It was a Pisa sort of day and only 25 minutes from Lucca by the regional train. After walking to the Lucca train station, we needed to buy a ticket. Thank heavens, these ticket machines will actually print out a ticket! A whole bunch of us got on the train we thought we needed and a nice female train driver came to tell us that they had to switch the train to a different track and we have to get off while they do it. She kept apologizing but it was no big deal and shortly the train switched tracks and showed up again!
Lots of small villages dot the train tracks along with patches of tomatoes and beehives. Towers and big houses, old and new, could be seen in the distance. After arriving in Pisa and NOT buying a return ticket when there were no lines (more later), we walked to the Piazza de Miracoli following Google Maps and the Lonely Planet printed directions. We would have lost a bet because no signs were posted at the train station or at a big plaza giving any indication which of many streets we should choose to walk down. The first pedestrian sign pointing to the Tower wasn’t until we crossed the Arno River.
Our route took us across the river and past the U. of Pisa Law School and more churches than we could count. We stopped in one church for the obligatory visit. (No idea which church it was.) We knew the Leaning Tower was close when the number of tourists increased dramatically as well as the number of gift shops and restaurants.
The Duomo, Tower, and Baptistry are beautiful especially in the sun. They all were bright white and, miraculously, only the Duomo still has some scaffolding on it. Mark decided we should check out the W/C. It cost .80 E and the line for the Women’s room was really long – Surprise! – but Mark just whipped in and out of the Men’s. Lots of tour groups and individual tourists, like us, so I can’t imagine what it’s like in the summer.
We took pictures and picked up a walking map of Pisa from Tourist Information before we wandered our way through the city and the Piazzas. We didn’t visit the insides of any buildings nor climb the tower.
The next challenge was getting a ticket to go back to Lucca. All of the ticket machines in the Pisa station will only issue paperless tickets so even many of the Italians had to get out of the machine line and go use the ticket office line. Of course, the non-Italians were all out of luck! We queued up in the LONG ticket line, starting out with 4 ticket sellers; reduced to 3 when one of them served a guy and hung his “Closed” sign. The line actually went pretty fast but Mark and I just commented “Full employment”. We think Lucca machines sell tickets because the ticket counter closes at 8:05 PM.
Pisa summary – Ok for one visit but not someplace I’d go back to. Pisa is a pretty busy city and didn’t impress us enough to want to return for another visit.