Pisa was my favourite day in Italy. Not only is it a vibrant student city, it is also where my Italian host sisters live.
When I was 16 I studied a semester in Palermo. The two sisters of my host family down there (Claudia and Gabriella) now both attend uni in Pisa.
Originally we planned to visit them later in the week, but after a drunk decision in Monterosso, we decided to bump up Operation Pisa to the next day.
A cheeky text message saying that I would be in town later that day was luckily sufficient to arrange a more than five year reunion.
We met them under the Leaning Tower. Leaving the touristy area, they took us for a passegata around the more ‘local’ parts of their town.
Lost in translation
Emily and Carloline do not speak Italian. My host sisters do not speak English. Obviously there was a language barrier between them. Meanwhile, my Italian that was more than lost during my years of not speaking it after I dropped it at uni. But it slowly came back. The three of us were having conversations in Italian all day like old times.
We reminisced on the days back in Palermo and made plans for them to come and visit Melbourne in the future. It was a really great day.
Everyone likes a tourist
After we parted ways with my sisters, we returned to the leaning tower and embraced the inner tourist within us. We rented a two bike buggie, and went on a cycle tour of the old town. Caroline and I both peddled, while Emily, in the middle, played navigator.
Distracted by how ridiculous we looked and how dangerous driving in peak hour traffic was, Emily’s focus left the directions and focussed more on fear and hilarity.
Obviously we got lost. Really lost. I asked for directions from a local, and it turned out we had cycled off the map that was provided. In a frantic hurry to return within the alloted time so as to not lose our deposit, we biked “Lance Armstrong” style back to where we started, making up the way as we went.
It turned out okay more or less, until a police officer told us to alight the vechile and walk it after being caught going the wrong way on a one-way street.
Best food in Italy
That night, following the recommendation of my sisters, we went to a small and hard to find pizzeria. It was the best pizza I had ever eaten. Having had a few Moretti beers by this stage, it seemed a good idea to tell the Nonna working there in Italian that it was in fact the best pizza I’d ever had. She enjoyed this, and gave us free food. Excellent.
We left Pisa that day feeling pretty good and ready to continue on our Italian Eurotrip.
In the next edition: Follow Damien to Florence.