The first pit stop of Europathon is Pisa – an old small town famous for its cathedral square which contains the wonder, The Leaning Tower of Pisa. For tourist Pisa is said not to be very safe at night. So, as a precaution I tried to get in to the city before it gets really late. This meant I had to take a 7:31 AM train from Marseille, France. It was long and painful. I had to change train thrice, at Nice Ville, Ventimiglia and La Spezia. Good part, my Eurail pass covered the whole route and I did not have to pay anything. Eleven hours and twenty minutes later, sitting in not very comfortable seats throughout the journey I reached Pisa Central at 6:51 PM. It was already a bit dark outside.
Outside the station near a plaza I saw a group of people drinking and partying, not unusual for a Saturday night in a European city, but certainly a sight which can freak a tourist out further late at night.
After getting lost twice, I made my way to the hostel which is barely a mile away from station and 2 minutes’ walk from Piazza Dei Duomo (The square that houses the tower) by about 7:45. Hostel Pisa Tower is a delight. Very friendly staff, Alexandra handed me over the key to my room which was called Galileo. This hostel is in a residential building and one can see the tower from its doors. It is beautifully decorated, has just four dorms, a small sitting space and a terrace. It feels more home than hostel.
I went about around 9 PM for dinner and found an Indian restaurant run by two Bangladeshi friends selling ‘Alu Chop’ and ‘Piazu’, though I had Keema Naan. To be honest city did not feel unsafe at all except for a few funny characters standing in dark alleys. After a couple of snaps and a walk about the city centre I got back to hostel for the night.
Most of the touristic places in Pisa are at the same place where the tower is, who world heritage site comprises of tower, cathedral, compost, baptistery and two museums. It was fairly sunny in the morning and it took me about one hour to go about the whole place. One could see a lot of guides taking groups around, so guided walks are a thing. Though, I saw none in English. They might start later during the day. One can go up the tower for €18 and in all other places €5 each. Combo tickets can be brought for €7 and €8, which allows you to enter to a combination of 4 places. There was no combo available with the tower ticket. Tower itself is not too high so I was not fascinated to go up.
My walk back to the station was through a market area and I could see street getting filled with tourists slowly. Pisa is an ideal destination for a day trip from any nearby city in Italy.
7:31 AM – Marseille St. Charles (France) – TER 17475 to Nice Ville (France) at 10:25 AM (delayed)
10:46 AM – Nice Ville (France) – TER 86025 to Ventimiglia (Italy) at 11:40 AM
11:50 AM – Ventimiglia (Italy) – R 24555 to La Spezia (Italy) at 5:04 PM
5:36 PM – La Spezia (Italy) – R 23391 to Pisa Central (Italy) at 6:51 PM
Hostel Pisa Tower, 4, Via Piave (Contessa Matilde) – Hostels in Pisa charge €1 as a tourist tax per night per person over the rate.