The Leaning Tower

The best part of staying in hostels is the people you meet. I woke up this morning to see a handful of people I met the night before and another guy getting ready for the day. We all discussed our trips so far and were explaining where we were all going. Cinque Terre was next on my list, or so I thought. After talking with them that morning, I decided I’d stop in Pisa to see the famous Leaning Tower.

I absolutely love BlaBlaCar. There’s always several drivers in Italy going anywhere you want to go, and today was no exception. This time, my driver and his passenger were both in the Italian military. The driver was a helicopter pilot and spoke great English so we talked for most of the way to Pisa. He had been to the states before so we talked about the differences between the two countries. As we drove, I couldn’t help but think how much this part of Italy reminded me of Kansas with its lack of hills and farms scattered all about.

During the time we weren’t talking, I began thinking about life. One thing I realized is that rarely did I ever have deep and meaningful conversations with the people in my life. The BlaBlaCar driver asked several questions that really made me wonder where I stood when it came to certain aspects of my life. The truth is, I hadn’t ever thought about many of these things before. By the time the ride was over, I felt like I needed to make stronger connections with people, not only to get to know them better but to get to know myself.

The driver dropped me off at the train station in Pisa. This seemed to be a common theme for all BlaBlaCar drivers. I guess it makes sense; most people are probably just using BlaBlaCar for one leg of their journey. Before being dropped off, I could see the Leaning Tower in the distance. It was now hiding behind the buildings around me but I knew which way to start walking. Pisa is not a very big city, especially when comparing it to the cities I had visited so far, and it didn’t take me any time at all to reach the famous tower.

I took several pictures, but like the hostel buddies had told me that morning, there wasn’t much more to see in Pisa. I thought about making my way up to Lucca, a city still surrounded by it’s anxient city wall. Considering how much time I had left in the day, I decided to make my way up to La Spezia instead. La Spezia was just outside of Cinque Terre and I knew staying there that night would make it much easier to make my way to the five cities in the morning.

For the first time, there were no BlaBlaCar drivers heading that way. I’d have to do things to old fashioned way… train. I walked back to the train station and headed hopped on the next train heading to La Spezia.

Earlier, I had decided that I would stay in my hammock that night. I got off at the train station just before La Spezia and while it was already dark out, I decided I was still going to try it out. I started walking towards the hills from the train station and down the city roads for at least half an hour. I still wasn’t completely out of the city, but I was close enough. There, just off the road and as far away as I could be from the surrounding houses, I trekked out into the woods. I actually stayed in my hammock several nights in Kansas while preparing for my trip just to make sure I knew what it would take to set it up and what it would be like to sleep in it. I’m very glad I did. It took me a short while to find the perfect place to set it up; the only light source I had was my flashlight, but I was able to get it hung without any problems.

I climbed into my hammock that night with a huge, goofy grin on my face. Other than the occasional unidentifiable rustling in the distance, it was completely silent. I lay there staring up at the stars for awhile before I finally drifted of to sleep.

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I've always had the traveling itch, I just never knew how to scratch it. Finally, in March of 2015, I decided to take the plunge. This blog will chronicle my adventures and misadventures as I journey around the world.

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