to leave. David got a glass of local Chianti which was very good. He met a couple from England who are booked on the next cruise that we will be taking next Spring. Anyway, at 11:20 our group headed back to the bus and back to the ship. We don’t know if it was the climb or the wine, but a lot of folks took naps on the return trip.

David had kept an eye open for the trolley which we were originally planning to take around the locations in Pisa but he never saw it. Maybe it went past while he was climbing the steps, or maybe we hadn’t understood that description correctly. Anyway, he had a good excursion.

Back in the cabin, Janet had been resting and watching some TV. We went up to the buffet about 1:15. She had a bowl of soup and a sandwich which was good but that was all she could eat. David had several things from the buffet and then had Apple Crumble with ice cream for dessert. Since a lot of people went to Florence today for a full day trip, it wasn’t too crowded in the Horizon Court. After lunch we went back to the cabin where David started recording his Pisa exploits in the blog and Janet got another nap.

Since it was such nice sunny/warm weather today, about 2:30 David went up to the pool deck for an hour of swimming and sun worshiping. They were showing the Ryder Cup on the big screen which they use for Movies under the Stars. There were just 2 commentators and they were out right rooting for the Europeans against the US players. Many of the people in the pool were just floating along the edges while they watched. There were more deck chairs turned toward the screen than toward the sun. There wasn’t any cheering for either side, but they sure were watching intently.

After an hour David came back down to the cabin, but by way of the dessert line in the buffet. However today he found scones with cream and jelly. He got 2 and brought them back to the cabin – he ate one and Janet ate half. But he did not wear white gloves when he served them, and there were no cucumber sandwiches.

At 4:30 we tried to call Valerie because we thought she would be there with Tessa, but there was no answer. However she called back shortly thereafter and we had a good chat along with a big imaginary hug for everyone. Tessa needs to go back in 2 weeks to change her splint for a cast, and then again in 3-12 months to have the pins removed. But we were glad to talk to them. We normally leave the phone turned off so we don’t get weird roaming charges in foreign countries, but today was special. Now the phone is back in the safe and should not be used again until we get back home.

David then took Janet’s ticket for tomorrow’s tour down to the Medical Center and they stamped it again. They were glad that she is getting over the nausea but were not surprised that she was feeling weak/tired. David then took it to the Excursion Desk and they cancelled her for tomorrow with no penalty. David will still go on that tour, but it would most likely be too tiring for Janet to manage the
Bells on topBells on topBells on top

of Leaning Tower of Pisa
5 hour trip.

We went to dinner this evening. This had the 2-fold effect of getting Janet out to do a normal ship activity (eating) although she only had a small amount. It also gave our Steward an opportunity to clean the cabin. He brought back our cleaned laundry and was shocked to find our dirty dishes from yesterday. He promised to make our cabin nice and clean before we got back from dinner. At dinner Janet had a bowl or broth and an order of prosciutto and melon. David had the Veal Scaloppini after a shrimp cocktail and a bowl of chilled peach soup. Janet just had tea for dessert while David had a butterscotch sundae.

We got back to the room and Janet decided to stay in the cabin and rest. David went to the theater for a Beatles program. Actually they did a pretty good impersonation of the Beatles. Of course they only had to sing popular Beatles hits and generally act their parts. Since a large number of passengers were from that timeframe, it was kind of a nostalgia trip too. Anyway, it was fun. And Janet was still awake until he got back
Looking up the centerLooking up the centerLooking up the center

of Leaning Tower of Pisa
– but zonked off soon afterwards.

That wraps up today’s report – see you tomorrow in Toulon France.

Additional photos below
Photos: 10, Displayed: 10


Wall surroundingWall surrounding
Wall surrounding

Field of Miracles - Cathedral, Baptistery, Tower,Cemetery

29th September 2018

,get well soon!
Been keeping up with Tessa's arm on FB and glad it's going well but so sorry to hear Janet got a bug. That sometimes happens in foriegn places. I got sick at the end of our Tahiti trip but not until the last day. Awful to get sick on vacation! Hope she is right as rain tomorrow and can enjoy the rest of the trip.

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