A Day in Pisa

by Michelle on May 15, 2014 · 16 comments

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After not being able to fly to Italy last year with my passport stolen a week before, I was soooo excited about this trip! I’ve wanted to go to Italy for quite some time, but somehow I’ve visited almost every other European country except this one…

Luckily I (once again) scored some cheap tickets from Ryanair and it was off to Italy! Pisa, Florence and Cinque Terre on the Italian Riviera, to be exact!

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The weirdest thing in Pisa happened when we were looking for our hostel. We reserved at a place called “Backpackers Pisa” and when we got to the address, it turned out to be a completely different hostel called “Brandi’s House” with no other hostel in sight. The place had no receptionist desk, but rather the owner who kind of popped in and out. He also didn’t have a computer or anything to look up our info, but rather asked if we had our reservation printout (we did), and charged us the amount stated on the printout, as well as writing “Backpackers” above the name of the hostel stated on his receipt slip…as if to reassure us that we did stay at the right hostel.

Even now that we’re back from Italy we’re still not sure if we ever stayed at the right hostel. I guess that will remain an unsolved mystery!

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Because Pisa was only an hour by bus to Florence and about an hour by train to Cinque Terre, we ended up staying in Pisa every night, and visited the other places as day trips. To be honest, I found Pisa to be a bit run-down looking…some parts of the city could’ve easily been somewhere in Eastern Europe. But then again, I also found Pisa charming in other ways, like the small streets, the friendliness of the people, and how at night, everyone seems to stand outside on the streets and drink, rather than going into a bar or club. I don’t think I even saw any clubs!

While the Leaning Tower of Pisa is a big tourist attraction, there weren’t many tourists in the other parts of the city, which made walking through Pisa a pretty authentic Italian experience.

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The tower (as the locals call it) actually wasn’t right in the city centre as most people would expect but instead on the other side of the city. In the train station, we even overheard some Americans complaining that they had to leave Pisa and never found the tower!

While it’s on the other side of the city, it is still walkable. In fact the whole city is so walkable, that we walked from the airport to the city centre in about 20 mins! (You just have to beware of sprinklers).

Once we had found the tower of course we had to take some touristy photos of it… (I’ll let you guys decide which one you like best)

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And of course we had to eat as much Italian food as we could having arrived in Italy!

Pizza!!!

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Gelato!!!

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Cappuccino!!!

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Randomly we also discovered this Indian snack called aloo chop and we couldn’t stop eating that (but no photos will be posted of that since it’s not very fitting in this post about Italy).

Have you guys been to Pisa? What did you like best about the city?

{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Agness May 16, 2014 at 2:12 am

Great story with your hostel. Different name? Wow, that must be so confusing. I am glad you have finally made it to Pisa. I miss it a lot these days and let me tell you the best pizza is served there, would you agree :)? Who’s this young handsome man by your side? You look so cute together!! 🙂

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Michelle Michelle May 18, 2014 at 10:21 am

Yes the pizza there is great! Would love to go to Naples though and try the pizza there as well 🙂 And haha thanks! That’s my boyfriend!

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Stefania @The Italian Backpacker May 16, 2014 at 8:19 pm

I also found Pisa to me a bit run down , and I will write about it in a future post. Campo dei Miracoli was absolutely amazing: did you enter the duomo?

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Michelle Michelle May 18, 2014 at 10:23 am

No I never went in…did you? Looking forward to reading your post on Pisa!!

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Lesley Peterson May 17, 2014 at 2:39 am

Love your photos, especially of the foooooooood! I’ve yet to make it to the Tower of Pisa so thanks for the tips re distance. Great post!

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Michelle Michelle May 18, 2014 at 10:42 am

No problem! Hope you’ll get to visit soon! 🙂

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Christopher May 18, 2014 at 6:44 am

Glad you enjoyed Pisa! My first visit to Pisa was a nightmare and a blessing. The public transport went on strike the moment we arrived, so we ended up having to stay the night, but a US-American couple overheard us talking about it at dinner and offered to let us stay with them. It was definitely an unforgettable trip.

Cinque Terre is one of my favourite places on Earth. Looking forward to your post on it.

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Michelle Michelle May 18, 2014 at 10:53 am

Oh wow that’s so nice of them! One of the best things about travelling is the people you meet 🙂 It’s great that it turned around for the better! Cinque Terre is one of my favourite places too! Everything there is so beautiful….it was really an unforgettable experience to go from one village to another!

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NZ Muse May 19, 2014 at 12:18 pm

Funny, the place we had the most trouble finding our hostel was down in Salerno! Some old people took pity on us and helped us thankfully.

We wound up skipping CT as we didn’t have much time but adored Amalfi. And god I miss napoli pizza.

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Michelle Michelle May 22, 2014 at 11:15 pm

That sounds nice of the people to help out! I would definitely recommend going to Cinque Terre next time you’re in Italy…it’s so beautiful there! It’s def my favourite place in Italy, if not all of Europe! 🙂

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Peter May 20, 2014 at 11:27 am

Getting jealous of you as you are visiting one of the most beautiful places in the world and also eating my favorite food, pizza. 🙂 But really want to thank you for sharing such good post with great pics. Keep posting such content.

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Michelle Michelle May 22, 2014 at 11:13 pm

Thanks so much! Pizza’s my favourite too! Can’t wait to go back to Italy and go to Naples and get some really authentic pizza! 😀

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RobRob May 29, 2014 at 12:22 am

Mmmm…pizza! I’m with you – can’t wait to try it in Naples. I had no idea Pisa was so walkable – we’ll be in Florence in a little bit and had been debating the trip to Pisa. I think you’ve helped us decide to go!

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Michelle Michelle June 1, 2014 at 3:37 pm

Happy to help! It’s only a shot bus ride away and definitely worth it!!

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Chanel @ La Viajera Morena June 5, 2014 at 3:14 am

Great shots and good to know the Tower is on the other side of town 🙂 Also good to know it is inexpensive to get to from Florence 😀

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Michelle Michelle June 9, 2014 at 4:57 pm

Thanks! And no problem! 🙂

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