Jul. 26, 2005
Tuesday, our day at the seaside. We got an early start and headed West towards Volterra. The goal was Cecina (CHAY-cheena), a seaside area, but Volterra was on the way. We ended up getting off of the freeway and onto the country roads and that was our undoing. What should have been a two hour trip took over three hours and was on the mountainous roads. We drove through Volterra (but didn't stop - boo! That was my only suggestion for this trip) and got trapped in Sienna (another day trip that got scrapped) for awhile. (Note, following the signs for San Francesco will take you around a circle - S.F. is most likely a church!)
We finally made it to Cecina and found parking after awhile. The beach was awfully rocky, but many of us stuck our feet in the water. It wasn't the Mediterranean, but it was close!
We ate at a cafe - I got a sandwich, but a few people (like judiang), ordered pasta. Guess what? Same pasta as at the Big Apple! They just put it on plates. So Judi got to have lasagna bolognese again. Ha! Important lesson - if you eat at a sandwich shop, order a sandwich. If you're at a pizzeria, order pizza. But don't order pasta - it's probably prefab food. :-)
After lunch, we returned to our cars in a leisurely fashion. Since we were already so far east, it was decided to find Pisa.
Finding the city of Pisa was not too hard, however our parties became separated. The Saunders & Fishers got to the city and then our task was to find the leaning tower. This was rather difficult as the signs kept changing & disappearing on us. Finally, Judi remembered her Rough Guide of Tuscany & Umbria - it had a map!
With the use of the map, we got close enough and parked. Then Weavers found us and a bit later, Treons arrived - woohoo! There was argument on how long we were going to stay and thus how long to park for, but many of us set off towards the tower.
The tower is pretty cool to see, as is the church and baptistery. I took lots of pictures (but not the "holding up the tower" shot that so many folks were doing). After perusing the shops (most selling the same tat) Judi and I sat at a cafe & I wrote in my journal while drinking €2 lemonade (fizzy pop).
When our gathering time came around, it took some effort to get all of the ladies (not including me and Judi) out of the jewelry shop, but then it was back to the cars.
We took the A1 back and that ride went much smoother than the ride there. We stopped in town and ate at Al Viale, the place that served Judi the night before. Everyone had fabulous meals and, unless you got steak, had a cheap meal too. Turns out the steaks were €4/hg (hectogram)! Whoops! With the whopping steaks those folks got, it was €35 just for the meat!
I ordered ravioli with butter & sage and had the best meal I've had in Italy. It was fabulous. With water, bread charge, and tip, it was under €10! We liked it so much, some of us vowed to return the next day for lunch.
The way home had Judi & I getting gelato from our usual again. I got chocolate & coconut (not as good as vanilla & coconut I decided). Then we returned to swim our troubles away.
I took lots of photos at Pisa (and one or two at the seaside) and have those under the cut. We had such gorgeous weather for taking scenic shots.
Looks like Elsa has her own little street in Cecina. Nicely done, birthday girl!
I always get "By the Sea" from Sweeney Todd stuck in my head when I look at this picture.
Elsa's not the only famous person to have a street named after her in Italy. Enrico Fermi (and, less visible, Picaso) has one too! This is in Pisa.
Watch out Judi! That tower behind you is leaning a bit!
The tower's not the only thing leaning - the baptistery & church were built on the same sandy ground. The tower, as you can see, is the most obvious.
Tomorrow is the first day of school with the kids. I managed to get my first day stuff all done and make the room somewhat livable. The lab still has a way to go, but it's not near as bad as it was. And I only stayed until 4:50pm. Not too shabby! :-) Mother's resigned to the fact that she must go to Frische's with me and dad tomorrow night. It's tradition! (So, Amy, glad you moved away?) Here's hoping the day goes smoothly and the kids are nice to me! :-)