by Melinda Gallo

The Leaning Tower, the beach, and a sunset

The Tuscan countryside is a blur from the window of the train. I try to focus on the rustic buildings in the distance, but am easily distracted by the large fields of girasoli (sunflowers). Its burst of yellow always puts a smile on my face. My beau and I planned on going to trip at the last minute and hopped on a train this morning. I canít even remember the last time I went to visit Pisa, maybe about 8 years ago.

We walked from the stazione (train station) to the Piazza dei Miracoli where the Torre pendente di Pisa (leaning tower of Pisa) is located. Even though the temperatures werenít that high, we still stuck to the shady half of the street. Almost all the shops were closed because itís ferragosto (Feast of the Assumption) today; however, most of the restaurants and bars were open.

While the streets werenít busy, the number of tourists in the Piazza dei Miracoli was almost overwhelming with most of them posing with the Torre pendente di Pisa. We initially plan to eat nearby, but decided to head to the beach. We jumped in a taxi and headed to Tirrenia where the tassista (taxi driver) told us were the sandy beaches.

We ate lunch at a restaurant along the water, we paid half-day to have two chairs and a ombrellone (umbrella) on the private beach. We enjoyed wading in the water with waves kept moving us back toward the beach.

After a few hours, we were fortunate to catch a bus back to Pisa. Along the long, but inexpensive, voyage to Pisa, we were happy to have seen the Bocca díArno (mouth of the Arno), which is the same river in Florence. Iíve never seen it before and it only made me appreciate my river even more.

We hopped on a train back to Florence where we had an aperitivo (aperitif) in one of my favorite bars and then watched the sun set behind the Ponte Santa Trinita along the Arno.

Once we got back to my apartment in Florence, it felt as if we spent two full days visiting Pisa and the beach, but somehow we did it all in one day. The best part was that we made it home to catch the sunset in Florence.

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