Friday, September 19, 2008

Rained Out in Pisa

Today was the one day the weather really sucked. It rained pretty hard all day. We started with breakfast at the hotel and decided despite the weather, we had to make a day trip to Pisa since we were so close. It was about a 45 minute drive and I think we stayed about 20 minutes. There’s not a lot to see in Pisa other than the “square of miracles” with the Cathedral, Baptistry, monumental cemetery, and the leaning tower. We took pictures, beat away the umbrella vendors and returned to Lucca.

To warm up, we had hot drinks and pastries at Di Sima, the café where Puccini hung out. Very cool! We waited out the rain in our room for a bit and it did clear up.

We walked around and visited Lucca’s amphitheatre and St. Martin's Cathedral, and picked up 2 geocaches. The Cathedral had some interesting history. They had a large crucifix, which legend said was carved by Nicodemus, one of Jesus’ followers. The cross was guided in an unmanned boat to the shores of Italy, then a team of untamed oxen magically pulled the cross to Lucca.

Another good scam was at church San Michele. There’s an angel statue on top of the church with moveable wings. Clergy would go up the back of the church and flap the wings and tell the people it was a miracle. However, there’s clearly a staircase up the back of the building. How did they not see a guy up there working the wings? Even if they corralled everyone to the front during these events, you’d think at some point someone would have said, hey, what’s that staircase back there all about? Stairs to pray closer to God, you say? Yep, that makes sense.

We went back to the hotel and tried to pay so we could leave early in the morning. Unfortunately we ended up talking to a lady who only spoke Italian and really had no interest in helping us understand. She kept talking louder and louder, which we countered with the blank tourist stare. Eventually I looked up “tomorrow” – domani - in our phrase book and she seemed relieved to be rid of us.

For dinner Kevin had wild boar pasta and I had the house specialty, fried chicken with fried vegetables. I don’t know what I was expecting, but when my meal arrived it was just a sea of deep fried. It was good in the moment but I did not feel well afterwards. I had the deep fried sweats for the rest of the night.

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