The Leaning Tower of Pisa has always been on my bucket list, and when we went on our Mediterranean cruise last year, I finally had the opportunity to see the famous destination.
We did our research prior to traveling and learned that Pisa is far from the port. This is the reason we decided that this time around instead of taking local modes of transportation on our own like what we did the rest of the stops, we would try one of the tours offered by the cruise line.
The tour bus was crowded as expected, but the most unfortunate thing about this is that you don’t own your time. At one point we had to wait for our tour guide for an hour, time that we could have used exploring the area. In addition, not everyone on the tour came back on the time specified which caused a lot of delays. We later found out through experience that if we would have paid for a private tour, it would have cost us less than what we have paid for the bus tour with the cruise line for two people — and even if it would have been a little more expensive, it would have been totally worth it.
Seeing the leaning tower in person was amazing. Our tour guide told our group the history of why the tower is leaning (inadequate foundation and soft ground) as well as subsequent efforts to correct its tilt. In addition to the tower, in the Cathedral Square was the baptistery, where an individual sings a prayer every thirty minutes, which echoes throughout the whole place — it’s a memorable sound and experience. Then there’s the Pisa Cathedral, which is beautiful inside with elaborate decorations.
We did not climb up the tower. I wanted to, but our tour group did not enter the tower itself plus at that point in the day we were tired and just wanted to get back to the ship. Though we wouldn’t count it one of our best experiences, it was still a good day having checked Pisa off our to go list, and having learned a great travel lesson for the future.