Today was to be a wonderful day spent in the home of the Leaning Tower in the city of Pisa, Italy. It was not to be.
Yesterday, shortly after we arrived in Florence, I started to feel the pangs of intestinal distress. This problem plagued me the rest of the day and through the night. By the time I woke up my symptoms had left me drained and curled in a fetal position from pain.
Randy and I talked and the decision was made to forgo the trip to Pisa. I wanted Randy to go anyway and enjoy the day and take some pictures but he insisted on staying behind with me. My hero!
He went to breakfast and evidently told some of our friends at the table that I was under the weather. He returned to the room with a glass of juice, a small bowl of yogurt, a pro-biotic and an Imodium tablet. I was assured that if took all of these remedies I would be back on my feet in no time.
I drank the juice, attempted to eat a little yogurt and finally took the Imodium and fell back to sleep.
While I was sleeping Randy walked around the town in search of bottled water at a supermarket the hotel manager told him about.
“You were dehydrated and drinking a lot of water. I decided that the water should be bottled since we did not know what caused your problem,” Randy said to me when he returned.
I asked what he saw as he was walking around the town.
“I saw many really interesting narrow streets along the way lined with hotels and bars,” Randy replied.
“I finally found the supermarket after asking for directions in my pidgin Italian. I got three very large bottles and headed back,” he continued.
These large bottles of water cost only .33 Euros each. I thought that was amazing. The same size bottles back home would have cost at least $3 dollars each.
Later that day I actually felt a bit better. Not wanting to spend the entire day in the hotel, we decided to take advantage of staying behind and catch up on our rest and do some laundry.
The laundry was only a quick walk down the street. The laundry was fascinating. There were four washers and four dryers. We obviously looked a little perplexed because a very nice local resident instructed on the use of the machines. Normally the coins would be placed in each individual washer or dryer but these were controlled by a panel on the wall. Put the Euros in, push the number that corresponded with the washer or dryer and voilá machines in motion.
After the laundry was done, we were taking a little walk back up to the street market a few blocks from the hotel when we ran into some of our fellow travelers sitting on the veranda of their hotel and stopped for a while. Marie and Barbara were all excited about some tops they had purchased at the street market and modeled them for us. They were quite attractive.
By now it was about 3pm and I was finally feeling a little hungry so we stopped for a bite to eat at a small sidewalk café sat down and ordered a snack.
The restaurant Sapori di Toscana e dintorni was very nice. After we placed our order the waitress brought us small bowls of potato chips, pretzels and peanuts to snack on while we waited for our order of bruschetta. The bruschetta was very tasty.
While we ate Randy told me about his experience in Pisa all those years ago when he was a teenager living in Naples, Italy.
“I remember visiting the bell tower on one of my family’s trips to the northern part of Italy,” Randy started.
“We were pretty much isolated from the military Commissary/PX’s in Europe. I don’t know why but the facility in Livorno, Italy always had the latest stuff, including music (rock & roll) from the states,” he continued.
“When we visited Pisa, I remember climbing to the top of the leaning bell tower. It was weird because while you were climbing, you would struggle and then it would be easy, then struggle and then easy,” Randy said.
The reason for this sensation Randy said was, “The stairway goes around the inside of the tower. I also remember that it was quite a view from the top. You could see the Mediterranean”.
“As I recall the church was also very beautiful,” Randy finished.
Refreshed with food, I asked Randy if we could take a little walk. We meandered down several narrow streets all lined with beautiful hotels and small restaurants. I tired quickly so we returned to the hotel and sat outside in the small park across the street. Eventually, several members of our group returned from various tours and joined us.
Even though I was not feeling very hungry, I joined Randy in the dining room. It was a good decision as I really enjoyed hearing all about Pisa from our friends.
We turned in early to pack for the trip to our next destination, Lucerne, Switzerland.