The cool thing about Pisa is that the bell tower is beautiful and quite amazing, and it is really leaning. You think 4 degrees and then you see it and you’re like, that thing is gonna topple right over. Turns out, it hasn’t fallen over. The rest of Pisa is pretty much, meh, but it was worth seeing the tower lean. Pisa is a detour destination, certainly not something you want to spend all day fiddling around at.
After the tower, we headed to a giant Carrefour to get snacks and water and use the bathrooms. Then we were back in the car and headed to Florence. We had to have the car back by two because Mike picked it up early. We were cutting it close, and we had to get gas on the way. We got gas at one of the stations right off the highway, which was more expensive, but really easy. Navigating the streets of Florence was a little stressful. We made it back to the street of the garage and then some dude parked his car in the middle of the street. It was two o’clock and we were right there! No time to waste! The dude didn’t like Mike’s horn and came to the car and said, “Just because you are a big man, do you think you can honk your horn?” Mike said “yes” and the man disappeared and someone came and moved the car. Good thing because there were now other people stuck behind us and they were not happy. A man got off his motorcycle and started yelling at them too, so Mike was in good company. We dropped the car off at the garage and then walked to the train station. On the way, more missionaries! We talked to them for a bit. One of the Elders was from Saratoga Springs, Utah, the other from Argentina. They had a great light about them and were super happy. They said that they were having lots of success and were doing well. Good to hear it!
At the station, we had about an hour to kill, so we got lunch at the station bread store, which was pretty good again. Really, there is pretty decent food everywhere you turn in Italy. We had business class tickets for our short trip to Rome, so it was nice to be in comfy seats. The views from the train window were quite wonderful and you could envision driving through this countryside, stopping at every little town on a hill and just walking around. If only we had all the money in the world to explore.
We got off the train at Rome Termini and instantly got to enjoy 10,000 Italians smoking right on the train platform. Seriously Italy, enough with the cigarettes. From there, we made the ¾ mile journey to our apartment. We knew it wouldn’t be as nice as our last place, but at least it was clean. The second bathroom smelled pretty tart (like the sewer), but the rest was fine. It would be fine for our last stop on this journey. We put all our stuff in the apartment, ate a snack, and then headed out quickly to try to go to the Pantheon. Unfortunately, time wasn’t on our side, so we went to the Trevi Fountain, tossed in our coins, and then made our way to the Spanish steps. The fountain was truly unreal, both in number of tourists and in its sheer beauty. The Spanish steps were in fact steps with lots and lots of tourists. The view from the top was pretty cool. From there, we bought Rome metro cards and got on the metro to go back to our place. On the metro, it was nuts crowded. These German guys got on and then some dudes in masks and hats and dark clothes pushed in behind them. They were pickpockets. They did all the classic moves. Pushed in on people when they were loading into the train, then pushed in at stops. One dude tried to get Mike’s wallet out of his pants pocket but instead got Mike’s hand. Mike then looked at Abby and said, “This guy is a pickpocket, so watch your stuff”. Mike then pinned his arm to the rail and the thief got real scared. He and his companion bolted at the next stop, and we got off and walked down to our apartment. Mike was so thankful he didn’t get robbed and was super careful the rest of the trip. It was a close call.
We were pretty tired, so we found a restaurant at a hotel on the way back to our apartment. Mike got a salad (yippee), the girl’s got fish and chips (yippee), and Sara a cheeseburger that was cold in the middle and soggy (boooo). This led to our next mantra: no hamburgers outside the United States or Iceland.