Italia: Endeavour Language Teacher Fellowship


Friday, January 20, 2006

Onward to Pisa and Lucca

January 20th
A nine o'clock start which was difficult for those idiots writing blogs at one in the morning and for those fellowship members who hit the town.
The bus was a little late and Gianluca was our bus driver once again. He is most accommodating and extremely affable and completely unflappable even when he is given the direction "sempre dritto!" when searching for our ristorante in Lucca.
First stop was the church in Pisa which had a whopping 68 columns. The original frescos were destroyed by fires. Galileo's lamp which is infact not a lamp but a chandelier is quite an impressive piece of decoration. There was also a mummified body of a patron saint of which I am sure my class will be very interested in when I show them the photos.
We then moved onto the baptistry which has wonderful acoustics and is often used by singers. The cemetery with its 600 tombs was also fascinating and dates back to the middle ages. There is a lot more to Pisa than the Leaning Tower or Torre Pendente. There are quite a substantial amount of other buildings in the area of the tower, most of which I was unaware existed. Everyone took the mandatory photo of themselves holding up the tower, a bit kitch but a must do when in Pisa. Whilst in yet anbother baptistry Domenica ran into friends and I captured the magic moment on camera. The world is surely but a handkerchief!
A little before twelve-thirty we had to deposit all our bags in the visitor's centre including camera cases before we climbed the tower , over two hundred and something steps. I have added a photo showing the steps so you can get the general idea. There were a few puffs and pants. Once at the top we were all rewarded with spectacular views as you can imagine and luckily enough, today we were blessed with the clearest blue skies of the whole trip. Check out your photos, the contrasts will be excellent. Liz got dizzy coming down as Goretti was singing some song about being dizzy on the way down. I didn't really spend too much time looking over the edge at the top as don't particularly like heights. I took a few shots of Gummy taking a look to use in the guide book I plan to make when I return to Australia as part of my project. We then did a quick shop in the adjacent markets which Paula had checked out during the climb. This little shopping spree took a little longer than anticipated. Finally, all accounted for we headed back to the tour bus via local bus in the general direction of Lucca for lunch.

Lucca is a town completely surrounded by a large wall, too large again to do justice to with a single photgraph unless you get yourself an aerial view. Great, solid ramparts which were built in the 16th and 17th century help to shut out traffic and make the city a pleasant place to explore on foot. There were many spaces set aside for the parking a bicycles and most of these were filled to capacity. After a few different directions given to Gianlucca and a few laps of the town we finally found our eatery where we were to enjoy a meal before the tour began. We were taken through narrow lanes to look at the many mini piazzas and churches. Many of the churches in Lucca are sadly in need of rennovations but don't seem to attract the same funding as those in Florence and Rome. Medieval buildings mark the outline of Lucca's old Roman amphitheatre. There were a couple of locals doing some concreting, winching materials up the facades of the buildings and then in through the windows. The builders welcomed the attention of photographers in our group, most notably Jack.

After the tour finished we had forty minutes to look around for ourselves and shop if we desired. Paola had already checked out the best stalls whilst we were wheezing our way up and down the tower. Then at six o'clock we were on the road again for our last evening at Hotel Cellai. We had tea together again at I' Tosacano which is about a five minute walk from the hotel, and then did our own thing. I tried to write some more of this blog and gave Salvatore who was on night reception a few tips on making his own blog. I eventually fell into bed around two o'clock.

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At 3:32 AM, Blogger Goretti said...

carolyn, contact me, i dont have your address


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