But today, I decided to get it started.
We joined the group in Pontedera. Sarah and I rode the train over from Florence, then walked to the hotel from the train station. There we met Al and Ardy, along with several other participants. All were very pleasant, looking forward to the adventure.
We had to deal with some issues during the afternoon, then walked to dinner with most of the riders, heading to pizza at a local pizzeria.
The next morning was the day to pick up scooters.
The rental shop was in a small building on one of the larger roads in town, about a kilometer from the hotel. We got there and were immediately told by Al that we would be getting a Yamaha Tmax that was sitting out front. Because we were riding two up, we had requested a 250cc scooter. I was expecting a Vespa, but we got this one, 500cc of nearly sport bike looks. I was a little disappointed, but it turned out to be a good choice.
At the shop, running out of scooters.
I took photos of the damages on the Yamaha. There were plenty, but it ran well. The biggest issue was that the seat lock was balky and I couldn't open the fuel tank filler panel. They addressed both and it ended up working well
Pisa was only 30 km from Pontedera, but with no preparation or good map, I just looked for signs to Pisa. Of course, that put us on the largest, busiest roads, but we made it easily. Once in town. we were not sure how to find the tower, so we parked and I asked a group of police officers for directions. They were very helpful and pointed us in the right direction. Luckily, we also found that our phones on airplane mode were able to use the GPS to locate us on our rough maps.
We parked the scooter near the the Cathedral complex and walked a block to bring it into view. The place was crawling with tourists, but that is to be expected. We walked around, took the usual photos and decided to go to the top. That required a ticket and a wait, so we got our ticket and went to the shopping area for lunch. Once in the long line, we made our way inside, climbed the stairs to the top and enjoyed a wonderful view of the town and surrounding countryside.
We used the sketchy phone maps to take a more scenic ride back to Pontedera where we joined the group for the Welcome Dinner.
It is sinking
A look at the detail of the beautiful tower Most people only notice that it leans.
This photo shows the extent of the lean. It is hard to believe that it has not fallen yet. They assured us that fixes have stopped the leaning and it is good for 200 years now.
About to go into the tower.
Inside, taking the stairs.
Me at the top
It is actually a campanile, or bell tower. So here are some of the bells.
Nice views from the top
It was a clear day, casting a big shadow on the lawn.
Welcome dinner, another table. That is Jess from MV on the right. DougL on the left.
And more of the group