Thursday, March 20, 2014

Our Honeymoon: Pisa and Florence, Italy

On day 2, we woke up in Venice and took a water taxi to the train station.  It was a beautiful day, and we enjoyed getting a last look of the city from the water.

We only had a short wait until time to board our train to Florence.  We were excited that we would stay the next 3 nights in the same place, and we were planning quite a few fun things for the next few days.

When we arrived in Florence, we found our ride to our hotel.  It wasn't too far from the train station, but I'm so glad the travel agency booked such transfer so we didn't have to haul our bags.

We stayed at the Hotel Rivoli - our room wasn't ready yet, but we dropped off our bags and found out what time we could check in.

Then we headed back to the train station.  We knew we wanted to go see Pisa and figured today was our best opportunity to go.  It took a few minutes to figure out where to buy tickets, but after finding the right desk and about $10 later, we had roundtrip train tickets to Pisa.

We had some time before the train, so we found a little place across the street to grab a slice of pizza.  It wasn't that great, but we were hungry and it met the need.

It was only about a 45 minute ride, so we relaxed and looked out at the countryside.  When we arrived, we walked the mile or so over to the Leaning Tower.  It was a warm, sunny day and we were in no rush (and had no desire to figure out the bus system).

We weren't impressed with the town of Pisa in general.  It was sort of dirty, and it was clear that the Leaning Tower is the only reason to visit.  We found the tower area (and all the tourists, my goodness!) and quickly discovered the only way we'd be climbing to the top would be if we waited about 3 hours. If there had been more to do in the area to kill time, we probably would have done it... but we didn't really want to just sit around and wait.

So we took the typical Leaning Tower of Pisa tourist photos, bought a magnet and some postcards from a street vendor, and stood around in awe that we were looking at something we had seen in pictures all our lives.  The crazy thing is how much it leans!  The pictures just do not do it justice.

We did sit down for a few minutes and wrote a postcard to Connor.  We had told him about the trip in advance to try to explain to him where we were going, flying across the ocean, being in another country, etc.  He knew what we were talking about when we mentioned the Leaning Tower and got a little fixated on how we would see it, so we knew we had to send him some mail from there.

We dropped it off at the post office on our walk back to the train station.  After our train ride back to Florence, we walked back to our hotel and checked in.  Our room was cute, and we had a tiny little balcony looking out of the neighboring rooftops.

We showered and relaxed a bit, and then we headed out in search of dinner.  We decided on Ristorante Paoli, and it ended up being the perfect spot for our first nice dinner in Italy.

We started with the house white wine (which was so delicious!) and a cheese plate (also quite tasty!). I had ravioli, and Adam has lasagna.  We really enjoyed this meal, and we embraced the italian mentality of taking your time with dinner. Our waiter was friendly, and he started making jokes with us. I think he realized we were relaxed and having a good time, something I'm not sure all tourists know how to do.

We decided we wanted to have dessert, and I was pretty excited when we discovered there was a dessert trolley! Our waiter rolled it over when we asked to see it, and said "I'll just leave this here for a bit." I think he could tell I was drooling a bit over everything.

We ended up having two desserts, some fruit and another bottle of the white wine.  I'm not kidding - we were there at least 2 and a half hours!  That's how dinner on your honeymoon should be!

We weren't too far from our hotel and were starting to feel pretty tired, so we walked on back and headed to bed.  We had really enjoyed this day and were excited about our bike tour we had booked for the next day!

Unfortunately, this was the night that jet lag hit.  We were both wide awake for about 2 hours in the middle of the night.  We sat out on the balcony for a bit and enjoyed the cooler evening.  I read for a bit and Adam watched tv (which isn't saying much because it was mostly italian channels).  We read what I had already written in the travel journal, and Adam made fun of how excited I was in my writing about the canals of Venice.  And we finally managed to get back to sleep to rest some more before our early morning wake up call.

And yes. I realize that most honeymooners don't plan a lot of early mornings.  But we're not your typical honeymooners.  We want to see the world together, and we figured our honeymoon was a great time to start... so we wanted to do and see as much as we could while in Italy!

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