Yesterday morning I left MAC (my residence for the last seven months) for the last time, making my way to Pisa. It was a pretty uneventful trip, besides a scare at the coach station that the bus driver would not let me on because I had two pieces of luggage and apparently you should have only one (luckily there wasn’t too much luggage, so he let me on :D). Otherwise, after some moving of stuff from my checked luggage to my hand luggage (was flying Ryan Air and had more than 15kg in the checked luggage, but wasn’t about to pay extra :P).
After getting some gorgeous views of Italy and Pisa from the air, I was itching to get on the ground. As soon as I got out of arrivals, I see a girl with a paper with ‘Ann’ written on it…Ilaria, the girl I will be working with, was there to pick me up…we went to the car, and off to the place where I will stay for the next month.
Rather than living in a residence, here in Pisa I am staying in an apartment which I will share with another girl working in the department I will be working in (haven’t met her though yet as she is home for this weekend it being a long weekend), with the landlady living upstairs. The place is quite close to the airport, so we soon got to the place, and went in to meet the landlady. She seems OK, and the place is very clean. But best of all…I have my own room which is quite big (just slightly smaller than what I have back home I think), and I’m sharing the bathroom and kitchen with only one other person…woohoo! That’s bliss after London :).
The downside is that I don’t have any internet at home…luckily though skype seems to be working on my phone!!!! I have a skype phone for my London number, but for the past few months I didn’t have any skype on it, as you need to top it up every 3 months for skype to remain active, but I was still running on money I had topped up at the beginning (I don’t use my UK phone much, as you might guess from this ;)). But for some reason, here skype seems to connect…and I’m sure its free, considering I only had around 40p left on my phone before I left London (If anything, I had less than £1 the last time I checked my balance last week), and I’ve chatted quite a bit on skype with Michael, together with a phone call with him, and another one with my mum…I’m not complaining ;).
Anyways, back to yesterday…after dumping my stuff in my room, Ilaria took me off for a ride around town for her to point out the main things (besides the Piazza del Miracoli where the Leaning Tower is, because it would have been impossible with the car, and if anything I had already been there). We stopped for an ice-cream on the way, and finished the ride with a stop at the supermarket, for me to buy stuff to cook (yes, here I cook myself, so I am ooking forward to hopefully eating some decent food at last). Back home I took the time to make a video of my trip from London to Pisa, cook, and just relax (I had slept less than 6hrs the night before, so I was quite knackered).
This morning I woke up, but my room was still totally dark (since I had closed the window the night before), but when I checked the time, it was around 8:45am!!! WOW! I had slept for around 10hrs…I needed it though ;). When I realised that though I immediately jumped out of bed and prepared to start my first day in Pisa by walking to the centre and see the town and the Leaning Tower of course ;).
On my way to the Piazza di Miracoli (where the Leaning Tower is located), as I am passing over one of the bridges crossing the River Arno, I see this English-speaking lady pointing at the map this non-English speaking lady was holding and trying to ask her where she had got the map from…didn’t seem to work, so I decided to step in (luckily Ilaria had provided me with a map the day before) and ask what they needed…Where is the Leaning Tower? They ask…I point them in the direction and tell them I am going there myself…hmm…I said…do you mind if I join you (they were an 60-something looking couple who looked very friendly)…sure, they said! So that was how I got some companions on my first day here in Pisa in Earl and his wife (cannot remember her name…may have been Beverly). We spent the day walking to the Tower, and just talking about ourselves and our lives. They were visiting Italy from Canada on a cruise, and having docked at Livorno for the day they decided to come to Pisa rather than the more popular Florence…I’m not complaining about that :).
Earl and his wife had to be back at the train station at around 1pm, so we then made our way to the train station (I live further from the train station, so walked with them). I am very glad I met them! It made the time pass much faster and much better. My only regret is that I didn’t ask them for their e-mail address (which I know they use to communicate). It would have been nice to keep in touch, so if anyone out there knows an Earl and his wife from Canada (originally lived in Toronto, but now moved to a town/village some 2hrs away), please let me (or them) know ;).
After seeing them to the train station I then walked the rest of the way home (with a couple of wrong turns, but at least I know figured out a shorter way to university). Back home it was then time for my siesta ;).
By the time I woke up I was quite famished, so I cooked some couscous, before making my way off again to the centre of town to figure out the way to university on foot and to time it (It took me around 25mins, so I hope to keep on walking it – I certainly need the exercise ;)). After seeing the tower as the sun was setting (the department I will be working in is not far from the tower, and in fact Ilaria told me that they sometimes go to have lunch on the grass in front of it 😉 – how cool is that!)
Back home I finished unpacking, had a welcome bath, and now in bed typing this post for you, to hopefully have time to post it tomorrow at university…
Hope I’ll manage to keep you updated!