Getting lost in these streets is easy. You can explore the wonders down a side street, have a 5th cone of gelato because nothing beats that sweet substance to cool off on a 90 degree Italian day, or lay out on the lawn of Piazza dei Miracoli, mesmerized by the leaning tower.
Wandering out from Pisa Centrale Train Station, I made a beeline for Corso Italiane, the Main Street in Pisa lined with shops, gelaterias, pizzerias, and the like. I stumbled upon an outdoor food market where about 15 vendors sat to sell their wares to passersby.
I continued on and drifted into a discrete shop, the only sign of life were 3 neon papers signs reading, “Sconti! Sconti! Sconti!” “Sale! Sale! Sale!” Of course that drew thrifty me inside.
As I browsed the new winter collection, because I realized my summer wardrobe lying in the broken suitcase back home would barely pass for a European winter, a bold female voice called out in my direction.
“I’m sorry, only English.”
“Ah, um, compliments to you for your height and very beautiful.”
“Oh! Grazie! Thank you very much!”
The conversation continued with the 5’1″ woman Florencia, in which I learned she had been a tutor for a Saudi Arabian princess, had one daughter currently in medical school, and was also a tutor for 17 children at once. I swear this firecracker of a lady wasn’t older than 35 with ebony hair, not a gray in sight, few wrinkles on her tan face, and eyes that shone with youthful innocence not yet halfway through life. Turns out she was 51, and my surprised reaction is exactly what she expected.
It was a delightful exchange between strangers that may never meet again, yet even such a short interaction can leave a lasting impact, and I still find myself thinking about her words of wisdom and advice a week later.
Traveling is so much more than the places you go, things you see, items you check off the bucket list. It’s the relationships and new friendships (and many new Facebook friends!) you build that make any adventure, whether in your home area code or on an exotic island or 4-month backpacking journey, worth taking.
The tall girl recommends 2 days tops for a visit to Pisa. You could definitely see and do everything Pisa has to offer in 2 days, unless you’re trying to live there. Like me.
the tall girl