So I have been without internet for a while now, and let me tell you, it feels pretty good to not rely on technology once and a while. For the last four days I have been traveling Italy with my Siena Italian Studies group to Pisa, Viareggio, La Spezia and the Cinque Terre, and finally Lucca. Mostly we just walked until our bodies couldn’t take it anymore and then ate until our stomachs were more than fully satisfied. The food was incredible, and I’m pretty sure we were supplied food or a hundred instead of thirty.
In Pisa, of course, we saw the leaning tower- and yes, it does look the same as it does in postcards. Except a bit more real and a bit more surreal at the same time. Apparently not that long ago, the town made an attempt to stabilize the bottom by putting heave weights on one side and inserting cement into the base. As the tower is built on sand and as underneath that sand there is water- the plan didn’t really work and there was a mandatory evacuation of all surrounding houses just in case of collapse. Now, and again, the tower is stable- but it is also still leaning.
La Spezia and the Cinque Terra was my favorite part of the trip. We began by walking the “Via del Amore” trail which runs along the coast and has the most amazing view. The walk itself was not far, but with the amount of times we stopped in awe, I am sure we were there for at least an hour. After this less intense hike, a few other students and I decided to take the train to Vernazza to try out another path. It turned out to be the most “real” hike I have ever been on- there were little to no railings to protect you from falling hundreds of feet into the oceany/mountainy abyss. We even were forced to traverse across a waterfall- and by forced I mean were really excited to see if we could survive the current. The air was incredible on the mountain- I actually felt healthier just being up there. I am starting to realize why Italians are known for living “La Vita Bella.” With the unavoidable exercise that comes with walking the hilly streets of Siena, with the inevitable digestive health that comes with eating only organic food, and with the promise of beautiful scenery wherever I go, I am starting to loose my American need for efficiency and opt for a more relaxed and more enjoyable way of life.