It was a bit of a worry last night when our gas boiler wouldn't fire up, not even after checking right through the system. We were beginning to think we may
have to cut this current all-too-brief trip short as a consequence. Luckily when I got up during the night as us old gits seem to need to do, I thought I'd give it a try and thank The Lord it worked just fine, don't ask me why it had a hissy fit, I've no idea,
but I will get it checked and service when we get back home.
We arose in good time so that we could try and get to the 'Leaning Tower Complex' in good time before too many coach loads of tourists turned up.
Our overnight Pisa coach and car parking area (GPS: N43.729508˚ E10.391688˚) is a great location, and basically as we walk out of the car park towards the railway line we can see the tops of the monuments right there
and then. This is the second time we've been here and we've yet to see a train on the railway line that we cross, but never mind, despite that as we were about to cross, the bells started ringing as a warning that a train was on coming, so I looked both ways
down the track - nothing. So while we deliberated about just walking across, what I thought was an open crossing with warnings, The Chef looked up to see the crossing barriers coming down and called out to me otherwise one of them would have cracked me on
the head, so not a good start to the day. I suppose that's what us old people do, suck toffees and have accidents.
We were soon at the complex of the Cathedral, the Leaning Tower which is its bell tower and the
Baptistry, an annex of the Cathedral. We were later, and as a consequence it was busier than last time, but still fairly satisfactory. I was interested in visiting the Baptistry again because the last time we were there one of the folk who checked the tickets
(€5 each for just the Baptistry) popped through and gave what I, as a philistine, can only describe as a chant, to demonstrate the acoustics within the building, but I failed to record it. Sadly he wasn't there today, but having enquired, we were
told that the 'singing' would be at 09:00, that was only a couple of minutes to wait, and so I dashed up the stone staircase the balcony from where I intended to video the event. Unfortunately I missed the very beginning of it (a young lad with a willing heart,
but not nearly as good as the other guy) and having legged it all the way up the staircase I was having to try and suppress my deep breathing from being out of puff while recording it.
After it was over I found
the lad and asked him if he would repeat it if I gave him €10. He said that he was not allowed to either accept money or do extra 'performances'. I couldn't believe my ears. An Italian telling me he couldn't take money. I asked him when he would do it
again and he said it was every half an hour and so we I decided to sit it out for half an hour and catch it then. The irony is that there were only four people present at the time. The Chef and I, plus a
young couple who came in, spotted a machine which, for a couple of euro's would give the listener the history of the Baptistry through two sets of headphones. I kid you not, they stood there immersed in their world of video representation whilst this guy performed
a 'chant'; basically, he told me it was of the same note, and that couple were completely unaware it was all going on. So the bonus was I got to see it again for free without a crowd, which was a result.
hung around for the opening of the Cathedral at 10:00. My word that half an hour dragged. Never mind, we got in first having been right at the front of the queue for half an hour and were rewarded with - yet another rather dismal Cathedral interior. They don't
do a lot for me most of the time I have to say, but The Chef likes looking in them. We again didn't bother going up the Leaning Tower at €18 a shot, it wasn't that important to us.
After a bit of a walk towards
the Old Town and back we arrived at our 'home' for lunch followed by our getting the vehicle ready, and hitting the road. Next stop Siena.
It wasn't a particularly good journey, with our spending quite
a lot of time on a 'motorway' as opposed to a toll road, and these things are rather substandard. There were even sections of contra-flow, so they could resurface the road, but when we got back on to the stretches they had already done they still had
the characteristic lumps and bumps in the surface, they'd done nothing to improve the surface before laying another coat of tarmac.
So anyway, here we are on the outskirts of Siena for the night in a freebie
car park. Tomorrow we will walk in to Siena for a nice look around before hitting the road again in the evening.