Friday, May 13, 2011

Pisa and Camp Darby

We drove South of Pisa to see if we could find Camp Darby. We were able to find it but it didn't bring back any memories of the times we camped there to visit some of the places we are revisiting this month. I guess I was thinking it would look familiar to me, but much may have changed in 20 years.

We then drove to Pisa and found the free car parking lot near the tour bus parking that Rick Steves mentioned in his book. We ran the gauntlet of vendors that cover every inch and both sides of the path into the city. Once inside the gate, there seemed to be more vendors than we remember from our visit there many years ago. We took numerous pictures but did not buy a ticket to enter any of the buildings or walk to the top of the tower. It was very crowded as there must have been 50 tour buses parked in the lot.

We wandered through the town seeing what else there is in Pisa besides the Leaning Tower and associated buildings. Nothing too exciting but lots of restaurant people trying to get us to sit and buy their food. The exciting part was running the vendor gauntlet to get back to catch the bus to our parking lot. We were badgered by a gentleman selling watches - all Rolexes of course! We had seen a sign in the city that said that one could be fined 500 euro for buying fake merchandise. When I mentioned to the gentleman that they were fake, he said they were imitations. He started with a price of 25 euro but by the time we got near the bus stop, Beth's new Rolex only cost 10 euro, and it comes with a five-year warranty! He said he would be here in Pisa if we had any problem and he would make it right. Sure he would!

We then drove to Viareggio on the coast and followed the road by the beaches most of the way home. We found one place that was not private but it was all a rocky beach. We took a walk near the water to listen to the waves and just enjoy being near the water.

Tomorrow we plan to visit San Gimignano and some other hill towns mentioned in the tour guide books.

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