Thursday, February 22, 2007

Pisa, Italy

The next morning left for Pisa. The day being 25th Dec the hotel mngr packed some Xmas cake for us. Really nice fellow, spoke perfect english and helped us a lot in getting the missing luggage from Milan to Rome. Anyways the train journey to Pisa was about 3 1/2 hours and most of the travellers were desis. True to the tradition I again met people from my company. I have met people from my company everytime I have vacationed in Europe. I would say that go to any popular tourist spot in Xmas or Eatser Holidays n just shout “My company’s name”, chances are you will see few familiar Indian faces. And this time I met an old mate who was earlier in the same project in aalborg, but is now in Amsterdam(Some people are lucky). The train journey from Rome, Lazzio to Pisa, Tuscany is especially very enjoyable as the train runs along the sea for a large part of the journey and you get to enjoy the sights of magnificent villas, the vineyards n the Italian riviera.
Hopping off at the Pisa Central station we deposited our bags at the locker room and headed off to the tower. The walk (Yes, I love walking) from station to the tower is a leisurely 20 mins max. Just walk straight from the station. Chances are that there will be more people walking in the same direction. The walk would lead you across the river Arno, sopme old quarters of the city with pretty aged buildings n narrow lanes at times.
It was a sunny day and the Torre pendente di Pisa (Leaning Tower of Pisa) was visible in its full glory, fighting a battle with gravity. Breathtaking. It is situated behind the Cathedral and it is the third structure in Pisa' s Campo dei Miracoli (Field of Miracles). Aerial view of the entire Campo dei Miracoli. e other two being the Duomo n the Baptistery. The Leaning Tower is infact just the bell tower to the Duomo, but def much more famous. The Tower stands 58.36 mtrs tall. The construction commenced on 9th August 1173 and is spread over two centuries. Even before it was complete the inclination was evident and corrective measures have been taken from time to time. The tower was closed in 1990 because of the danger posed by the continuing tilt, but reopened in 2001.
Galileo is said to have proven that objects of different weights drop at the same rate by dropping a cannon ball and a wooden ball from the top of the Leaning Tower. For a fees of €15 you can take a ½ hr trip inside the tower, a must do. A batch of 30 or so people are allowed in at a time, so make sure u reach the tower in time. The 294 narrow, winding n foot-worn steps lead you to the three levels where you can stop in the tower. The view from top is amazing. And so is standing there getting urself clicked.
The campus has huge sprawling gardens, and lot of people r there just enjoying the sun. Next to the tower is the Duomo, the medieval cathedral entitled to St. Mary. The exterior façade is white n colored marble, huge bronze doors. Notice (on the top) the statue of Madonna with Child and the four evangelists Mathew, Mark, Luke & John. Inside there are frescos on the dome and an awesome mosaic in the apse - Christ in Majesty.
Midway down the nave hangs a special bronze lamp. It is commonly known as Galilieo's lamp, since it is believed that the great scientist Galileo Galilei figured out the law of the pendulum by observing the lamp as it swung back and forth. The inside also has some very beautiful stained-glass works.
Opposite to the duomo is The Baptistery, dedicated to St. John the Baptist. An impressive buiding. Some more time was spent in the lawns eating pizza hamburgers n sipping the good ol Heineken. And clicking the age old clichéd pose of pushing n supporting the tower.
Pisa is just an hour away from Florence by road or rail, so it might be a good idea to include the same in your travel iternary. I wasn’t as thoughtful while planning the journey.

For people who r interested in visiting other things in Pisa there is
Orto botanico di Pisa, a botanical garden operated by the University of Pisa, Oldest Botanical garden in Europe.

If u r interested in reading a much finer travelogue of Pisa then read
this. Mark Twain’s - The Innocents Abroad.


Sakshi said...

Consistent performance hai apna..
Loved the pics.. and the info is as always nicely researched and informative.
LOL at you I am the king of the world pose :P
Btw- What did you like most about this part of you journey?

arpana said...

WOW! koi aur shabd nahin hain mere paas

Lalit Singh said...

@Sakshi.. the consistent gold winner
best part was the time spent on top of the tower... and the realisation of experiencing one of the wonders of the world.


Delphic said...

Cool pics man!

When are you gonna stop making me jealous?