Pisa and its Tower

This one will be short and sweet as I am still high as a kite about a photographic experience I just had in Tarragona, Spain, today (it’s Friday, September 23 as I write this). Besides, our visit to Pisa was not the best day of our trip. Not because the Tower wasn’t leaning, but because it was just kind of a ho-hum experience. After so many days of getting on a “luxury motor coach,” testing our Vox earsets (so we can hear our guide while we walk around), driving to wherever, getting off the bus, having the guide rush away like a madperson, having to go and ask them to slow down, listening to them tell you the history of everything while wearing the headsets, then going from place to place quickly and standing while the guide talks (you would think the guides are paid by the word), it was getting really old.

This was another of Viking’s “included” excursions, so we were on the bus to Pisa at 8:30 am. We are glad we went in the morning (we had a choice of the afternoon as well) because those who went in the afternoon said it was a total zoo with huge crowds. We were able to at least move around the square.

Today’s guide was a speed demon. She went so fast that the people at the back of the line lost track of her leading the group. And worse, there were numerous other groups from bus tours who had parked where our bus did, and we were mixing in with our crowd and we with them. It was horrible. And this was the day the Vox system that we bring from our rooms (headsets so we can hear the guide) decided to fail. We knew it wasn’t our headsets but the guide’s microphone because no one could understand about 80% of what she said—too much static.

So there we were in the square in Pisa, with the Tower and the basilica right in front of us and not able to understand a word the guide said, so we ditched the tour. We just took off on our own, went at our own pace and made our own plans. The guides kind of know you are going to do this because they tell you in advance where to meet to go back to the “luxury motor coach.”

So I shot some pics; it started to rain; we sat by the church and then decided to take refuge at a sidewalk cafe with huge umbrellas and have a cappuccino. It was delightful just to sit and people-watch. After a while, Steve and Jamie joined us, and we started walking back to the “luxury motor coach.” Then we found out that we were just going back to the same place to meet the “luxury motor coach.” If they had told us that, we could have turned the almost mile-long walk into something where Kathleen and Jamie could have rested every so often instead of their version of the Bataan Death March. These guides just do not get it. Usually, I tip our guides quite well. So far on this trip, I have tipped two. Just two. The others have either been rude, in a huge hurry, rambling or worse. Of course, we all tipped Luigi and Alessandro in Cinque Terre, but they weren’t Viking guides.

After the march, it was back on the “luxury motor coach” and back to the ship where I wrote you another blog post and processed my photos, which you can see below. Hope you enjoy them. Don’t forget, if you click the first shot, you can then scroll through with your arrow keys or by swiping…and PLEASE…don’t look at my photography on a phone. Please…

That was our day in Pisa. Pretty boring, to be honest. I could have done the entire thing in an hour instead of the two-and-a-half that Viking thought we needed. But I truly think that’s because the guide was paid by the word. Too bad we couldn’t hear more than twenty percent of them.

I’ve been to the Leaning Tower of Pisa. It’s a tower, and it’s leaning. You look at it, but nothing happens, so then you look for someplace to get a sandwich.  —Danny DeVito

7 thoughts on “Pisa and its Tower

  1. Alas, a ship excursion to forget. What sort of numbers were in your group? We have always found 12 to be a good number. Not seen the leaning tower but hopefully will at some point in the future.
    Your photos make Livorno look amazing, its not how I remember it but then again we never had the same sky as you. Great photos once again. 👍🏼

  2. Judy Fite

    Jim, I have followed your postings ever since we were on the same cruise and you arranged our transportation in Edinburgh for the Tattoo. I have thoroughly enjoyed your comments for all of your travels and the excellent photos. I have lived in Italy twice, for an extended period studying the language, and I love seeing the photos and reminiscing of my time spent there. I thoroughly agree of all your comments on Pisa. I also visited & would have to say it was pretty much a waste of time other than to say I had been there. Thank you for taking the time to do this as I’m sure many of us enjoy traveling with you! I am particularly interested in your final evaluation of Viking. As you, we are long time Celebrity travelers and in fact, have 3 planned. Thanks again Jim, great reviews and wonderful photos!

    1. Hi Judy, I remember you and Jack. Hope you are doing great. In fact, I still have the Silhouetter’s website online. If you are ever feeling nostalgic, you can see it here: http://jkbellomo.com/silhouette/index.html

      My final evaluation of the cruise will be coming in the next week. We got off the ship today and are in Barcelona until Monday when we fly home (18 hours—YUCK!). Did you see my post about three weeks ago about why we are leaving Celebrity after 22+ cruises? If not you can read it here: https://jktravelredmond.com/2022/08/16/why-we-are-leaving-celebrity-cruise-line-after-25-cruises/ and why we may be switching to Viking Ocean here: https://jktravelredmond.com/2022/08/18/why-viking/

      1. Judy

        Thanks Jim, I’ll check it out! Can’t believe you remember our names! That was a great cruise. We still cruise as often as we can. For some reason I am hesitant to leave Celebrity where we at least have some perks. It’s hard to give up status and take a chance, but who knows you might convince us!

      2. Hi Judy,
        What perks are those? That’s why we left. Everything we used to get as Elite Plus is now free to everyone. So those 270 minutes each of WiFi is now incredibly slow becauuse everyone has unlimited WiFi. The free cocktail hour is gone because everyone has free cocktails. The only thing left is a bag of laundry. On Viking, every guest gets everything included. It was nice not being nickel and dimed to death.

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