Helen was really looking forward to last weekend. She was planing to spend her weekend in Pisa with sunshine, wine and pizza and the New Year’s eve celebration…huh?
To avoid any confusion, Helen did not drink too much wine (maybe she did but that is not the question here). On March 25, New Year’s Eve is being celebrated in Pisa with fireworks and all. According to the Gregorian calendar, the New Year’s starts 9 months prior to Christmas and so we were at the right time at the right place. Even though we were not really aware of this: we were walking around in a confused state wondering why all these Italian people were outside on the streets at night. Especially considering that during the day the same Italian people thought it was way too cold outside. If you want to plan a trip to Tuscany, we have got a couple of great recommendations for you:
– First of all, book your trip to Pisa! There are a huge amount of cheap flights to Pisa and most flight schedules are very convenient for a weekend trip. If you are a good planner you can even celebrate New Year twice in one year!
– Visiting the tower of Pisa does not cost a lot of time, actually most of the time spent there we were laying in the grass. So take some food and beverages with you and pray for some great weather. This way you have all the ingredients to spend some time in the area. Watching people remains the best way to spend your time here.
– From Pisa there is an easy train connection to Lucca. Lucca is a small town with a renaissance city wall. You can hike the wall, an astonishing 4.2k walk (we thoroughly tested it from beginning to end). Do not forget to take a look around to see if you can spot the little tunnels which provide access to the city wall from outside: these are certainly worth the effort of further investigation. Another suggestion is to get lost in the city itself, it provides you with fun experiences: before you know it you are sitting against a tree on the roof of a tower looking down at the city from above.
– Florence (or Firenze for Italians or Valencia for the geographically challenged Helens of this planet) is a beautiful town to visit when you reside in Pisa. You spent 50 minutes in the train and get out in the city centre. From here all roads lead to … monuments, statues and imposing buildings. When you have had enough of the city (and especially the amount of tourists), we advice you to visit the gardens of the Medici family. Who does not know this family has spent the last 500 years literally under a rock. The Medici family is a family of bankers with large political power obtained in the 16th century. This family was incredibly wealthy as can been seen from the garden itself: the most notable objects were collected in this garden. For instance, an obelisk with hieroglyphs looked pretty impressive in a garden outside Egypt.
– Do not forget your hiking shoes! During the weekend we hiked about 50k, we actually had in mind to run a couple of kilometres, but never mind, we gave up on that. Next time we will leave the running shoes at home.
– De inside joke tip: if something does not work turning left, try turning right (something to do with a shower that was installed the other around, providing you with a very, very refreshing start in the morning).
– Pizza and wine are always good! We managed to have breakfast with pizza, to spend tea time with pizza and to dine with pizza. We actually looked forward to having lunch with pizza as well, but the waitor misunderstood us and therefore we ended up with sandwiches for lunch (bummer). Life is simple in Tuscany regarding wines. You can call “vino rosso” at any random time (thoroughly tested) and soon you can enjoy a nice glass of Chianti or Bolgheri. If you go to a local bar and enjoy a nice wine, do not be surprised if you are offered a free buffet. We can guarantee it fits perfectly after your tea time pizza and again it is free (Dutch people like free, just think of going Dutch).
We have one unsolved mystery left: how is it possible that those flat round pizza’s change your belly into a full round circle?
Helen en Nadine