Found a cheap pensione in Florence last night and washed the experience of Rome down the drain in a wonderfully hot, steamy shower. I was pleased to discover the bed was fairly firm and didn't fold up around me. Actually had one of the best night's sleeps I've had in a while.
A grocery store not far from the train station supplied my breakfast of cheese, bread and juice, plus a few oranges to snack on while waiting for the train to arrive in Pisa.
Pisa is a very small town, and easy to find the touristy attractions, like the leaning tower. The tower is being reinforced to prevent it from leaning any further. Without this work, it would eventually just succumb to the effects of gravity, destroying the town's economy. At one point, visitors could climb the tower, but that option has been suspended until the efforts to save the tower have been completed. I did manage to take a couple pictures and buy a little touristy trinket. Tower seen, leaning confirmed, I headed back to Florence.
Florence is a very pretty city. The Ponte Vecchio bridge offers beautiful views of the river and gondolas that carry passengers through the canal. It's difficult to absorb though, as I have to be on alert for dog droppings, pick pockets, butt pinchers and other pedestrians while trying to orient myself with my map and look for street signs. I find the whole exploring thing quite stressful, actually.
Florence is preparing for Carnevale. Shops have masks and costumes on display in the windows. So beautiful, so colourful. Florence also has pedestrian dedicated areas with wider passageway that make it easier to avoid the hazards and annoyances of traveling on foot. I decide to stay another night in Florence. Tomorrow, I will brave Italy's dirty and perverted south one more time.
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“Do not insult the mother alligator until after you have crossed the river.”