* This is one of ten posts recapping our California adventure. See also Day One Boston to Barcelona, Day Two Antibes & Nice, Day Four Rome, Day Five & Six Cruising, Day Seven Athens, Days Eight, Nine, & Ten Turkey & Lots of Cruising, Day Eleven Capri, Italy, Day Twelve Cruising & Returning Home, & Your Own Adventures with Grandma & Papa. *Yesterday we were in Italy. We had two stops, Pisa & Florence. Both of them were quite a bus ride away from our port. On the way to Pisa, we enjoyed looking out our windows at the Italian countryside. We saw where much of the world's white marble is mined from. There are beautiful mountains everywhere- so different from Rhode Island.
We also found out that Pinocchio is from Pisa. Pinno means pine in Italian, & Pinocchio was made from pine trees in Pisa. The pine trees here are umbrella pines & also look so very different from the trees we have in Rhode Island.
We had a quick one hour stop in Pisa- just enough time to see the beautiful & ornate Battistero (Baptistery), the large Duomo (Cathedral), & of course take pictures with the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Did you know, it took almost 200 years to build the tower? It had already started to lean when they were halfway done with the building because of the weight of the marble it's made out of. For years, the tower would continue to tilt a little more each year, but they finally stabilized it 10 years ago.
We grabbed a quick cappuccino from a shop that also sold souvenirs. Daddy saw rainbow colored pasta & thought it would be perfect for you (you love rainbows & you love pasta). Then he saw a mixed bag that included Leaning Towers in it & bought it for you. As I browsed the pasta shelves, I noticed they had mixed bags right next to bags of penis shaped pasta. That's when I noticed that the mixed bags also had mini penis shaped pasta pieces in them. I checked with Daddy. Sure enough, the bag that he had thoughtfully purchased for you contained penis pasta in it. Luckily, the shop owner let us exchange your souvenir bag for a bag of plain rainbow colored bowtie pasta. Then I made fun of Daddy for the rest of the day for buying our daughter penises as souvenirs.
In the short time we had left in Pisa, I picked up a souvenir for you (of course), Grandma & Papa, Nonnie & Papi, & Aunt Andrea...plus, a little Italian wristlet for myself. All in all, Pisa was a quick but fun European adventure. It was the perfect mix of sightseeing & shopping for me.
We had an hour & a half drive to Florence. I tried to close my eyes & rest, but the Italian countryside was too beautiful to miss. Everywhere there were vineyards & cypress trees & green hills. It was hard to believe that much of this picturesque countryside had once been destroyed by the fighting in WWII.
Florence is a large Italian city. It was hot, & after walking just a little ways, we were ready for refreshments. We stopped for some hazelnut gelato- the creamiest, yummiest ice cream you will ever eat. I was so enchanted by my first gelato, which had little pieces of hazelnut in it (why isn't hazelnut a common ice cream flavor back in the U.S.????), that I don't think regular ice cream will ever be quite the same for me again.
Next we visited Ponte Vecchio- Old Bridge. It was built in 1345 & is the only bridge in Florence that wasn't destroyed in WWII. It was absolutely filled with mostly expensive shops & people.
Lastly, we visited the Cathedral of Florence. Attached to it is a 270 foot bell tower that we climbed. It was 414 steps to the top. There, we could see the whole city of Florence & all the way out to the mountains. It was really an incredible aerial view. We returned back to our bus tired (we did a lot of walking) & content after our first full day in Italy.
Our day wasn't completely over. When we got back to the cruise ship, we watched a special show the theater. It was a bunch of musicals put together into one show, & it was kind of fun that a show like that was just a short walk away from our room.
After that, we went to a lounge that was hosting karaoke. With most of the people on our cruise ship being from an older generation, there were a lot of older, slower songs sung. Still, some of the people onboard the ship had incredible voices that totally blew me away. There was a Scottish guy who did a rendition of "Unchained Melody." There was not one hint of his Scottish accent as he crooned the words. He sounded just like Elvis. Liz sang for us all too. She was absolutely incredible!
We love getting your emails & text messages! It puts such a smile in my heart. I especially loved seeing the picture of you mopping Grandma's floor. I'm glad you're helping out :) We miss you to the moon & back, but we're also so glad you're having fun with Grandma & Papa.
I love you so,