Buon journo Italia!
14 July 2008
Crossing the Gulf of Genoa, leaning Tower of Pisa
We were both looking forward to our first night sail of the year having down quite a few last year and just coastal hops so far this year. Unfortunately, the wind was on the nose for most of the journey so we did a mixture of sailing and motoring. During the night, when Chris was resting, I called him up to help me identify some lights on a large ship. That done, we then watched the cruise ship instantly disappear before our eyes. We then realised that we had entered a foggy patch and that was the end of Chris's rest. The fog lasted for a couple of hours but the radar came into its own monitoring boat activity that we couldn't see with our own eyes. One of the worst things with fog, apart from the fact that you cannot see, is that everything on deck gets absolutely soaking wet, almost wetter than when it rains. During the crossing, we saw our first dolphins of 2008. They seemed smaller than those on the Atlantic coast or maybe our memories were not as good as we thought. We arrived at the commercial and industrial port of Livorno which, whilst not the most glamorous, the Yacht Club made us welcome and they have the best loos and showers that we have experienced so far. The port is a major ferry terminal and it is impressive to see the massive ferries manoeuvring around in quite tight spaces but from here you can get to most places including Corsica, Elbe and Sardinia. an
We wanted to visit Pisa and so took the 20 minute train journey there today. You really do feel that you are in a different country to France. Even ordinary, everyday buildings are very ornate but have flat fascias. When we arrived in Pisa we were hungry so we did what you do when in Italy and got some takeaway pizza that, for just 3.50 euros, was enough to keep both of us going on our whistle stop tour. The tower, as well as the cathedral and other museums are located in the 'Square of Miracles'. The tower was closed for many years for restoration but is now open to the public and for 15 euros, you can climb to the top something that we didn't do however. All the buildings here are made from white marble, quite different from the ochre and burnt orange colours of the rest of the town though you can't see them until you are almost upon them. We had a great day in Pisa and if anyone is thinking about visiting Pisa, you can also visit Florence at the same time as it is only about 1 hour away by train which is a very popular and cheap way of getting around Italy. (see photos Gallery/Italy/Pisa).
We were planning to head for the island of Elbe tomorrow but the forecast is for strong winds and judging by the way we are rocking around here in the marina and the sound of the wind blowing through all the yachts rigging, I think we may be here tomorrow too and that's ok by us.