Discovering Port Vendres and Collioure because they were on the way to an airport was good luck. Stopping overnight in Pisa because we wanted to land somewhere near Cinque Terre was a mistake.
Sorry, “Pisans”. Aside from the Leaning Tower and surroundings, we didn’t find Pisa to be a great place to visit.
If you want to see the tower, and take one of those predictable “holding up the leaning tower” photos , I suggest you drive by and jump out with your camera.
Perhaps after a busy day in Collioure, a drive to the airport in Girona, dropping off Mustang Sally in an unfamiliar country, a long wait and bad food at the airport, we weren’t in the mood for what happened next.
Where not to stay
For the first time in my traveling with AirBNB, I made a mistake. In my defense, we made this part of our plan at the last-minute. So there were few–almost none– places listed for Pisa. We pretty much booked what was available.
For a twenty-something it would have been fine. For The Golden Girls, it was bleak and noisy.
To begin with, the room we booked in the “B&B” was tucked away in a scary alley in the oldest part of town. The cab driver wouldn’t even take us down the street.
After we got over our shock and disappointment with our location, we lugged our bags up the three flights of stairs to our room.
The place was stark and dreary, but clean. One double bed, one single bed, and a side table. That was it. No lamps, pictures or decoration of any type. Beds and pillows were hard, bath towels resembled large kitchen towels. It was adequate, and I repeat, it was clean. But it wasn’t exactly what we were hoping for when we were so tired.
One of the good things about traveling with these friends is that they make the best of everything. Just minutes after taking in the situation, we were laughing hysterically. I think it was right after we discovered our room was on top of Pisa’s “party central” — the square where college kids meet to drink and dance. All night.
Daylight came really quickly and our surroundings didn’t look so bad. We agreed the. B&B would be a good choice for young people. There was a nice living area and kitchen. It could be fun if we were forty years younger.
The Leaning Tower
Close to everything” was a true description of the B&B in the AirBNB listing. Not only were we in the middle of the town’s night life, we were within walking distance of the Leaning Tower and the cathedral.
For some reason, I wasn’t expecting all the ornate buildings around the tower. Even though I’d done a “ride by” on the “Europe on $5 a Day” trip. The area is truly beautiful.
Taking a few more photos of the town to remind us we don’t have to come back, we were off to the train station.
When you are traveling alone to a new destination, or you’re with a small group, budget enough to pay for a cab from the train station, or airport. It’s particularly advisable if it’s late in the day, and/or, you don’t speak the language. This might sound pricey, but it can mean a safer, more relaxing entre to your new location.
Next stop: Florence, Italy
Photos: Thanks to all The Golden Girls for photo contributions to this blog.