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Norwegian Gem Mediterranean Cruise in November: Pisa Is Not 15 Minutes Away – Entry 5

I know it’s hard to believe, but maps lie. On the map, Pisa is just a fifteen minute train ride from Livorno. But how do you get to the train station?

First, you have to take the shuttle bus out of the port area. Sounds simple, but just leaving the port area is a journey in itself. The bus has to negotiate around the dock area, wait for a road to move into place (kind of like a draw bridge), etc. All told, fifteen minutes just to leave the port and drive 2 miles.

Next, you have to find the public city bus, and then ride it through the bumper-to-bumper city traffic. That’s another fifteen minutes.

If you’re like us, you like to walk. So once in Pisa, it’s a thirty minute walk from the train station to the Leaning Tower – and that’s if you can coax your wife to cut down on the window shopping, and if a few hundred student demonstrators don’t storm the train station when you’re trying to make your exit.

And actually, getting to Pisa was a lot quicker than getting back. On the return trip to the ship, trains to Livorno were delayed by up to an hour, one was eventually cancelled, and track information kept changing. What was just a fifteen minute trip on the map ended up taking 2 ½ hours.

So was it all worth it? Yes. The Leaning Tower of Pisa was everything I’d hoped it would be. They only allow 40 people up at a time, but there was no problem getting tickets. And if you’ve ever been drunk, you should have no problem walking up the Tower.

Pisa is worth the day’s experience. But would I ever try to go to Florence? I don’t think so… just not enough time…

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