Florence & Pisa

When I went to dinner with Lisa and my mother, the food was great. But the wine, added to my travels and lack of sleep the last couple of days, meant that I found myself nodding off during the meal. So instead of going to the music performances, I passed out for the night.

This was a pity, because my mother went to the special performance. It was a performance of a local music school’s (high school age) students performing jazz. It wasn’t what she expected, but it was very good. But I was dead to the world.

In the morning, we had breakfast at the buffet. Lots of choices. We ate outside on the aft terrace, and spent time discussing politics and the state of academia.

The view from my stateroom.

We went to lunch at the Norwegian Buffet, with another great view of the city of Livorno, when we weren’t eating.

After lunch, we took the From Tuscany to Pisa excursion, which was the free one for this port. It started with a forty minute bus ride to Pisa. We parked away from the sites, and walked. First we walked several residential blocks, including cruising the train tracks, we can to a street lined with street vendors.

After walking past a bunch of vendors – I said my wife didn’t let me have any money – we got to the old city walls.

Then we went through the triple gate into old Pisa, through which we could see the cathedral and the tower.

The first setup was the building built only for baptisms. Since you couldn’t enter the cathedral until you were baptized, you could use the cathedrals for baptisms.

Next was the cathedral. It’s a working church, but since there were no services we could wander around and find the organ. (It’s interesting to see a microphone at a church that’s celebrating its nine hundredth anniversary.)

Finally, the building that everyone associates with Pisa, the Leaning Tower.

After the guided portion of Pisa, we had about an hour to wander.

A couple of things I noticed about Pisa compared to the cities I went to on the Rhine River cruise. First, I didn’t see any beggars on Pisa. Second, the street vendors were almost uniformly black. (I was told that they’re all undocumented immigrants from Africa. I have no idea is that was true.) Finally, there were no street musicians in Pisa. (One theory is that it was too early in the day – afternoon – for them to be out. But our time on the Rhine was the same time of day, same time of year. So I don’t know how valid that is.)

Then came the bus ride back to the ship. First, we adjusted our excursion schedule for later on the trip. Then off to the Atrium to hear the Viking Classical Duo, two women on violin and cello. This performance was of traditional Norwegian music.

After the performance, we had food from the dinner buffet as we pulled away from Italy to our next port.

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