Day 19

Posted by Whit Barringer , Wednesday, June 20, 2007 8:51 AM


CT 5:21
IT 12:21

Pisa Pisa!

We met at the train station at 9:00. We were kind of excited, but we were all exhausted. The trains were supposed to be an hour apart, but because two people were late we weren’t able to catch the 9:37 and had to wait for the 10:37. I wasn’t too peeved, though I did get mad at myself for falling into the McDonald’s trap.

The train ride was rather uneventful. I listened to my iPod and stared out the window. I sat with Kara, Megan, and Kate, but I didn’t bother them. I was so tired.
When we got to the train station, we had to go under the platform and then back up into the lobby. Dr. Bane went and got bus tickets for all of us to get to the Campo di Miracoli (Field of Miracles). We all managed to cram on one bus (it was 14 art kids and 14 lit – plus a professor).. We initially went the wrong way down the street, but Dr. Bane managed to turn us all around. Within a few blocks, we were upon the Leaning Tower.

It was built to be a bell tower, but it began to lean because it’s build on a flood plain. It was pretty impressive at first, but then we realized that it was a lot smaller than all of us had previously thought. I don’t think it’s even the tallest building in the Campo, which is really disappointing. One really interesting thing about it that I found out/realized – it’s not just leaning. It’s banana shaped. They tried to compensate for the leaning by building the successive floors as counterweights. It’s hard to see, but the giveaway is in the lengths of the columns for each floor.

People then began taking the obligatory pictures of holding up the tower. It was pretty funny to see all of the people lining up (which is what I actually took pictures of). Our group did that for a few minutes until Dr. Bane had gotten the group ticket for all of us. He said that it was 15 until 1, and if his memory served him correctly, we were going to be able to go hear someone sing in the baptistery on the hour (it’s supposedly the most acoustic buildling in the world). We all agreed to go. Once we all got in, we sat down and waited.

The Baptistery was not nearly as ornate as the others we had seen. Ravenna’s and Florence’s were awesomely decorated with mosaics. The Baptistery was pretty bare. But the woman walked up to the baptismal font, sung three notes that made chords, and walked away. Most people were upset that she didn’t actually sing a song, but if she had even tried to it would have sounded horrible. It echoed beautifully, though.

After this, we broke for lunch because it was already 1:10. I went with Dr. Bane and his crew to a nearby restaurant with a view of the leaning tower. I had a Cuatro Formaggi pizza, which was actually pretty disgusting as far as the food I’ve had here goes. We left and went back to the baptistery to meet the rest of the people. From there, we went into the Duomo. It was pretty impressive, but it felt like just another church. After that we went to the Camposanto, which is a huge cemetery housed in a building. It caught fire from a grenade explosion in WWII. If this had not of happen, it would have been on par with famous frescoes like the Sistine Chapel. I was more interested in the graves though, and I enjoyed the walkthrough.

Dr. Bane then asked who wanted to go to the museums. Teri and I were the only students who wanted to go, so we went to both museums… within 15 minutes. They were horribly small, but they had some interesting artifacts (like booty from the crusades – including a hippogryph). It was interesting in spite of the size of the museums.

After that, we went and grabbed some gelato (I had lemon and strawberry). I went back to the Baptistery where we were supposed to meet, but I ended up going to buy souvenirs. I got Jeremy a t-shirt and Jacob a leaning shot glass (of course), and went back to our meeting spot after getting two waters.

Then we all trekked back out to the front of the piazza to catch a bus. There were few enough of us to fit on one bus again. After we got to the train station, I got a Kinder bar (German chocolate bar) and waited for the train. Once it finally got there, we hopped on. There weren’t enough seats for us to all sit together, so Rachel and I had to sit in the back of a car by ourselves. It was so hot on the regional train.

When we got back, we decided to go eat at a Doner Kebab place. It was extremely good, and pretty cheap. After I went back to Halley, Caitlin, Kim, and Natalie’s apartment, we decided to meet Kara, Kate, and Megan to play poker. I went to the internet cafĂ© with Caitlin, then came back to read Hemingway. As usual, I fell asleep with the book on my face.

At 9:30 we went to meeting Megan and Kara at the Duomo. Turns out none of us had brought any cards. Instead, we just talked for a few hours. Somehow the argument turned to religion. I’m all about talking about it with open-minded people, but there was at least one who wasn’t, making the whole conversation awkward.

We mostly left together and I went with Rachel. We got lost on the way back to the apartment. When we finally got there, we realized that we had only been a block away from our apartment the entire time. It was late and we were extremely tired, as I still am.

And that was the day at Pisa. (Sorry about the boring writing style – I’m writing this two days after the fact.)

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