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A European Engagement: Pisa

Another early day of train travel was from Pompeii to Pisa. We had three train transfers, both with about 5 minutes to get off one train, read the platform board to find out where our next train was waiting, and get on it. Both times about 30 seconds after we were on, the train immediately shut the doors and started moving. The train rides in Italy between cities are so incredibly beautiful, allowing you to see most of the coast during the journey.

Once we arrived in Pisa, we walked from the train station to our air bnb for check in, which is right in the town square.

After some lunch, we took a walk through the city to a small park with a castle in it, called Giardino Scotto.

My favorite part of this trip was when we found a local bakery that served some of the Italian treats we had been looking to try. The bakery was taking its mid day, two hour lunch break when we got there, so we had to wait a bit before going in. The bakery was called Pasticceria Siciliana, and it was run by this little, sweet Italian lady. I got the Sfogiatelle (the one that looks like a seashell, naturally) and Mike got a pistachio beignet with pistachio cream inside.

The Sfogiatelle was the soo good! I can not stress enough, if you find yourself in Italy, you need to get yourself one of these. Mike and I went back and forth on how to describe the taste for so long and the consensus we came to was a nutmeg-y, lemon- ish flavor (looking it up, it says it is filled with ricotta cheese), but you have to try it. This is the number thing we ate on the entire trip we continuously talked about.

After filling up on sweets, it was time for the main attraction, The Leaning Tower of Pisa. It's hilarious to look around at all the people taking photos walking around with their arms raised trying to get the right angle.

It was actually exceptionally difficult to get this picture, but I really wanted to do something different. 

 It's often really challenging when you find yourself in a tourist destination to take a photo with not a lot of people around, so here are a few pro tips to help with the crowds:
- Offer to take photos for those around you first, and eventually they will slowly start to clear out (and they may even offer to take your photo too!)
-Go early in the day, or later in the evening. Prime time is always between about 11am-3pm to any sort of attraction.
-Get the right angle. Sometimes all it takes is a simple turn or adjustment to make it look like no one is around. 
- Be Patient! This is the hardest of them all, but sometimes all it takes is waiting to let a few people by, allowing you more of a crowd free area.

Don't be fooled by our less crowded photos, there were lots and lots of people around, but following some of these guidelines will absolutely help. 

The tower itself is leaning due to a soil miscalculation during its first construction in 1173, causing the building to actually sink. It sort of reminds me of something you'd see in a theme park, or like a fun house when you look at it in person. Surrounding the tower is Piazza dei Miracoli and the cathedral, which are equally as neat.

We enjoyed laying in the courtyard for a bit taking in the sunshine, since this was the first day on our trip it finally was not 90 degrees outside.

On the way back to our air bnb, we stopped for some Sicilian street food and were not disappointed. We had Arancini (deep fried rice and sausage ball) and a panzarotti, which is like a deep fried pizza hot pocket, both delicious!

The rest of the night was spent enjoying wandering around in the fresh air and having a bit of down time before whisking away to Venice.
Even though our time in Pisa was short and (most defiantly) sweet, it's safe to say Pisa will forever have a Pisa my heart!

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