Brisbane2Bristol

On our great adventure

On the Lean… Towards Pisa…

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Hoping for an early start today and get away from the city of Roma early did not happen as planned…for some reason we are sleeping in a lot more now, not sure why…
It was nothing to do with the wine!

We were lucky we hadn’t missed saying good bye to Brad and Kath who were also leaving Roma for their next adventure…

With the bike all packed up we are now ready to leave the magnificent city of Roma, knowing that one day we will return, well we did throw our coins in the Trevili Fountain making it a certainty…

The ride should take about less than four hours on A1/E35, about 360 klms, depending on how many toll roads we can avoid…lol.

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We rode through some stunning countryside; Italy really is a feast for the eye, the magnificent buildings perched on top of cliff faces, overlooking all that travels below it, these stunning scenes are etched in my mind!

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We made good time and not far from the city of Pisa we come across a Suzuki motorbike dealership, we did a u-turn and Clive heads to the shop to find out if they can do the bearing on the back wheel of the VStrom, as it is starting to give us some concern, there was no one was about, and it was only 1.30pm…hmmmm

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Clive took a wander around to the back of the building and comes across one of the mechanic’s, in broken English and sign language, the man agreed to do the bearings as long as we can return at 3pm. After Siesta time…

We Head off in the direction of Pisa, we knew we were close as we could see the leaning tower in the distance…it didn’t take long until we found a suitable camp ground, after we set up the tent, I got the rest of the camp ‘gear’ out of the luggage boxes, while Clive took off back to the Suzuki shop to get the much needed bearings done.

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The mechanics got stuck in changing the bearings and were amazed at how far we had come…
They said after all the roads we had come through it was amazing they lasted this long …

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As soon as Clive returned with me having the camp set up we set off to discover the famous ‘Leaning Tower of Pisa’… we only had one night here, so we need to make the most of the day light.

After about 10 minutes we walked through the old stone archway and into The Piazza del Duomo (“Cathedral Square”) it is a wide, walled area at the heart of the city of Pisa.
It was built in 1156 and still looks pretty good, you are greeted by four great religious edifices: the Duomo (cathedral), the Campanile (the cathedral’s free standing bell tower), the Baptistry and the Camposanto, as well as many street stalls selling everything from Pisa hats to Pisa snow shaker domes!

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On our left hand side we walked past chained off green manicured lawns…we soon noted that tourists were scrambling onto the lawn the get ‘that’ photo of them ‘holding up’ Pisa or ‘pushing’ it down, these photos had to be done quickly as the ‘lawn’ Police would come and shoo you off the lawn.
We also got into the act as well…

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The pathway takes you into Cathedral square there you will pass the simply stunning Cathedral’s… after admiring the leaning tower we head off to the ticket office to a purchase our once in a life time tickets to climb the Bell Tower. The tickets were expensive and are budget was getting a blowout, but we had to get to the top…
While we waited for our climb, we read up on a little information about it… The start of construction began in August 1173 and was completed in 1373…it took so long to build as there were constant battles going on between the Pisan’s and Genoains.

The Bell Tower was built on soft ground and so started to lean soon after the first few bricks were laid!
The Tower was closed to the public from 1990 as it was deemed not safe for tourists, unfortunately, tourist numbers declined by forty-five per cent.
So in 1995 it was decided that major construction was going ahead to help right the lean on the tower, which was 5.5 degrees and after construction work it is now 3.99 degrees which means the top of the tower is 12 feet 10 inches off center, the Tower was now ready to be reopened, which happened in 2001, the construction work cost a staggering $25 million…Wow..

When it was our turn, we were ushered into the bottom of the Tower and given a little talk…next was the start of the 294 steps…immediately I got a ‘seasick’ feeling, all off balance…because the building is leaning so much the wear in the steps wasn’t in the center of the steps like most stone steps would be, but to the side…depending on which ‘lean’ you were at!

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It really was a weird feeling making you off balance the whole time…finally at the top of this incredible old building, your natural instinct is to hang onto the railings for fear of going over the edge, but boy did we get to enjoy the amazing view of the surrounding areas, it felt so weird knowing that in one certain area we were hanging 5 meters out form the base of the building…!

While Mussolini was in power he was embarrassed by the leaning tower and calling it a disgrace to national pride, he attempted to fix the tower by way of a cement counterweight drilled into the base of the tower, which didn’t work…

The sky was blue and clear we could see for miles, even the mountains in the distance, the ones that we were heading towards tomorrow!

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The tower features Romanesque-themed medieval architecture, and is believed to have been constructed by Gherardo di Gherardo, Bonanno Pisano, Giovanni Pisano, and Giovanni di Simone.
The tower is constructed from white marble, and looks amazing against the blue sky.

There are seven bells at the top of the tower and all have names, which are L’Assunta, Il Crocifisso, San Ranieri, La Terza, La Pasquereccia or La Giustizia, Il Vespruccio and Dal Pozzo….now thats some useful information isn’t it?

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Next we head off towards The Cathedral of Pisa also known as the Duomo.
The cathedral is called The Cathedral of Our Lady of the Assumption, the tower and the Cathedral are located in ‘The field of Miracles’
The Cathedral’s construction started in 1064 by Busketo, the facade is grey marble…
WOW…this is one cool church…. the carvings on the huge bronze entrance doors are astounding, so much detail and each door was different…

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These doors replaced the original doors (destroyed in a fire) in 1595.

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Entering in the church you immediately feel at peace, not just because it was quiet, but something else, a feeling that’s hard to define, but you’ll know it when you have it!

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Just like in Roma we leave the church to find that all the stalls and gift shops closing early for the day, also a few of the restaurants were closing for the day.

We found a café and decide to have a coffee and enjoy what daylight was left soak up the atmosphere and to admire the Cathedral’s and the Bell Tower of Pisa in all her magnificent surroundings.

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As night closes in we head to the supermarket to get supplies for a late dinner…. Hmm we can’t be bothered to cook so we get crackers and mini cheeses, plus a bottle of local wine to finish of the day…
Life is good ☺
Unfortunately we have to leave another great place, with not seeing as much as we should have, the winter season is closing in on Europe and we still have so much to see, so we can’t linger long at one place, although you wouldn’t have thought so by todays weather.

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The next morning should have been an early one, but it wasn’t, this time i do blame the wine!
We packed up and set off towards the beautiful area of Lake Guardia.
We haven’t set a route and will wander off aimlessly again…
Thats the great thing about doing a trip on our own, we can change route to suit our needs….

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