Tuesday 9th January
Heavy rain for most of the night – probably was the bad weather expected yesterday and happening a few hours later than expected.
Back on the tollways now for around 100kms again missing the seafront villages and traffic congestion but still capturing the fabulous views (when not in tunnels).
Our campsite for tonight: Area Communale, Pisa
We have been very selective with our choices of campsites while in this part of Italy as we have heard some gruesome stories of breakins.
This campsite is in the heart of Pisa in a secure parking area dedicated to motorhomes with security cameras, lots of lights and a person at the entry until 7pm at night. We are more concerned with leaving Ziggy during the day which is when breakins seem to happen.
Had a pleasant 2km walk to Piazza del Duomo, the famous square that includes Torre Pendente (the leaning tower of Pisa), Cattedrale de Saint Maria and Battistero de Saint Giovanni. We have not been here in our previous travels and were in awe of these three stunning buildings.
A real tourist atmosphere here even in the “off season”. Everybody taking selfies and professional photographers making sure the photo showed them holding up the leaning tower.
Had to pinch ourselves as we stood in front of another world icon.
Strolled back through the middle of the walled old town until we reached the Arno River.
What a beautiful river with magnificent heritage buildings on both sides and with the sun setting, gave us some fabulous photos to bring back these memories when we get home.
Think we were a little like zombies for the last km of this 4 hour walk – think my driver took me the long way home (on foot). Strange how one can keep coming back for the pain each day when there is so much to see in this wonderful world and really not enough time to see a small part of it.
Leftovers is all the dinner he got tonight for taking me the long way home 😍
Wednesday 10th January
NAVIE did not take us via a tollway today so the roads were a little less comfortable (not tollway standard). Not a lot of fantastic scenery today as we travelled east and away from the coast.
We saw Florence looming in the distance and were a little apprehensive about heading into a big Italian city again but soon had gone through it and we in out campsite without a lot of stress.
Our campsite for tonight: Parcheggio Gilsomino SCAF, Firenze (Florence)
One of two campsites in Florence, this has the better and safer rating. Nothing here makes it a pretty place to stay (no beach or views etc) but its major tick in the box is that the No 11 bus stops right outside the gate and for €2 each and four stops you are right at a bridge on the Arno River with a view across to the next bridge – the Pont de Vecchio.
The views on the river are just amazing and soon we are on the Pont taking in the full atmosphere. We have been here before and this time, again it is wonderful. Surprisingly though, all the shops on the Pont are jewellery shops.
We headed into the heart of Florence and ventured through the many many stalls selling leather goods – an absolute treasure for shoe and handbag lovers.
A shopping Mecca with any labels you could wish for. My driver confiscated my credit cards (joke Joyce – he knows we can’t carry more shoes or handbags there is just not enough room in Ziggy). Just have to say the shoes and boots in both France and Italy have been a real temptation.
Finally found the tourism office with the help of Google and dropped in to get a tourist city map. Took the required number from the machine and sat and waited for half an hour or more to see an officer. There were five or six ladies there all busily working on computers. No. 51 was the last number on a board when we arrived and we were no 52. Not sure what the problem was – we had had a shower that morning and were clean shaven with clean clothes on – then why did we not get to talk to anyone? Annoyed we walked out. Without a map and assistance from this tourist bureau we stumbled on.
The Duomo’s (Cattedrale di Santa Maria) red tiled dome was visible from so many places throughout the city. We passed through many Piazzas and stumbled upon Michaelangelo’s Statue of David as well as the Birth of Venus. This Piazza was the best and was full of amazing statues and so many tourists taking photos – including this tourist bureau unloved couple.
Had a magic day walking about before catching the No 11 bus (next street up from where it dropped us off) and getting home in 10 minutes – feeling all the better for catching the bus instead of walking the 2kms in and out of the city.