Monday, October 26, 2015

Livorno and Pisa – Monday October 26, 2015

We both had a great sleep, although I must of woke up about three times wondering “where the heck am I” oh yeah a cruise.

We were to dock at 7 am but we the ship gets clearance at 6;30 and I overhead the announcement coming from the corridor that we are free to go ashore.  We are not in any rush and I write up my blog from yesterday and Bernie heads up to get some breakfast.

Oh I should add we turn on the tv first thing to catch Dan Appleby and the morning show.  We sailed with Dan on our last South America cruise when he was Deputy but he got promoted to Cruise Director recently and are happy to be on board with him again.

We went off around 9:30 and right away we see there are signs for the shuttle to downtown Livorno.  A woman sitting on the bench right near the bus sells transfers.  Note the info from the ship says it is 5 US dollars, but she insists it is 5 Euros each (note they only take Euros).  Oh well what can you do… it is round trip too. 

shuttle bus

This is where the shuttle drops you off.  Where I am standing is where we bought the train tickets.
You also catch the bus back to the ship at the same spot

The bus fills after about ten minutes and we are driven a short distance to the heart of the city to a large square.  Right across the street is a tobacco shop and we stop in to get our bus tickets to the train, and we also get our train tickets too.  In total it was 16.40 E for round trip on the bus and round trip on the train to Pisa for the both of us. 

where we bought our train tickets
walk to your right towards this church/square and turn left
stand in front of H&M store for bus
You then need to walk one block to the next square and go in front of the H&M store and catch the #1 bus to the train station.  It is only about a ten minute bus ride and the bus stops right in front of the train station.

Here we get a little confused, we see the signs and pretty much every train is heading to Pisa, note the ones going to Florence stop in Pisa first.  The problem is finding out what platform to go to.  The signs on the platform seem to not be working and then they keep changing which platform to go to.  One thing we would do differently is we would wait in the terminal until closer the departure time and then head to the platform then.

The train arrives and it is actually a short train ride, maybe 15 minutes and you are in Pisa.

We both use the washroom – 1E each but they are clean at the train station.

train station at Pisa

As soon as we exit the train station we see the Corso Italia road ahead.  Rick Steve’s has a great self walking guide here and we follow along with stops at the Piazza Vittoria Emanuele.

 Just to the left you can check out the amazing painted wall by American Artist Keith Haring – we have heard of him and recognize his work. 

Continuing up Corso Italia we check out the stores, people watch, restaurants and stop and marvel at the beauty.  We cross the bridge and stop in the Church of St. Michael.

Across the street is a quaint outdoor market at Piazza delle Vettovaglie selling pretty much everything.

Down some side streets and they open up to this huge Piazza dei Cavalieri with its old clock and colorfully decorated palace.  The statue of Cosimo I de Medici stands tall. 

Also in the square is the the university of Pisa where Galileo studied the solar system and even Andrea Bocelli attended law school. 

A bit further down we walk into the church of San Sisto with its simple bricks and few windows is a typical Romanesque style before the more lavish Pisans Romanesque style began. 

the roof of the church
We are hungry and stop right near the church at a nice restaurant called Cantina Vasari - here is a link to their Facebook Page.  We sit outside and enjoy a half litre of house wine.  Then a lovely plate of meats, cheese with bruschetta and pate.

Next we share a bowl of tomato soup with bread and a lasagna crunchy (which is like fried pasta that is kind of like a tortilla chip but not) very very good, and also a bottle of sparkling water.  All that for 44 E and this time we noticed that they added 2 E per person service fee so we did not add any extra tip.

Okay we are ready for the Field of Miracles.  It is not a far walk and for some reason I thought it would be bigger… you know how you get something in your mind and then it isn’t what you planned.  But it was still quite a site.

Of course we like everyone else there gets their necessary picture of you holding up the statue, or pushing it down.

Can you see all the buildings on the site actually lean
We cross the street and enter the museum that is closed currently under renovation but the tickets for the sites is here.  We are not really interested in seeing any of the sites except the Cathedral.  Tickets are free for the Cathedral but you do need a ticket with an entry time.  The guy who gave us the ticket said you could go ten minutes prior though.  We have a time for a half hour from now so we walk around a bit and take pictures.  And we try to go in ten minutes early but the guy at the desk says harshly “not time now” we say it is ten minutes he responds “three o’clock”.  Okay we get the hint, we walk out for ten minutes and come back in.

We follow Rick Steve’s self guided tour of the cathedral, note some of it is under renovation. 

After visiting the church it is 3:20 and we are both in agreement that we are ready to go.  We walk back to the train station (about 30 minutes away) and as soon as we arrive we see a train is leaving for Livorno in 5 minutes and here it is easier to find the platform as there are electronic signs at each platform identifying the train and departure and destination. 

The ride back is about 15 minutes.  As soon as we get out of the train station the bus is right there in front (seems this is the terminus for the bus) and it leaves a few minutes later – make sure you validate your bus ticket when getting on the bus and also validate your train ticket at the station).

Bus ride is short, about ten minutes and we get off right near the H&M Store but on the other side of the street.  We walk back to the tobacco shop cause right beside it is a wine store.  We ask for recommendations and he recommends two wines that are made locally. One is 10E and the other is 13E, we get a kick out of his Canadian Beaver and have to get a pick of it with Jasper our Moose.  We also see he has large steel drums that you can have your bottle filled with the house wine. 

Right across the street the shuttle back to the ship and we are back on board within ten minutes.

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