Pisa’s iconic Leaning Tower is our stop in Day 8 of our European Vacation! In today’s episode of our on-going series me, my wife Erika and our three kids aged seven, five and one, spend the day learning history and snapping pictures of the leaning tower of Pisa. Despite a horrible start to the day, we managed to make it to our destination on-time and make the most of the time we had in Pisa’s Cathedral Square.
Worst Possible Start – Wrong Trains and Heavy Rains
Our Pisa adventure kicked off with what could be best described as a series of unfortunate events. We woke up early in our hotel room in Monterosso, packed our bags, had breakfast and rushed to the train station. The sky, which was overcast and cloudy the previous day, opened up with heavy rain. And to top it all off we boarded the wrong train.
Pisa Travel Tip – When Life Gives you Lemons…
Travel mishaps such as lost connections, departure delays or flight cancellations can be stressful and overwhelming (especially when you’re in a new and unfamiliar city), but it’s important to stay calm and improvise. Possible solutions include arranging alternative transportation, rescheduling, or exploring new destinations. View travel setbacks as opportunities for unexpected adventures and personal growth.
We improvised raincoats by paying the cook on the train 5 Euros for some plastic bags which we fashioned into makeshift raincoats. We then proceeded to get off at the next station and catch the correct train to Pisa. Not the greatest start to the day, but we made the best of it. No adventure is without with a few hiccups!
Pisa Travel Tip – Explore Florence and Pisa in One Day
Many cruise ships in Italy dock at the port city of Livorno and offer passengers 10-12 hours to explore the area. From personal experience, it is entirely possible to explore not just Livorno, but also Florence and Pisa during that brief time – you just have to plan properly and be prepared for contingencies.
Here’s what we did during our last cruise ship trip to Italy: Start in Florence: Take the train to Florence from Livorno and spend 3-4 hours exploring the city’s rich history and culture. Take the train to Pisa: From Florence take a train to Pisa for a relaxed afternoon, safe in the knowledge you are closer to your cruise ship in case of unexpected delays. Check train schedules and have a backup plan for returning to your cruise ship, such as taking an Uber/taxi in case you are late or miss the last train back to Livorno.
Finally Reaching Pisa
Much to the relief of everyone, we finally made it to Pisa with no further delays or drama. After stowing our luggage at the Pisa Train Station, we hopped on a taxi to Cathedral Square, the site of the world-famous leaning tower. A bus would have been much cheaper, but we opted for a taxi since it is quicker and we were willing to pay a little extra to be able to spend more time exploring Pisa.
Pisa Travel Tip – Stow Your Bags!
Stow Your Bags offers convenient and easy luggage storage in many cities across Europe. Simply book online and pay in advance. Pisa train station also has a luggage storage service, but it’s often busy and doesn’t offer advance booking. Both options are convenient for travelers who want to explore the city without checking into a hotel.
Exploring Pisa Cathedral Square
I don’t need to write endless paragraphs about our time at Pisa Cathedral Square – the pictures speak for themselves. It lives up to the hype and we had a great time exploring the Leaning Tower of Pisa, Pisa Cathedral and Pisa Baptistery (even though we were a little rushed trying to see everything in the time available). The only place we didn’t go to in Cathedral Square was inside he Leaning Tower itself, since the climb wasn’t feasible with two young boys and a baby in a stroller. Pisa Cathedral Square something everyone should experience at least one time in their lives – Erika and I count ourselves extremely lucky to have visited more than once.
Leaving Pisa & Conclusion
The kids were getting tired and a little cranky so we took that as our cue to head back to the station to take the train to Rome. Before leaving we browsed the souvenir stands – the kids, as usual, wanted to buy everything so I had to remind them that we had limited luggage space which was already bursting at the seams with all the purchases we have made in our trip so far. Our Pisa adventure ended with us on the bus heading to the train station, tired but happy.
Stay tuned for the next entry in our European Trip series, where we explore Rome and board a cruise ship!
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