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Working it out in the world, and sometimes writing about it.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Pisa and Its Leaning Thing(s)

Pisa and I are having some issues. On the one hand, I like Pisa. I like that it has a tower that leans. I like that Pisa has a baptistry in which Gregorian singing takes place every half hour. But Pisa and I, we have some issues we need to work out.
We took the train over, my very first train ride. It was sunny when we left, but I should know from living in Colorado for a few years now that the weather always changes. The closer we got to Pisa, the darker it got. We got off the train and about fifteen minutes into our trek to the tower, the skys split a seam and it poured. Maggie and I braved the weather until we thoroughly soaked (we were sans umbrella and rain jacket), and then we stepped into a church. Maggie is Catholic and loves visiting all the churches she can find.
The church was small, but beautiful. We wandered around the small space for a while and there were Biblical sculptures I didn't recognize, lots of marble and amazing windows. Once we got our fill on wandering, we read the information posted at the front of the room. Turns out the church we were in was the church that held the thorn from Christ's crown before it was taken to a museum.
I don't care what you believe, you have to admit that that's incredible. Just like the Museo di Scienzia holds Galileo's finger here. It's still an artifcact. I just couldn't get over that. I still can't.
We finally made it to the piazza that houses the tower, the baptistry and the cathedral. The cemetery and the museum are also in the surrounding area. Maggie and I, upon my insistence, went into the baptistry. We wound our way up the stairs and froze as we looked at the stained glass and down below where people milled about, waiting for something. From the barred windows at the top of the baptistry you can see the front of the cathedral and on the other side you can see the cemetery and the tower. Once you get past the countless feathers and piles of bird shit on the windows, it's very beautiful.
We went back downstairs and finally the gaurds sang. It's an amazing sound. It's like a symphony of one voice. An orchestra of one person. I still can't wrap my head around it. The gaurd sang and the echo felt like it entered my chest and hummed for the rest of the day. The acoustics of the baptistry make the echo/chord building possible. I'd love to learn more about it, but I wasn't willing to pay 1 Euro to listen to the kiosk inside. Not ok . :)
We went outside when the echo had finally died away and found our other roommates. We then spent about an hour taking the classic Pisa picture. At first, I wasn't going to do it. But then I wondered why I wasn't going to do it. Is it cliche? Yes. So what? It's my time over here and I can do what I want. So I took it. At the very least, I have a picture holding up the Leaning Tower of Pisa for my mom and dad. Then we got creative..Maggie and I have pictures of us kicking over the Tower, a picture of Maggie licking the Tower, and then a picture of me kissing the tower. It's classis, believe me. We spent the rest of the time wandering around Pisa, grabbing food, etc. I went off by myself and window shopped. It was nice to be by myself and not crying for once. I always underestimate how much I appreciate my alone time.
We made it home later that night without a hitch.
It amazes me that the Leaning Tower of Pisa was completed even though they knew it was leaning by the completion of the third story. That's incredible. Even more amazing is that tourists/travellers can pay 15 Euro to climb the Tower, which increases the lean. I think I read that it still continues to lean 25 mm every year. But maybe I just made that up. Stranger things have happened. Like the completion of a leaning tower. Crazy.

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