Monday marked our first full day on the ship as we began the journey from Barcelona to Livorno. With a full day on the boat we decided to spend the morning outside on the deck with Christine and Jason basking in our fabulously warm weather. The other couple that we cruised with, Mark and Christy (and their ADORABLE 8-month-old Ariana), let us know about a margarita tasting that was going on in the afternoon. 5 margaritas for $15? Count me in, duh. 2 hours later it was back to our rooms to get ready for dinner and Blue Man Group.
Lets pause here for a second to discuss Blue Man Group. It was honestly one of the strangest shows I’ve ever seen. Some of it was unique and unlike anything I’d ever seen, while the rest was just weird as hell. The show opened with the three blue men doing percussion themed tricks with drums and paint and huge PVC pipes. I was entertained for about 40% of the show. The show was free for us, so I didn’t mind sticking around until the end, but given the choice to see it again I’d be skipping it. Following the show it was bedtime, and it was off to Livorno/Florence/Pisa the next morning.
Christine arranged for a rental car to be left at the port in Livorno for us, so that we could drive ourselves to Florence and Pisa. After an hour-long drive we arrived in Florence and headed towards The Duomo. The Duomo in Florence is the largest brick dome that’s ever been built. The dome is completely painted on the inside and is one of the most beautiful frescos I’ve ever seen. When I was in college I was fortunate enough to take an Italian art renaissance class and we studied The Duomo and many other buildings, paintings, and sculptures that I FINALLY got to see. Being able to finally see these things after studying them was an incredible feeling. The Duomo dome is open to be climbed, but is notorious for being extremely narrow. Todd and I are both claustrophobic so we chose to climb the bell tower (The Campanile) next door instead. It’s four levels of stairs totalling 414 steps. WHOA were we exhausted after that. Even writing about that climb makes my legs feel like jelly!
After the grueling trip up the bell tower we headed to the Ponte Vecchio and explored the Florence markets. Walking the markets in Florence was a totally different experience then walking through a market in America. In Italy nobody pressured us to buy anything, they simply hung out next to their stand and waited to see if we needed help. Had we been at a market in America… well it would have been an opposite experience. Following our trip across the bridge we headed towards Piazza della Signoria to see David’s original resting place, as well as many other famous statues I studied in my art class. We saw The Rape of the Sabine Women, Perseus with Head of Medusa, The Fountain of Neptune, and so much more. I was in a heavenly mood seeing all of these pieces. The sculptures are stunning in person and nothing I say can do them justice. Exhausted from all of our walking and climbing we decided to go find lunch, and in the process we wound up finding “The Situation” from MTV’s Jersey Shore. (OY) We had lunch in the Piazza and then started walking back towards our rental car to begin the trek to Pisa.
About an hour later we finally made it to Pisa and we held it up. (HAHA) Honestly the first thing you see when you walk towards the green is all of these people doing the “holding Pisa” pose. Pisa is beautiful. The colors of the stone against the green of the grass and the blue of the sky was just perfectly picturesque. We found out upon our arrival that only a certain number of people are admitted into the tower each day, (I guess it’s to try to help control the lean?) and that the amount had already been hit for the day. I have to admit, I was slightly sad for not being able to go to the top but secretly jumping for joy that I didn’t need to climb any other steps. Christine and I decided that before the drive back to the port we would have some Perroni and bask in the beauty of Pisa a little longer. Upon finishing, it was back to the car, back to the port, and back to the boat.
Tune in tomorrow for my favorite port stop: Rome!
Added treat: More pictures!