Jo’s Monday walk : Dizzying heights!

Did you wonder why we deserted lovely Lucca so early to catch a train?  And did you spot those Medici balls again?  Hard to miss them in this part of the world.  When we landed at Pisa airport I was immediately smitten with the soft light, over the backdrop of mountains that I somehow had not expected.  The sun was sliding down in the sky, bathing even the unromantic Ryanair flight in opalescence.  I knew that I could not come this near to one of the wonders of our world without taking at least a fleeting look.  So Lucca was left behind, and that man Garibaldi took centre stage.

I think that faded grandeur best describes Pisa, though it was obvious that modernity was making a comeback.  I found it a ‘gritty’ kind of place, on brief acquaintance, but I’m sure that there are many more treasures to discover.  It’s an easy walk from Pisa Centrale station, crossing over the River Arno and heading up medieval Borgo Stretto, with its straggle of cafes and shops.

Very soon I was back in the company of Giorgio Vasari.  As well as Palazzo Vecchio and the Vasari Corridor in Florence, he was responsible for Piazza dei Cavalieri, the magnificent  Knight’s Square in Pisa.  In front of Palazzo della Carovana stands his former master, Cosimo 1 de Medici.

Following Via Santa Maria, a familiar sight soon appears.  “Look!  It does!  It leans!’

And then, ‘Are you going up?’  It’s a quarter to 4 in the afternoon and there is no queue.  What am I waiting for?  Of course I’m going up!

It’s a bright blue day, but with a brisk, cold wind.  The marble steps inside the tower are well worn and there’s no hand rail.  As expected, the ‘lean’ has a slightly disorienting feeling, but there is plenty of time to negotiate them.  At the top the wind is blowing fiercely and I step into the space between the bells for a brief respite, 55 metres up in the air.

The views are wonderful and I notice, almost for the first time, the sturdy walls of the city.  Still, it’s a relief to be back in the stairwell, making my way cautiously down the steps.  ‘Did you wave?’ I ask.  No, he didn’t.  Apparently at that moment the chief of police had appeared in a shiny new Lamborghini in the piazza below, thrilling the crowd.  It’s Italy, after all!

Piazza dei Miracoli, the Square of Miracles, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site which lives up to its reputation.  I wandered around the huge green (albeit with a slight ‘list’ in my step) and was grateful that this beautiful tribute to the maritime might of Pisa had survived.

The Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta and the Baptistry complete the miracle.  The doors alone, resplendent with Pisan history, are worthy of a visit.

Youngsters sprawled on the grass- it almost seemed sacrilege to me!  Out beyond the walls, life goes on.  I smile and shake my head at the traders, and head back along the outside of the walls, through Knight’s Square, for a tired return to the station.

What I could have done with a little more time, but that’s the story of my life!  This itinerary with Discover Tuscany would have been perfect.  They also have suggestions for 5 Days in Tuscany that might be of interest, Gilly and Jude.  You don’t need to drive to see most of it.

This completes my rambling in Italy, though there are many photos as yet unshared.  What a time I had!  As many of you will know, I’m in the Algarve when this hopefully appears.  My WiFi access is limited, and deliberately so, as it’s my ‘chill’ place.  I will attempt to keep up with you, but apologies in advance for anyone I miss.

I hope to return to walk with you on Monday, 10th April.  Many thanks for your company on Jo’s Monday walks.  Kettle on, it’s sharing time!

This man surely knows the way to my heart!  Many thanks, Drake :

Glimpses of Paris

Staying close to home, Eunice takes us on a fact finding mission in the West Pennines :

A walk up Winter Hill and some interesting facts

Anabel meets a very friendly chipmunk this week.  Maybe a touch too friendly!

Deer Mountain

Lady Lee extends her Philippines visit to the island of Sabtang :

Batanes Trip, Day 2 – Sabtang Tour

Still in Mexico, Jackie’s moved up the coast a little :

La Noria

Meet the Lucerne Lion this week, with Woolly :

Jo’s-Monday-Walk2017-Wk 12

Couldn’t miss this one out!  Viveka is always so colourful and I love the donkey photo!

Walkabouts in Marrakech

Vertigo sufferers beware!  Becky’s ‘on top of the world’ :

Walking across the ‘tallest’ stone arch in the world

Just one more of those places I’d like to see for myself, Jaspa :

Sam’s Ses Challenge#13 Water 

So lovely to have Lisa around again, though her life is anything but smooth sailing!

Singapore and Beyond

And isn’t it wonderful to have chirpy friends?  Thanks so much, Paula!

How green is my home!

Many thanks to all who have shared, walked or just read.  Please take care till the next time!

131 comments

  1. Loved hearing about the chief of police appearing in a shiny new Lamborghini. 😀 If that was in our country, I think he might be investigated on how he had enough money to buy a Lamborghini on a policeman’s salary.

  2. Hi Jo! Seems like you had a wonderful time in Italy. So happy for you. Tuscany has been on my travel bucket list for so long!! These buildings, the amazing architecture and the blue sky. Breathtaking! I love the shot where the tower seems to say “peckaboo” from behind the cathedral 😉 I walked with my family today to find the wildflowers, hope you’ll have the time to take a quick peek on my walk. Have a wonderful walk today! Kathrin
    https://coellefornia.me/2017/04/09/wildflower-hike/

    1. Hi Kathryn! 🙂 Lovely to catch up with you again. My only complaint about Italy was that I couldn’t be there longer. Some people are just greedy! 🙂 🙂 Thanks a lot- be with you soon.

  3. As someone who has a dream to travel the world, I can’t tell you how happy I am to have come across your amazing blog through our mutual friend, Miriam! Your photos are fantastic, and I look forward to following along on your incredible journey!

  4. Looks like you had a wonderful time, Jo! I went up the leaning tower about 30 years ago, can’t remember much…..so it WA s good to see your images

  5. It’s been lovely following you on your Italian walks Jo and this one was no exception. Yes, that tower really does lean! Wonderful pics as usual which totally transport us there with you. Cheers xo

      1. The tower wasn’t open when I visited (a gazillion years ago). I doubt I would have climbed it anyway, especially as you say there is no handrail. The colour of the Pisan sky is magnificent.

  6. I’m just now catching up with your Italy visit. You always know how to make a place enjoyable! We were in Pisa last autumn – what a fun thought that our feet must have walked the same steps 🙂 – but my came with hoards more tourists. Have a wonderful time in the Algarve. – Susan

    1. Hiya darlin 🙂 It’s always a lovely surprise when you pop up. We arrived back home in the UK last night and I’m sitting in my living room feeling strangely disoriented. Where to pick up the thread of my walks? I’ll start with yours 🙂 🙂

  7. Fantastic shots, Jo. Such gorgeous blue skies. I am surprised and happy to find out that Pisa offers more than “just” the leaning tower. I would be worried it might fall over when inside, with so many tourists every day… 🙂 Hope you are enjoying your break “away from it all”!

  8. I gasped and oohed and ahhed as I walked through this post. You never fail to deliver with your white buildings juxtaposed against the blue skies whether in Algarve or Italy. I don’t remember ever seeing such beautiful pictures of The Tower of Pisa. Italy is calling me.

    1. Hi Lisa 🙂 🙂 I’ve certainly had my share of blue Algarve skies this past week or so, but I still love looking back at photos of my Italian adventure, distant though it now seems. The hills here are strewn with cistus and carpets of wild lavender, gorse, tiny irises and orchids. Spring is so beguiling in the Algarve. I will be sharing when I’m home again. Hope all’s good with you and your man?

      1. Can’t wait to see your captures of the Algarve in all its splendor. We are immersed in boat work in Thailand but the good news is that less work is required than predicted and we’ve taken an apartment for the month while the boat is under repair so I’m enjoying a little land time 😀

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