To Pisa!


Samantha and I took the train for the first time on Sunday: our destination was Pisa. We had no difficulty buying tickets at the automated machines, and just as our friend recounted in her traveling story, the machine loudly warned us in English of pickpockets and to ask only station staff for information. We had no issues validating our tickets at the green machine, either. Our problems were locating the terminal and confusion about the train departure sign at the terminal a staff member directed us to.

The train departure sign indicated that the train was headed to Livorno. Even though the departure time matched the one on our ticket, we weren’t sure we were in the right terminal. We hopped on the train anyway, because it was about to leave. Luckily, we asked a couple if this was the right train. Not only was it the right train, but the couple was headed to Pisa, too.

It was raining the whole day in Pisa. Once we reached Stazione di Pisa Centrale, we headed to the Piazza dei Miracoli, where the Duomo, Baptistery, Camposanto, and Leaning Tower are. At the piazza, we agreed to have lunch. The rainy weather strongly impacted our mood.

Pisa Monuments

After politely refusing waiters encouraging us to eat at their restaurant, we chose a restaurant whose waiters didn’t do that. Samantha had a prosciutto (ham) and funghi (mushroom) pizza. I strayed from the “pizza in Pisa” plan and had a calzone, which was larger than I expected. It was as if a pizza was folded into a puffy semi-circle. The tomato sauce on top complemented the dish.

Pisa Calzone

Next, we made several attempts in getting the typical tourist in Pisa picture right. It was very difficult to position our hands so that we were either holding up the Leaning Tower (me) or tipping it over (Samantha).

Pisa Pushing Tower Up

Once we were satisfied, we walked around the piazza and took pictures of the Duomo and the Baptistery from the outside. Samantha and I spent the day wandering around and bought a few souvenirs for friends.

We went to the Piazza dei Cavalieri and then stumbled upon the Piazza Dante after I impulsively wanted to walk towards a tree I saw. Across the river, we admired the arches of the building we saw at the Piazza XX Settembre.

After walking down Corso Italia, where the shops were, we went home. On the train ride to Florence, I realized that Livorno was most likely the last stop on the train route since Firenze Santa Maria Novella was listed in the departure signs at Pisa Centrale.

Samantha and I had a great first day trip to another city. I expected us to experience some confusion since it was our first time taking the train. Traveling gives us an opportunity to see different sights and learn a different perspective. When you have the chance, plan a day to explore a different neighborhood. What parts of your city or town are you not familiar with? If you’re interested in Queens, check out the recommendations of our resident local food blogger Christina! Remember to be safe during your excursions!

Crafting into the sunset,
Virginia