Italy has been my ‘The best’ travel destination till date. It just about lived up to my expectations and everything about this trip was just perfect. Maybe because we had planned our Italy trip well in advance, we had infact booked flight tickets (RyanAir) and accommodations almost one month before. We were lucky enough to pick the best possible weekend as well; weather was just perfect, sunny but not hot (it sometimes got a little chilly in the evenings, when the wind got up, but still pleasant).
30 May 2008:
We finished off our work early; reached our home at around 5 PM. My roomie prepared ‘Puliyogre’ (a south Indian cuisine) for us to eat on our way. We packed our baggage; reached Mechelen Railway station at 6.30. We traveled till Charleroi Station and from there, in a bus to Charleroi Airport (Not the regular Brussels International Airport). Our check-in was at 9 PM. and we made it just in time.
31 May 2008:
We reached Galilei Airport, Pisa at around 1AM. It was long cold rainy night, and we spent the whole night at the airport, almost awake the whole night. Bus shuttles to Pisa-Tower starts at 5.30, and we took the first bus in the morning. The tower is very close to the airport, infact it took us not more than 15 mins to reach. The friendly bus driver dropped us and pointed a direction. As we walked a few steps, there it was, ‘The Leaning Tower’!!!
The place seemed deserted though..Why??? It was a little too early, 6.15 AM it was..:-)
We could see the Baptistery Dome and the Cathedral as we entered the compounds.
—————-Baptistry Dome and the Cathedral——————
Cathedral is enormous and constructed with a beautiful architecure. Its an amazing piece of art which is built with striking white marbles. The design looks clearly influenced by some Arabic designs.The Bapistery, is another sacred building with a large dome.
Both are sitting on a lush green lawn, which looks so neat.
—–Pisa Tower, leaning at 3.97 deg ——–
Then of course there was the famous leaning tower, which was orignally supposed to be a just a normal bell tower. When we saw the tower for the first time, we just wondered what makes this bell tower to be a wonder of the world. Well, you may have to dig into history and read books to undestand what makes this to be a wonder.
Few Facts on the Tower: The Leaning Tower of Pisa is actually the Bell Tower of the Italian Pisa Cathedral. Due to the subsidence of the foundation, the tower body began to incline while the third floor was in construction, after almost 1000 years of establishment, the tower has gradually strayed from the vertical line by 5.2 meter. This phenomenon of inclining without collapsing has been a fantastic wonder in the world archiectural history
The architecural history of the tower’s construction is well documented and displayed near the tower.
Almost anyone who visits Italy has to come at least one time to Pisa, after all, it is one of the most well known Italian landmarks in the world!. It’s funny, because if it weren’t for the poor planning on the part of the engineers who built this bell tower, I doubt that anyone would even be coming to visit Pisa!
But having said that; Pisa has other importance as well, it is the oldest city in Italy, and the 2 mile wall around the oldest part of the city is the oldest intact wall of its kind in the world.
We admired the leaning tower from afar and circled around the tower once. We bought souvenirs from a nearby shop and hopped in the bus, and travelled back to the airport.
From airport we caught a bus to Florence. Florence is also pretty close to Pisa and it was a 2 hours journey to Florence. I gotta mention that there were only 4 people on this bus, one being the driver who drove like a stuntman on a chase scene hehhe..
I have been writing about few traveling tips in my previous posts, here I go again :-), these tips might help you if youre travelling in Europe.
For travelling on air in Europe, one of the best budget airlines is RyanAir, connecting almost all major cities throughout Europe. RyanAir offers very attractive promotions every now and then. Tickets are inexpensive only if you book your tickets well in advance. But be aware, these flights get delayed frequently. In major cities, Ryan Air operates from a secondary airport. One more cons, RyanAir charges passengers for their check-in luggage.
For accommodation, http://www.hostelworld.com is definitely the most reliable way of booking hotels / youth hostels, it provides a wide range of accommodations to choose from. Again the best way is to book hotels well in advance; try to book hotels which has more than 70% customer rating. For booking, all you need is a credit card; and you need to pay about 10% of total booking charges.