EuropeItalyPisa

Arriving in Pisa and our first taste of Italian food

Pisa Travel Blog

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The former monastery we stayed in

My Italian job adventure with Milton began with a trip to the BA lounge in Heathrow. Luckily Milt has some sort of major frequent flyer card so we were allowed in regardless of our tickets. A very good score, and it was just as well, since we hadn't planned our week-long holiday further than the flights and the rental car, so it was time to use the lounge computer terminals to find a place to stay for the night. Milt quickly located a former monastery (are ALL former monastrries and convents now hotels??) and booked it, so at least we knew there would be a roof over our heads that night. I have to say, it being January we weren't overly concerned with hotel vacancies while travelling around Italy, but it was nice to have a place to aim for.

On the flight to Pisa we had a little chat about what we wanted to achieve on our break and decided simply to see what took our fancy each day, although Verona, the Amalfi Coast and Pompeii were definitely on the agenda.

The Arno river in Pisa
Our return flight was booked from Naples, so we had 7 days of Italian countryside to explore before we had to make our way there... the challenge was on!

Arriving in Pisa, we made our way to the car rental place. The Mercedes B Class we booked (in fine print... or similar) turned out to be a Ford Focus (you tell me how that is similar!), but setting aside our disappointment I hopped into the driver's seat and tried to switch into driving-on-the-right-hand-side-of-the-road mentality. It wasn't hard as I've clocked tens of thousands of miles doing road trips in America, but this was Italy we were talking about... notorious for, shall we say, less conventional driving styles. It surprised us, therefore, to note that the other motorists in Pisa were not maniacs at all, and we were quickly on our way into the town centre.

The Arno river in Pisa

With Milt in full navigational mode and me trying to get the mammoth Focus down narrow streets between the darting Piaggios, I don't mind admitting that we didn't really think there was a hope in hell we were going to find this monastery... when it suddenly just popped up from nowehere down a random back street. Santa Maria was clearly smiling down on us, so we took her good graces and checked into the hotel with no further fuss.

As it was already evening, Milt and I tried not to think too hard about the spartan cell-like room we had been shown to, and headed out for something to eat. It was going to be our first authentic Italian meal and we were both so hungry that it couldn't have worked out better when we happened upon a delightful pizzeria off a side street.

The Arno river in Pisa
Seeing that they had an English menu (this is somewhat important for me as I'm vegetarian and need to be able to see that I'm not accidentally eating meat), we decided to sample their delights... and we were not disappointed. Divine from start to finish; the sauteed spinach, barley soup, pizzas, grilled veg and house wine. If we hadn't been so full at the end of it we would have gladly started the whole meal all over again.

It was an excellent start to our week and, as we sauntered home in the mild January air, we simply couldn't wait to see the Leaning Tower the following day and continue on with our Italian job adventure...

jbo says:
Hi! Here's the link to the Monastery we stayed at in Pisa. It was nice and central but a tiny bit spartan. Still, I can recommend it :D http://www.traveleurope.net/see2.php?id=3762&lingua=eng
Posted on: Aug 22, 2007
Perkseyandkenny says:
hi jbo, we are going to Pisa in Oct and loved the sound of the Monastery you stayed in. Do you remember the full name or have any contact details? thanks. Perksey and Kenny : )
Posted on: Aug 21, 2007
CrazyLisa says:
Ahhh yes the food there was awesome. The best I think I've eaten on a vacation!
Posted on: Jun 25, 2007
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The former monastery we stayed in
The former monastery we stayed in
The Arno river in Pisa
The Arno river in Pisa
The Arno river in Pisa
The Arno river in Pisa
The Arno river in Pisa
The Arno river in Pisa
The Arno river in Pisa
The Arno river in Pisa
Pisa
photo by: jsuuronen