Getting ready to leave Monterosso and Buranco Agriturismo on Tuesday, May 18, 2010, we were greatly aided when the owner’s wife, Loredana offered to drive us to La Spezia, (where we were going to end up after an expensive taxi ride or an impossible walk with our packs and a train ride through the first 5 Cinque Terra towns!
Quickly (quite quickly, in fact very FAST) she drove us over some hills, down the other side, through some neat inland towns, fantastic views, quick switchbacks, passing cars about every five minutes on a narrow road where you could not see and were completely in the other lane, I think you get the idea?? She gave us a running flow of information, most of which we understood, and if we didn’t we said “Si” anyway, and we watched her have several incidents with other drivers where she made the famous Italian gesture over her shoulder with the right hand (hers was very refined – her husband is a member of Parliament – and not accompanied by any words… if you get my drift.)
Again, quite quickly, we were on the train station, and then on the train to Pisa. The Hotel Milano was quite nice and VERRY close to the train station. We unloaded and began our walk of the town. We got a little lost (although Rick Steves recommends doing that… and had a great meal at a sort of Turkish/Greek place with fantastic filled pita bread meal). I think because of this misdirection we also got to see the remains of a Roman bath, not even on the map for Pisa (See pictures)
Then we walked toward the “Field of Miracles” from the Leaning Tower end of the field. Amazing… even after seeing hundreds of pictures in my life, I was still floored by seeing it in person, how huge it is, you have to walk far way away to get a decent picture.
The Duomo (Cathedral) and the Baptistery were equally fantastic, and we went to a museum to see the original drawings of the murals that cover the inside of the Camposanto Cemetery. The dirt inside the Cemetery is “holy dirt”, brought back by Crusading Pisasanos from the Holy Land. The “Holy Land” dirt is supposed to reduce a body into a skeleton within a day.
After all that we spent 20 minutes finding a Hostel for David, as our hotel would not take a third person.
The next morning we rented a car and were off to the Hill Towns of Tuscany…