Italy: The End of the Road

By the time we got to San Gimignano, I really think we were too tired to be excited tourists. The sun was unrelenting and we were also faced with a short hill and stairs - no escalators like in Siena, much to my annoyance. But really, the walled city of San Gimignano was breathtaking. The streets were teeming with life - both the tourist kind and the resident kind - with the city's famed towers looking down on all of us. I decided to break away from the ladies and go exploring on my own because I knew I wanted to move at my own pace this time around. I managed to pick up some awesome biscotti for my cousin and tried on some really gorgeous handmade jewellry pieces in a couple of shops. The prices were as hot as the Italian sun, so I made zero purchases but maybe next time.

I made a couple stops in souvenir shops and pitstops, but this was apparently quite the draw and I was loathe to join a line as long as my dress for ice cream but when the boast is that the gelato you're hawking is the world's best gelato and you have a trophy somewhere to prove it...well...I will bite.

I stood in line for maybe only 5 minutes as the staff were probably quite used to this tourist bonanza, and I ordered a buttery flavoured gelato which was fantastic. I took my fat, hot, tired gelato loving ass to a shady nook and people watched until the cone was no more. Then I ran to a standpipe and washed the milky mess off my hands and ran some water over my face and neck and made a slow walk back to the tour bus.

When I got back to the bus, the sea of tired faces, with either water soaked or sweat soaked hair clinging to them was enough to make me laugh. We got on the bus, grateful for the a/c and made the drive to Pisa and thankfully by the time we got there, the sun had been overthrown by some darkish clouds and it was cool and bearable because I will not lie, at one point I was like "F...Pisa!" cause it was so hot. But nothing could have prepared us for how beautiful the Piazza looked as we drove up, with this view.

My Indian seatmate and her dad had made plans to climb the Leaning Tower, while her mum passed, too tired to make it, thus enabling the Canadian girl to get the chance to walk the 300-odd steps to the top. Did I do it? Of course not and had I booked an advanced ticket to do so, I would have sold it cause at this point I was completely exhausted. lol. The other ladies and I walked a bit, did the annoying tourist thing of taking photos, marvelled at the absolute beauty of the Baptistery and the Cathedral and then sat on the steps looking up at the incredible Leaning Tower that til then I had only seen in books and on tv.

It was pretty surreal at that point, that I was sitting on the steps in front of the tower, with 2 Americans and an Indian, having a slushie and staring at an civil engineering  disaster that is celebrated the world over. And I thought, wow, it has been a blessed day.

The bus ride back to Florence was a merry one, with people exchanging email addresses and laughing. I got back to Florence, a little darker, a lot happier, very tired but complete.

Interested in this tour. Click HERE.


  1. I spent an entire month in Italy and I have to say Florence was one of my favorites!!! Awesome photos and a great trip :).

  2. Hey, I found your blog through SITS and I was just in Florence last week for work! At first I thought the city was really lovely, but after being there for two weeks it began to feel really tourist-y and almost artificial... every single restaurant had the same wine bottles, pale yellow walls and arched ceilings, and nearly every museum and church cost more than I wanted to spend for an hour visit (I was working 9 to 6 most days with an hour break for lunch).

    Oh well, I still think the city was beautiful and I'll reserve my final judgement until after I visit it for a holiday rather than work!


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