Skip to main content

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…

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Summer Day Trip #1: Caledonia, Minnesota

The Wired Rooster Coffee Shoppe -- Caledonia, Minnesota


I've lived in Minnesota for over ten years, sure, but that doesn't mean I've actually seen much of the state. Like most people, I know what I know, and I go where I go. And that's the extent of it. But once I resigned myself to the fact that I wasn't going to make it to Alaska this summer, it occurred to me that I had plenty of sites to explore in the immediate region.

First stop: Caledonia, Minnesota. Where's that? It's a small town in the southeast corner of the state. Before I opened my Rand McNally Road Atlas, I had never heard of it, and before I punched the town name into Trip Advisor, I didn't know if there was anything there worth visiting.

Distance from home: About 75 miles.

Challenge #1: Leaving by 6:30 a.m.

Challenge #2: Taking my dog, Atticus.

Actually, Atticus is a good dog on a road trip, but the forecast indicated that it was going to get into the 90s. I wanted to leave early in the …

Summer Day Trip #3: Jackson, Minnesota

Some time ago in the spring, I found out that David Ellefson, bass player and co-founder of Megadeth, was rebranding the coffee shop in Jackson, Minnesota. Every so often I would tell Linda that I planned to drive over there to check it out, but the morning that I actually decided to drive over there to check it out, I think I surprised her. I’m not sure she thought I would ever do it.
“What else are you going to do over there?”
“Oh, that’s it. Just drive over there, order a cup of coffee, and drive home.”
I had checked out Jackson on Tripadvisor, and honestly, Jackson seemed like it didn’t have much going on. My mind map of southwestern Minnesota was mainly a blank. I knew that I-90 drove through, but I thought perhaps the interstate was a metaphor: Beware ye who enter here, lest ye be on your way to somewhere else.
When I told Tavi we were driving two hours to visit a coffee shop, the idea didn’t seem far-fetched to her. She only had one question, “Do they serve hot cocoa?” I promised …