Sunday, 28 July 2013

Under the Tuscan Sun

We've arrived in Tuscany, a region in central Italy romanticised by millions the world over for its landscapes, traditions, history and culture.  Specifically, we've arrived in Pisa, known globally for its classic leaning tower, which we'll go see tomorrow.

We left Genoa this morning, it being only a stopover on our way between Nice and Pisa.  The train trip took less than two hours, and we found our hotel with not too much trouble.  The heat here in Pisa is still hot but it seems less oppressive than what we experienced in Barcelona, the French Riviera and in Genoa.  It's very slightly inland, and you would think that as you go inland the heat would be more intense than on the coast.  But, for us at least, it seems to be the other way around.  Well, that's our first Impression anyway.  We'll be in Florence in a few days where temperatures are in the high thirties.

Speaking of Pisa's proximity to the coast, I noticed on Wikipedia that today Pisa is roughly 10 kilometres from the coast.  But when Pisa was founded by the Etruscans 2,500 years ago, the city was only four kilometres from the coast.  It was founded at its location because Pisa lies at the junction of two rivers, the Arno and the Serchio.  In the age we live in, we talk more of rising sea levels thanks to global warming, but this present-day proximity of Pisa to the shoreline compared to its ancient proximity represents a curious reversal of the current discourse.  Could be worthy of further enquiry.

Soon, we'll head out into the town, perhaps cross to the other side of the river Arno, and find something to eat for dinner.  Might check out going up the tower tomorrow.

Readers of this blog will know that Jean and I were in Pamplona recently for the Festival of San Fermin and the running of the bulls.  We've just heard that in the Spanish town of Isso, 322 kilometres southeast of Madrid, a running of the bulls event was held during the Apostle James Feast, and a 16 year old boy has been gored to death by a bull.  Apparently, many small towns in Spain hold such events, and they are not very well supervised.  It is indeed a tragedy for the boy and his family.  Meanwhile, Jean and I would like to know more of the welfare of the young Australian woman who was seriously injured at Pamplona.  We can't find any news about this, so if someone would like to tell us of her recovery, that would be welcomed.

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