June 3, 2007

The Leaning Tower of Pizza

The Leaning Tower of Pizza

This morning we got up early to head in to Pisa. We had tickets to climb the leaning tower at 9:00, so we had to get under way in good time. That meant getting up at 6:30 to be on the road in time to get to Pisa.

Parking in Pisa is difficult. Even at our early hour we had to drive around for a while to find a parking spot.

The leaning tower really does lean. Quite a bit.

Climbing the tower was very interesting. At times it felt like we were going up a really steep hill but at other times it felt like we were almost going down hill while climbing the stairs. It was a very strange feeling. The spiral stairways started out wide and got continually more narrow as we ascended. By the time we got to the top the staircase was barely wide enough for my shoulders.

Sine we finished our sight seeing pretty early we decided to find a place to pick up some of the additional supplies we needed for our apartment, such as beach towels and toilet paper. So I took a guess with the GPS and we found a mall with a great big coop. This seems to be the equivalent of a Target store matched with a Lunds. Lots of good fresh food in the deli and meat areas and lots of fresh cheeses. In addition to the usual stuff you find in Target. I was also able to find a new pair of reading glasses for just 18 euros. I think its a much better pair than I have found at home so maybe its not wasted effort.

Since we are in Tuscany here is a bit about our ‘Villa.’ We have a living room, a small eating area and a small kitchen. The kitchen has a range and a toaster oven along with an assortment of small pots and pans. If this is the size pan that most everyone uses over here it is no wonder that the small french tops work just fine. The floors are all red tile and the ceilings and columns are all brick. It feels very Tuscan and it is quite charming.

We have two bedrooms and two bathrooms. The kids have a bedroom with three single beds. Their bathroom is down the hall. Jane and I have a king size bed along with our own bathroom. The water heater is located in our bathroom and is an ‘on demand’ kind of heater. That is whenever you turn on hot water the water heater springs into action. The only problem with this is it takes quite a while to get warm water, and our water heater is a little finicky. Sometimes it heats and sometimes it does not.

The manager is not here all the time so getting someone to fix the water heater could be a bit tricky. Since I am complaining a bit I will say that the weather has been rainy and damp, and our apartment is just as damp as the outside. All our clothes feel damp, and we have been trying to wash clothes for a couple of days and it is impossible to get them to line dry in this weather. Finally I decided to light a fire in our fireplace to help the clothes dry!

Tonight I cooked dinner in the apartment. After our interesting shopping trip at the coop in Pisa I had the ingredients to make a nice Risotto. Of course since we could not find chicken broth (brodo e pollo) I had to make some stock from scratch. With no decent size frying pan I decided to just throw the chicken into the sofrito and let it cook along with the rice. That worked out fine, and of course everything came together perfectly at the end when I added some of the nice Parmigianno Reggiano. Along with some nice tuscan wine it was a very good meal. Josh seemed to really like it as he had about four helpings. Maybe it was just nice for him to get something he liked besides pizza!