The Leaning Tower of Pizza

Today I make my way into Italy, land of pizza, fine wine, and finally a decent coffee! This is probably the country I have been most looking forward to on this trip, see the main 3 reasons above. I was lucky enough to have a godfather (Dad’s best friend) with Italian heritage so have been brought up to appreciate these things. I’d love to tell you that I also picked up some of the language, but despite a short attempt at Duolingo lessons, not much has really managed to stick. I know a few nouns which help occasionally but realistically I’m relying on the locals’ ability to speak English.

Our first stop is at the leaning tower of Pisa and I can’t help but take the same photo everyone does. Once I’m done with that I explore the walled area adjacent and find that Pisa is a beautiful city for more than just the failed engineering! Before I go, I notice just how many people are standing in the street with their hands up trying to get ‘that’ photo, so I can’t help but go and snag some high-fives on the way out.

Tonight we stay in Florence, or should I say we stay in cabins at a campsite just out of Florence. After a large traditional Italian dinner we dance the night away and put the little ones to bed. By ‘little ones’ I of course mean those younger members of the tour group who might not have been as ready for the bottomless Italian wine as they thought. Tomorrow it is up bright and early for a walking tour of Florence where we see the sights and get given some history about it all. Europe has an incredible amount of history and it seems nowhere is it denser than in Italy!

The tour is enjoyable and we end it with a traditional Florentine steak lunch. To describe this as a T-bone would not do it justice, the thing is HUGE. Thankfully it’s shared between more than one person! Now to say that it is cooked “just like mama used to make it” might sound good, but in my case is most definitely wrong. Steak florentine is sealed on the outside but very rare/blue in the middle. Both of my parents like their steak well-done, by which I mean like a literal lump of charcoal. Somehow my brother and I have ended up having reasonable taste and like our steaks somewhere around the medium mark, but I’ve got to say that the steak florentine, as nice as it was, is still a bit on the rare side for me.

We wash the steak down with some proper Italian gelati and explore a bit more of the city before it’s time to be back on the bus to our campsite.

The last place we visit is the Basilica di Santa Croce, where the tombs of Michelangelo, Machiavelli and Galileo Galilei reside. As an engineer, Galileo is a particularly important part of history to me, so I found this a particularly meaningful place and definitely worth the visit!


Tonight is a vineyard tour and wine tasting dinner and it is one of the best nights I’ve had so far. The food was beautiful, plentiful and so well paired with the wines that I actually enjoyed rose! Crazy. I enjoy it so much that I buy my first actual souvenir on the trip- a bottle of red wine. As much as I intend to take this bottle home with me, I feel that goal may be unattainable. The wine was very easy to drink at the tasting, this was my favourite one, and at only 9 euros it’s not expensive enough to need a particularly special occasion... I give it 24 hours.


  1. Ah Italy, food and wine of the Gods! Enjoy your pizza, I’m off to burn a few steaks!

  2. I'm so much enjoying your adventure. Drink the wine! ;)


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