When we got off the toll road after a distance of 70 kms (42 miles) and the bill was €8.30 ($12.20 CAD, $9.00 USD). Hmm. Expensive enough!
Maybe we'll take the free roads back home. After all, there are a lot more interesting things to see on the free roads...
Waiting for some business.
We had seen this in Spain as well. The working ladies just sit by the side of the road reading a book until some business comes along. Too strange.
We arrived in Pisa at about 11:00am. Found some free parking at a shopping center and walked back to the plaza where the leaning tower is located.
Our first view of the Leaning Tower of Pisa.
Yep, there's a definite slant!
Kevin figured he could fix it with a little push!
There. That's better.
Detail at the top.
Price to go up to the top of the tower?
€18 ($26.50 CAD, $20 USD). Wow. It's not even that high!
I didn't realize that the leaning tower is actually meant to be part of the cathedral. Most church towers are actually physically connected to the church itself, but not all. In fact, in the little village where we are staying the tower is not connected to the church. Interesting.
The tower was completed over a period of 200 years between 1170 and 1372.
They started building the cathedral itself in 1063, and it was consecrated as a cathedral in 1118. That doesn't see like such a long building period. I wonder why it took so long to build the tower in comparison.
The Baptistery was completed in 1363.
It's free to go inside the cathedral, so we did that. But a lot of the interior is under renovation so none of the photos are worthwhile. They are getting the cathedral in perfect condition to be ready for the 900th anniversary in 2018!
The cathedral complex with the leaning tower is actually located quite a distance from the old city center. But we walked over to the river just to have a look. Not bad, and worth having a look around...
Pisa and the Arno River.
Apparently the tower isn't the only crooked structure in Pisa!
Walking back to our car,
From there, it was a half hour drive to the city of Lucca (pop 87,000). We were lucky and managed to find free on street parking just outside the city wall.
Lucca reminds us very much of Alba Iulia in Romania. There is a huge walled fortification protecting the old city. In Lucca, they have turned the top part of the wall into a running, walking, cycling path. It's really nice, and appears to get used a lot. We walked around the entire 4 km top of the wall.
The path on top of the wall.
One of the walled bastions.
There are said to be over 100 religious buildings inside the wall.
Some of them dating back to the 8th century!
Ruth, on top of the wall.Lots of spring wildflowers!
People out enjoying the day. Temperature got up to 23C (73F).
The Guinigi Tower with trees on it.
San Michele in Foro Basilica
In the streets of Lucca.
The Oval Plaza.
The Oval Plaza is so shaped because there used to be a Roman amphitheater here. The amphitheater is long gone, but the buildings built around it remain, and so they take the oval shape of the back of the amphitheater.
It was 4:00pm by the time we got back to the car. We figured we had time to take the free roads back home and save some money. But man, it was slow going. The trip computer in the car said we were averaging 47 km/h (29 mph).
I eventually had enough of the stop and go and so we got on the toll road. Cost when we exited was €4.90, so we save a couple of euros.
Yesterday evening, I booked our flights from Ottawa to Regina April 27th because we need to get back to work for May 1st. I've been watching for a flight deal on this since December, and it's just not happening. With our flight only five weeks away, prices looked like they were going to start inching higher, so I bit the bullet and bought two one way tickets for $235 CAD ($180 USD) each. Between the regulated lack of competition and the high airport taxes, flights within Canada are very expensive. To put it in perspective, that's what we paid to fly from Calgary to South Korea!
Today, we move on! We've got a two night AirBnb booked half way between here and Bergamo where we have to return the car rental on Monday morning. We're taking the scenic mountain route, and its a clear blue sky and sunshine out there!
Check out today's deals here...