Again I reflect on our winter trip to Italy. The latitude in Tuscany roughly equivalent to Milwaukee but the Mediterranean climate brought signs of early spring to the February landscape. We were fortunate to start with a stretch of sunny cool days, but as our trip wound to a close on Saturday, March 4th, spring was nowhere to be found. The steady, cold rain dimmed our thoughts of leaving the hotel room, and we napped until noon. We finally decided that we would thank ourselves later if we got out. I wanted to take a train trip to Pisa and this seemed to be a good day to give it a try. The rain was a bother, but it added a cozy, romantic element to the excursion.
We made the 10-minute walk from our hotel to the Montecatini Centro station between showers and navigated our way through the self-service ticket machine inside the station. The small station room was almost empty except for a young couple and gypsy looking for ways to snag a Euro or two by insisting on helping customers with their ticket purchases. The safest place seemed to be the outside platform and it wasn’t but a few minutes wait until we were aboard the warm cozy car. From Montecatini, it was a half-hour trip to Lucca where we changed from an eastbound to a North-bound train to Pisa. We had tickets to the Main Pisa station but a bit of reading the Rick Steves Guide indicated that it was much closer to get off at the small San Rossore Station which is only 1/2 mile from the Leaning Tower. From the station, It was puddles, splashes and pouring rain. Fumbling with umbrellas and camera equipment, we were a bit disoriented, so we resorted to the Siri Navigation app on our iPhone. Finally, though, we just started following a group of what appeared to be Italian Boy Scouts, who led us right to our destination. Looking back, I wouldn’t take anything for the memory.