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Pisa

Our flight tickets to Pisa (both to and fro) were only 160 euros for three of us on Easy Jet, and we had booked them only a few weeks before our trip. Our flight was in the afternoon, and lunch was

white rice with vatha kuzhambu thokku (from Grand sweets) and some yogurt. I've never bought stuff from Grand sweets before. When my sister came down to Madras, she wanted to pick up some stuff from Grand sweets, she heard about these thokkus from her friends in the US. Apparently it is quite famous among the US going crowd, they buy many bottles of this stuff to eat with rice. I can see why this stuff flies off the shelves quite fast, it is really good and extremely convenient when you're in a hurry or exhausted. When we had to catch our flight to Pisa on a Monday afternoon, the thokku proved handy as we quickly ate this simple food then took bus 23 to the airport.
At the airport, it was quite funny... the aircraft came to a halt right outside our boarding gate, like an Uber or an Ola cab that picks you up right outside your house.
Sat for an hour in this aircraft, before...
Nearing Pisa... this is the shape of Italy we see in the maps, one side of the boot shaped land stretching into the ocean.
 
Landed in Pisa and we wanted to to check out the leaning tower of Pisa before going to our rooms in Florence.
This is the Pisa Mover, which takes you right from the airport to the main train station in Pisa. We get down in the main train station and go straight to the luggage room to deposit our baggage, we pay 5 euros for each piece of luggage and then take the bus from the station to the church where the leaning tower is located. 
And here we are, the leaning tower of Pisa is actually the bell tower of a church.
From this angle, the tower (right at the back) seems to slant a bit... the domed structure with the brown tiled roof is the baptistry and the church is between the tower and the baptistry. 
This is the church...
The baptistry...
The pockmarked floor...
I like the holy water font here...
With John the Baptist towering over it.

The holy water font at the opposite end has the statue of Jesus over it.
The roof of the Basilica
The columns...
The altar...
Incredibly beautiful paintings all over the place...
Another such painting...
Pulpit I guess...
some sculpture
Inside the baptistry, my travelling companions are up there on the balcony... 
The grounds of the church
Jude taking it all in...
Relaxing in front of the tower...
The baptistry in the setting light
Wall murals in the cemetry
Another ornate structure that contains tombs and lots of fading wall murals
The sun setting in the horizon...
We found Fibonacci of the Fibonacci series inside...
Resting a while
One of the murals is quite terrifying... you can't make it out here, but it is rather macabre, I think it depicts heaven and hell. 

Done with Pisa, we buy a few souvenirs and then take a bus to the main station, book tickets to Florence on one of the ticket booking machines, buy something to eat at the station, stamp our tickets and hop on a train to Florence.
In an hour or so we reach Santa Maria Novella station in Florence, and take a cab to Residence Porta al Prato... this is where I spent four nights, on that extremely comfortable sofa.
The kitchen we never used...
The bathroom
The bedroom...
After a lot of googling and debating, we decided to book train tickets to Rome the next day. Like I said earlier, this trip to Europe was quite sudden, and we weren't sure where to fly into in Italy, but since the tickets to Pisa were ridiculously cheap we decided okay let's book the flight tickets to Pisa first and then decide what to do when we get there. So after deciding whether Rome could be done in a day, we booked same day return tickets to Rome on the trenitalia website. They have this option 'a/r in giornata' which means return on the same day and it is comparatively cheaper than buying individual to and fro tickets. So we book three same day return tickets to Roma and it comes to about 200 euros, which I guess is totally worth it cause the trip to Rome takes about an hour and a half in these super-fast trains, aptly named 'frecciarossa' meaning red arrow. The trip by road from Florence to Rome would take about three hours, these trains that move like a shooting arrow gets you there in half the time, you actually feel your ears popping as you whiz by towns, meadows and quaint Italian villages. So plans in place for the next day, we sink into a deep slumber, exhausted, grateful, eager and excited to do it all over again tomorrow.

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