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Winter Sunshine in Pisa

The cold and grey of a Berlin winter drove us to try and find some sun and warmth for a weekend. Pisa looked sunny and relatively warm and could be done easily with flights from Berlin. We arrived late on Friday night and found some dinner in a little restaurant. The food was not fancy but it was very very tasty. The coffee was pretty special as well, just an espresso but a very good one.

Saturday dawned bright and sunny and we set off to look around the town. The old town is attractive with lots of narrow streets and old buildings. These are either the ochre or white that you associate with Italy. All the windows have shutters, so it looked just as we imagined it would. We had a short stroll through all this to the main attraction, some tower that leans a bit.

What can one say about the tower. Well it certainly leans and it really is astonishing how it does not fall down. It stands in splendid isolation in the grounds of the cathedral and this only draws attention to the lean. Climbing the tower is strange. You climb up between the outer and inner wall and the staircase spirals upwards. As you climb up one minute you are leaning into the outside wall and the next leaning away from it as you spiral upwards. You cannot see out very often and lose your reference to the ground. So it is strange to see the lean of the walls apparently change.

After climbing the tower we looked around the rest of the cathedral grounds. As with the tower the Baptistry (above right) stands away from the cathedral. It is a splendid looking building. However, the soft ground that everything is built on and caused the tower to lean means that all the other buildings show signs of subsidence. This applies to the cathedral (left) which does not have a straight line on it and is still a magnificient building. We had had an excellent lunch and followed that with a superb dinner. The food is really excellent here. The coffee is also very good, we drank a lot of it through the day.

The next day we tried to find the boat museum and failed. However, the walk along the river side was very pretty. The river was still, the buildings colourful and the reflections very good. Again the weather was sunny and warm. It made such a nice change from Berlin.

We really enjoyed the weekend. Pisa is a lovely little town, just the right size for a weekend. The food and coffee were very good. It gave us the taste to see a bit more of Italy. From the top of the tower we could see the surrounding countryside. It looked very nice, next year maybe.

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