Having arrived in Pisa means of course that I've successfully made it back to the mainland. As a budgeting backpacker, I have to admit I was happy to be back on less expensive, less exclusive land. As I mentioned in my 'Thinking of travelling to Sardenga or Corsica?' post, I'd love to come back to these islands but it would have to be under different conditions.
As for the sail crossing, well, it's about now then that my 'Trip Europe 2009' buddies will be reading this massively curiously to know how I coped this time round.
Well, the memories immediately came flooding back if you'll excuse the pun almost the moment I boarded the ferry.
Look, I was even one of the first on board!
For those who haven't been on a typical ferry before, I can appreciate how this looks relatively pleasant - even luxurious, however for me it conjurers up images of discomfort not comfort! The last time I was in an area reminiscent of this was when I was stumbling around disorientated in search of some 'knock-out' pills that designated staff can give out to seasick passengers. Now, in some fairness to me, the waves were nearly as high as the ship. No, seriously! It was two weeks later Dad mentioned to be that the sea covering the Bay of Biscay was notoriously choppy. And didn't I know it.
At this point then we discovered my kryptonite - a seriously rocky ship. The lads had never seen me so ill, I had never seen me so ill. The very next time I felt worse than this was at the start of this, my solo voyage into the unknown some six years later! If you missed that Cypriot post, here it is: 'Eight days in and food poisoned'.
As so for this time round.....drum roll......
I made it without being sick. Phew! Thank God.
Don't be fooled, I'm not magically cured of my disorientation/sea sickness. I was just lucky that this stretch of sea (today at least) was relatively calm and so the ship didn't rock at all during the entire four hour crossing. What's more, to aid this I took a further precautionary measures (in addition to having a sick bag with me).
I got a window seat (inside the ship communal seating area) and I did not move from this position. I wish now I'd have taken a photo of my not particularly exciting 'sea-view' but I didn't. To clarify - including the 45 minutes before we set sail and up to 10 minutes prior to docking, I did not move from the one sea in 4.5 hours! Looking back, all that I had to occupy me was my music (the same music for 6 months) and my own-thoughts. Still, you'll never here me moan about 'thought-time' as I'm lucky to have it in this reasonably stress free period of my life and I'm well aware (and appreciative) of that that.
Now on to Pisa...
I said two days but to all intents and purposes, it might as well have been one day as the second 24 hours marked the start of rain. A subsequent inspection of the forecast for the next few days covering the entire region confirms the same miserable outlook. This is really quite significant as the last time I experienced multiple days of consecutive rain this was back in the UK and therefore in late March time. That's a heck of a long time ago!
Rain, then, is a big issue for me as a traveller. For starters, I've forgotten what it's like to feel trapped indoors by poor climate conditions. Then there's the actual act of travelling to and from new destinations and seeking accommodation which in poor conditions becomes increasingly more difficult and thoroughly less enjoyable.
In fact, the main reason (a special UNESCO protected attraction) I'm back over in Italy for looks like it will now not happen. There's no chance I'm not going to spend time along the Ligurian jewel of Cinque Terra in anything other than perfect conditions. So yeah, the rain has really screwed me over. My mindset is now to find an alternate, but still notable location and just see what happens with the weather wherever I end up.
For your information, I have a flight booked to the fourth of the five island challenge mid next week so I have a few days to 'kill time'. If the weather would have been half decent, clearly that description would have transformed entirely to something like '...massively looking forward to spending time in and around The Ligurian jewel to enjoy the beautiful scenery that both locals and tourists visit throughout the year'.
Anyway, please enjoy some images of Pisa and therefore the last day of reasonable amounts of sunshine for the foreseeable...
Just look at how many virtual high-five-ers there are in this frame alone. Then consider there's a load more all down the street. Honestly it really drives me bonkers seeing these scenes whereas five or ten years ago you wouldn't have seen as much of this. These days though it's relentless - clearly nobody has any originality left and are just happy to do what everyone else is doing. Grrrrrrr, goons!
Yeah yeah, gimme a break this was like half a decade ago! Heck, I didn't even have a grey hairs then. Oh, I even had some muscle on me then unlike this muscle-diminishing physique I now occupy.
Views of the river Arno - one of the most important rivers in the country and #1 in the region.
It flows into the Tyrrhenian Sea at Marina di Pisa. I'd have liked to have checked it out the transitional point of river to sea but it was 10KM west of the centre and these two days are meant to be for me to recoup a little. Next time for sure.
I've decided on a new destination for the next few nights not too far from here and it's a big one. Just hoping the weather is slightly better in that city.