Pizza in Pisa – no, we went to IKEA instead
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We have just been and spend several hectic days in Rome, and on the way, we had called in at Explorason’s request to see the Leaning Tower of Pisa. One of the items on his World ‘Must See’ Bucket List.
We had raced into the town and it was so hot the perspiration was dripping off us. In such a limited time, we foot our hats but fortunately remembered the water. The traffic was crawling, so we parked a good 20 minutes walk away, under the subway, and raced to see it. Explorafriend wanted to catch a train from Rome to her relatives in Italy, so we had very little time. Such little time, in fact, we never even were able to get close to it. It was a mighty dash off.
Explorason suppressed his disappointment. ” This is tourism, not traveling, and not REALLY seeing the important things in the world” he expressed to me later that night, and he was clearly upset.
So the day we left Rome we were decided at 7:00 a.m. that we should take him back and ‘touch and feel and climb’.
The traffic was mad. It was a long weekend public holiday and so we spent hours sitting at a snail pace on the road. So slow in fact, we ended up fast digressing off to a back road to Pisa. By 1:30 p.m. we had tickets to climb the tower at 5:15 p.m. that night.
So with time to spare, we decided to go to IKEA.
Explorason loves the food and loves homewares. So he was so excited to go there. In fact, I think the excitement outmatched the tower! The cost of lunch was about triple the cost of IKEA in Australia, but that was OK.
He has been wanting to slow down for a while, so he decided to spend time ‘selecting his bedroom’ furniture for his idea new bedroom! This is quite funny when you have no home.
I too must admit I loved this little stool. By the end of three hours, I found it torturous and depressing. We, of course, bought nothing but came away feeling hopeless. This was not the best day to do it either. With our massive change in travel plans since Explorafriend had decided to go to her family part way through the journey, we had to completely make a new set of plans. In fact, this cemented to me we needed to stop and think about where we are headed and what we are doing with our lives.
So by the time we arrived back at The Leaning Tower of Pisa, we were flatter than two pancakes. Here we had a dream of a lifetime. I had missed climbing it when I was 21 years old when I came to Europe on a tour, and so now we had this chance. The tickets were the same price for Adult or Child. But we were indeed glad we were going to climb it. Sadly we had to wait in the shade of the tower for another hour and so we used this time to start thinking of the future. I also spent the time reading.
We finally were hitting the time to line up, and we could see families who had waited hours peeling themselves off the grassed area.
We reach the start of the line and it is already five minutes past our time. We were then told we couldn’t go in as we hadn’t deposited my handbag or the water bottle. We had not been told this, so with a mighty dash we sprinted, with Explorason actually pushing me for extra speed, across the path, and into the locker area. No time to think. Passports and credit cards are really at the honesty of the staff – yikes – I don’t like that!
They have taken ten years to correct the continued lean on this and stabilize it. It is over one thousand years old, and the marble is cool to feel – yes we touch it!
There are two viewing areas, and we stop at the first. We have missed the educational time with the bag fiasco, so we ask another English couple for a brief synopsis.
The area is well caged. No jumpers can suicide here.
This was built as a bell tower, and there are seven bells at the top. By the time we get to the top Explorason is pooped. He has a lie-down. As we are in groups, there is a very limited time. By the time we all take turns for a photo, they are repeating the request to go down.
I have learned in my travels to stop. To look and to take in the detail, and so we do this. The color and texture and feel is amazing. I’m so glad we decided to spend the afternoon here.
We decent the stairwell and feel the grooves beneath our feet, as they are well worn.
I stop to admire the small flower detail on the walls. Someone hand chiseled this in stone one thousand years ago. They helped make history. My question in life to myself right now is “how can I make a small change in this world and help make history”?
For me right now it is more than just seeing the world and teaching. There is more, and my soul is longing for more. I LOVE being a mother. I love traveling. I love the quality time I have as I guide my son to discover and immerse himself in this learning process. These are the questions I want to face in the coming weeks of my life. What change can I make on this earth?
So we head to the base of the tower and inside we stand and look up toward the heavens.
We finish off and retrieve my handbag and or water bottle and go and find the car. We drive off.
Tonight we drive off with nowhere to stay. We are going to ‘wing it’. But the interesting thing is we don’t exactly know what area. It is a new and uncomfortable feeling, but as a mother, I always make sure we don’t travel back roads in the dark or at risk.
The adventure continues.
Questions and Comments
- Are you a family that travels permanently?
- What is your take on families that travel permanently?
- Have you tried housesitting?
- How has it worked for you?
- What do you make of IKEA?
- Do share your experiences and comments with us below.