I reckon Italy is wasted on the Italians. It’s stop two of our cruise and already I’m feeling like a hummingbird that darts in, enjoys the flower, and then darts off again. Overnight, France has magically morphed into Italy. We’re docked for a day at Livorno – gateway to Tuscany. Hmm – Florence or Pisa – Pisa or Florence? The choice is too hard so, as usual, we elect to do both.
Our guide tells us that there are four cruise ships in port today. “Usually we only hava two but is Ok. It a maya be a bita crowded.” Our first stop will be Pisa. You may have heard that there’s a tower there. We have heard it. Eight thousand people on four cruise boats have heard it. So why hasn’t the local council heard it? No problems with the tower. It’s truly amazing, even though it seems to be leaning a little. The issue comes when it’s time to leave. One brave soul asks the guide where he can find a restroom. Forty five pairs of ears tune in for the answer. “Ah. There is a one a toilet ata MacDonalds – buta you musta buy sommthing first.” We look. This MacDonalds is tiny and there is only one person serving. And we can see fifteen more buses coming down the road.
For some reason there seem to be a few grumpy passengers on the bus as we approach Florence. Nanette and I are fine having wisely invested a couple of euros for a bottle of water and pit stop at a little bar in Pisa.
We don’t know much about Florence, so we are at the mercy of our guide. For example, there’s this statue called David, made by a guy our guide calls Mick Elanngello. We have heard it’s THE thing to see in Florence so we all trundle off into town and join yet another queue to get into the little gallery where the statue is displayed.
Our guide fills in the time telling us how David is out of proportion because poor Mick made a mistake and ran out of marble too soon. Our good friend Wikki later advised this is rubbish, but hey, it made a good story at the time.
There are in fact a couple of odd details about David (I thought he was Jewish?) but the statue is truly spectacular. Next stop the Medici palace to hear about the fights and intrigues between Florence and Rome. The stories are probably true, though I suspect our guide gets a fair bit of his material from the latest episode of Grande Fratello (Italian Big Brother for those of you who lack our broad linguistic skills.)
Now, back to the boat for a quick rest before we do it all again in Rome tomorrow.