Shoepe Family Europe Trip 2016 travel blog

Leaning Tower of Pisa...not leaning too much in this picture.

Emily at Tower of Pisa





View of Tuscany out our window in San Gimignano

You can never have enough gelato!

gnocchi in a tomato sauce with mozzarella cheese...SO yummy!

hardly ever see trucks here but when you do, look how tiny...

San Gimignano

San Gimignano

It was a long hot day of traveling. If we were driving, it would have only taken us about 2 1/2 hours to get to San Gimignano plus a one hour or so stop in Pisa. Instead it took us about 6 1/2 hours. We rode three different trains and then a bus to our final destination. It is very hot out and we are tired of dragging our luggage on and off trains. I think we are all a bit on the crabby side today...well at least me! Our train stopped in Pisa, so we took a cab to go see the Leaning Tower. This is not a place I would take a special trip to go see. However, since we were stopping there anyway, we went to check it out...we all needed a picture of us trying to hold up or knock down the tower. I think we ended up with some pretty cute pictures of the kids! (We're having problems with Ryan sending me his picture so I don't have it posted as of now.) We finally made it San Gimignano, which is in Tuscany. The view from our window looks over the countryside and is quite a view! We are super happy because we have good wifi AND air conditioning! Only the second time for both on our trip! We are all vegging out in our room cooling off before we head out to look around the town. I was here a few years ago and just fell in love with it!

Most of the trains have reserved seats, but on some of the smaller trains, you just get on the train and have to find a seat. Of course, on the small trains, there is never a place for your luggage. There are masses of people trying to get off and on the train before it leaves (it does to wait long!) and you don't have a seat to go to. You are walking up and down the train with your luggage looking for somewhere to sit. It's crazy! You also have to remember to validate your tickets before you get on the train. This has mostly been just in Italy. There is a machine that you put your tickets into and it stamps the ticket for you. Sometimes they check, sometimes they don't. The bus ride was funny today because he never announced where the stops were. We had no idea where to get off. I just figured most of the people on the bus would be getting out at San Gimignano like us so followed the crowd. The transportation part of the trip is stressful for me. Most of the time, I have a handle on it, but it is not easy to get it all figured out. The tickets are all in another language. One time, we had five minutes to get off our train and get onto the next doesn't leave much time for not knowing where you are going and trying to find the correct platform and make sure you are getting on the correct train!

Emily is feeling better for the most part so hopefully no more sickies on the trip.

San Gimignano is the most adorable town. It is called a "hill town" because around Tuscany there are many little towns that were build right on top of a hill. They were walled in to keep them safe. Everything is made of stone and looks very old! We went and saw a Crime and Punishment Museum while we were here. It was really cool (and kind of gross) to see all the ways they tortured people throughout time. We weren't in San Gimignano for very long. Hopped on a bus and then a train and headed to Rome. We've had a couple long days of traveling and are glad we are staying in Rome for four nights! After we had an early dinner, I headed to the market to get some groceries. Planning on dining in mostly in Rome to save some $$. :)

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