Five hours of train travel: Bellinzona to Milano, Milano to Firenze (Florence), Firenze to Pisa. I commiserated about the lack of AC on the final train with a British woman returning from a conference. I found my hotel, a few blocks from the station, thanks to Google Maps since tourist information was only open 9:30-13:00. It was hot and muggy as I hauled my suitcase on it’s broken wheels, now heavier than ever loaded down with Swiss chocolate.
After a short break, in a refreshingly air conditioned room, I walked over to check out the Leaning Tower. The streets were mobbed with people, both locals and tourists. Many had red dots on their noses in connection with a blood donation drive. Shortly after photographing the tower in the early evening light, my camera slipped and I broke my UV filter. Fortunately I found an open camera store and they were able to remove the broken glass. Hopefully the lens is fine, but I won’t be able to use a polarizer for the rest of the trip. I cheered myself up with a nice meal near the hotel: ravioli, salad, wine, and tiramisu.
I was tired in the morning and wished my ticket to tour the Leaning Tower was later than 10:15. I ate the rest of yesterday’s lunch for breakfast and walked back to Piazza del Duomo, checked my bag, and got in line. As I spiraled up the inside of the tower, I felt the odd leaning sensation I recalled from my prior visit here, thirty-one years ago on my honeymoon. At the top, we were given adequate time to circle around and take pictures, then they rang the bells, warning us in advance. That was a nice surprise. I spent most of the afternoon in the hotel lobby, finally posting my Bern blog entry and resting my weary legs until it was time to join up with Walking Women for a week in Tuscany. (That will be my last post for this trip).