Friday, June 1, 2007

Good day in Pisa...for the most part

Well, other than Rose going off on a Pisa lady, we had a great day in Pisa! I'll let her tell that story.

We took the train to Pisa in the morning. It wasn't very crowded when we arrived, which was nice for pictures purposes. The day was beautiful. It was cool with a gorgeous blue sky. We walked around outside and took pictures first, and then climbed the tower at 11:20. It was quite a climb, but not as tough as St. Peter's Dome. We arrived at the first level, and walked around on a terrace to take pictures. We thought it was as high as we could go...but no...they soon let us keep going up! The next stop was the bell level. The tower was actually meant to be a bell tower for the church it is next to. We walked around the bells and took a few more pictures. Then, we went up to the actual top of the tower. Now, I mean the actual top. We weren't on a walkway, with walls behind us. We were on the top and could see across the top to the other side. It is a very weird feeling, especially with the tilt of the building. The only protection is an iron rail around the outside, that is about at chest level. It is amazing. The view is absolutely gorgeous, and the day was so clear, we could see all of Pisa and the hills beyond. It is a beautiful countryside.

After the tower, we explored the other buildings in the area. The church their is beautiful, as are most churches in Italy. They have Galileo's lamp, which he used in the church to conduct pendulum experiments. The only problem is that there are no signs or labels anywhere, so we don't know which lamp was his. We made sure to look at all of the lamps, so that we were sure to see it, but we still don't know which one it was. Oh well. There were other beautiful paintings in the church, but of course we don't know who painted them.

After the church, we visited the baptistry, which wasn't as exciting. It was beautiful from the outside, but most of the inside decor had been removed and put into the museum.

So, we went to the museum! But not until after having lunch at a nearby restaurant. We didn't want to spend too much money, so we split a pizza and had gelato. Gelato is much better than real food anyway, and we need the calories to sustain all of the walking. That is why we are eating so much gelato. It is the healthy thing to do!

We went to one museum that had a lot of items that were removed from the church and baptistry. There was a fire in the church at one time, so many of the paintings were damamged. They were still nice too look at, though. There was a lot of sculpture and a few tombs.

Next, we visited the cemetary. It was an enclosed cemetary, with many sarcophogi, sculptures, and the remnants of frescoes on the walls. A lot of the frescos had been removed, and you could see the chalk scetches behind the frescos that the painters used as a guide. That was kind of neat. There were also some remaining frescos that were being restored. We watched that painstaking process (picture people up on scafolding with tiny brushes) for a few minutes and then continued.

The next stop was the fresco museum which was supposed to have the frescos that were removed from the cemetary. We didn't find them though. There were a lot of drawings, but it looked like they were all the sketches behind the frescos, not the actual frescos. Maybe they were being restored.

All of that took up most of the day. We returned to Florence on a train at about 5:00. We took a little rest in our room before heading out for dinner at 7:30. Dinner was the best we have had yet. Rose had spaghetti for the first course, and I had some kind of Florentine soup that starts with an R. It has white beans, vegetables, and bread. It is a very thick soup and I thoroughly enjoyed it. For the second course, we both had roasted chicken and roasted potatos with rosemary. Mmmmm. It was so good. We ate every bite. We may go back there again tonight.

After that, we went to the train station to get reservations for Venice and to change our night train reservations from a seat to a bed. We have a europass for the trains, which is really nice. We just have to pay $5 for a reservation on a train, which isn't necessary, but is a good idea if you are on a tight schedule. For the sleeper train, we had to pay 25 euro, but I think it will be worth it. I'll blog and let you know! haha

Today is our last day in Florence! We had reservations to the art museum with Michaelangelo's David this morning. We arrived as they opened at 8:15 and walked right in! The David is amazing. I had very high expectations for this sculpture, but nothing could have prepared me for the awe of the sculpture. It is so large! It is realistic as well. I really can't describe the feeling you get when you walk down the hall towards David. It was quite an experience.

The rest of that museum was good as well. Thy had a musical instrument section with a Stratovari violin. They also had a series of unfinished Michaelangelo sculptures. We spent an hour and a half there, and now are ready for the rest of the day!

Well, my Internet time is down to one minute, so I have to post now. Moe later!


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