Travel to Pisa
Today we travel to Pisa via train. So we spent the morning just taking our time packing prior to 1100 check-out time. Cab over to Florence station and by the time we get organised we are on the 1230 train to Pisa. In just over 1.5 hours we are in Pisa.
For the first time since our flight stop over in China in February, ate at McDonalds. It was right at the train station and get on the Wifi. We found a cheap room and book it just for tonight. We caught a taxi to it, checked in and found out it was a B&B with no breakfast, so it is only a B. We shrugged our shoulders because we have had worse and then unloaded our luggage and walked to the leaning tower.
Seriously it is a big lean. I cannot believe it is still upright. It is one of the things I remember as a child learning about the Leaning tower of Pisa and here it is, truly impressive and the rest of the surrounding grounds and general area are equally impressive. Once again packed full of tourists, this time all trying to replicate holding up the leaning tower.
Here are some of our attempts:
As do we in the end, you cannot help but do it and watch how other people try to hold it up. Very entertaining. Then the girls decide to do handstands and hold it up. Cannot get that action photo. We are in no particular hurry to go anywhere so just take our time on the grass area relaxing.
We then take our time to walk back to the B and go up the street to the Pizza place recommended. It is a nice feed and relatively cheap in comparison to Florence and Rome.
Travel to France
Today we travel to Nice via train. We check out of the B at 1000 and make our way to the bus stop across the road. We are at the station by 1030. The issue we have found is that trains go every hour to Genoa but then change for Ventimiglia at the boarder and then change again for Nice. This makes a 6 hour ride turn into an 8-9 hour ride. We looked at the time table again and can see a train that leaves at 1345 straight through to Genoa one stop and change then Nice. Check with the ticket office to confirm correct and arranged those tickets.
We find our way to the luggage storage area as with all the other tourists getting out of Pisa and leave our bags. We have another 3 hours free in Pisa and walk back to the Tower for one last look. Spring posts a note back to school saying hi to her class mates.
We also get to see a video clip or Bollywood piece being filmed and Spring wants to have her picture taken with the female star.
We have made so many Indian friends, why not her?
We have a picnic lunch at Pisa then jump on the bus back to the station and make our way to the platform.
Wait 10 minutes then we are on the train. We have allocated seating and once we find our seats are all good. 3.5 hours on this train. We strike up a conversation with our cabin mates, one is a dentist from Pakistan about to complete his Masters in Milan and the other is an American who just went for a job interview as a deck hand for a super yacht off Italy. Telling travel stories makes the trip go fast.
We get off at Genoa, change next stop Nice. All going to plan except when we get to the boarder. The train stops and makes an announcement (this is not a stop the doors will remain shut). It is boarder security and they look tough. They spend 30 minutes on the train going through and checking for illegal immigrants. They actually removed 2 x people and begin to pat them down and search their luggage out our window. The train then takes off without them. I guess they were not allowed into France.
As we travel into France a lady we are sitting with says, ‘look the water is bluer and nicer‘. Very funny. The coast line is spectacular. The train is delayed another hour just before Monaco, there has been some rocks fall onto the track. If you ever catch this train you could see this would be a problem. We finally go past Monaco, other worldly train station, it looks like something out of a movie.
By the time we get to Nice it is 2055 and check in is 2100 at our home stay apartment. Summer phones the guy and he said no problem 5 minute walk from the station. Make our way to the place finally meet the guy and check in approx. 2130. Ask if we could get another night he checked and said OK. We are all very hungry by now so make a quick dash over the street to get some pizza and snacks for breakfast before the shops shut for the night. Have dinner at about 2200 chill out before bed.