Travel

Vacation Memories 2018: Pisa & Florence

Our second port on our cruise was Pisa & Florence. Most of us took the same excursion this time, so it was fun to be together riding the bus through the Italian countryside.

Our first stop was Pisa. It was a short walk from where the bus let us off to the plaza where the Cathedral was and the bell tower known as The Leaning Tower of Pisa.

Seeing such an icon as this live is breathtaking. After seeing an icon such as this my whole life in pictures, movies, and television, seeing it for the first time with my own eyes is something I’ll always remember. It was early in the day and many of the shops in and around the plaza weren’t open when we arrived. As we walked back towards the bus, some were just opening. It was nice to be there so early, though, and not have to fight crowds. There was a gelato shop right where we were to meet the bus and we had some to cool of and tie us over until lunch.

I love this sign

Florence was where disaster happened, although it could have been worse.

I had right knee replacement five months prior to this trip. I had clearance from my doctor; in fact, we’d discussed this trip before we scheduled the surgery. I’d been to New York City in May and walked 8 miles a day there. I felt like I was in great shape.

The bus took us from Pisa to Florence and let us off near the sign above. We were walking down a side street to the Piazza della Signoria. Somehow, I didn’t see the curb was broken and lost my balance, rolling my left ankle as I fell and landing right on my new knee.

The street where the disaster happened. I had crossed to the right side as it narrowed to get out of the crush of people.

There was a store nearby where they saw me fall and the proprietors were so nice. They brought me out a chair and some ice for my knee. One of my friends ran ahead to the tour guide. I may have been okay to walk, but I was still kind of slow and at the rear of the group. The tour guide came running back and asked if I needed to go to the hospital. She told me it would all be covered and not to worry about paying for it. I didn’t really want to go, but appreciated the reassurance. The rest of the group went ahead to the Piazza while I sat for a while until I was ready to walk a bit again.

Luckily there were some benches in the Piazza. We hadn’t planned to go into Uffuzi Gallery, which I was grateful for. Just wandering around the Piazza and photographing the statues there was enough.

We browsed through some of the shops as well. I bought a couple of pairs of gold earrings here at a great price. Danny also found a little entertainent.

We found a restaurant that had indoor seating and some air-conditioning so we could get out of the heat for lunch.

I’d walk around and then sit on a bench. I couldn’t make it down to the Duomo di Firenze, but some of our group walked down there and explored some of the area.

Once again, I found a great gelato place right off the Piazza and had some while I rested and waited for everyone to come back. We slowly made our way back to meet the bus after they returned. On our way back to the ship, we were treated to a gorgeous view, although we couldn’t stop and had to take photos from the bus.

It was a great day. I wouldn’t say no to going to either place again, although I don’t know that I need to specifically seek it out. I feel like I saw most of the highlights. If I were going here again on a ship, I might take an excursion that was more like a food tour next.

I’d actually done more damage to my left ankle in the fall than my knee. I always bring a reusable ice bag with me for just these kind of emergencies since I seem to fall a lot and it came in very handy on the ship. I just needed to ask my room steward for ice.

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