Italy: Day 4 Pisa

We let ourselves sleep in a bit this morning. Around 8am we were up, showered, and made our way down to have breakfast. I had my first Italian cappuccino, which was amazing. I ended up having two of them before we left for the train station.

We were on our own schedule today. Nothing pre-booked, just plans to go to Pisa. Mom and Josh went to the post office to mail home some souveirs, while the rest of us wandered the shops near the train station. We met up at the station and managed the ticket machine, then found our way onto the train around 10. Bit of a bummer for this hour ride, as we were standing or sitting on the stairs until just before we got there.

We ate a lunch at McDonald’s when we arrived, then made the 20 minute walk to the tower. Seeing it for the first time, I felt a bit like a kid. Here is something I’ve always seen in pictures, seen the goofy tourist photos, and have always wanted to see for myself! We bought our tickets to climb the tower, and had a few hours before our time slot.

Josh had a picture idea using his gelato

Somehow we got separated from Tony and Josh, so I left mom and the kids sitting in the shade while I looked around the grounds for them. This was the only awkward part of vacation, only mom and I had set our phones up for international. Josh did after this, but I did find them near the cathedral. We got mom and the kids, then took a tour through the cathedral. I didn’t see one ugly church in Italy. Some overly decorated ones yes, but nothing ugly! We found another angle to take some more pictures too!

Tony’s idea for a picture was my favorite

Our turn to climb the tower came, so we stored all our stuff in lockers, no extras can go with you, and we started climbing. This was a head trip! Walking up didn’t always feel like up. When going in to the lean, it actually felt like going down, and out of the lean was like the steepest stairs of your life!

Mom and Chiara at the top

Chiara was hilarious. Once we got to the top, a bit ahead of mom, Chiara was waiting for Nana to get there. An older Chinese lady came around the last turn, and Chiara put both hands in the air and said loudly, “Welcome to the top!” The lady started smiling and laughing, asking while pointing at Chiara, “I take picture?” So Chiara is in someone else’s vacation pictures, and I’m sure she’s referenced as “the sweet, funny American girl”

Down the stairs was another experience. Downstairs should always be fairly easy, yes? No! While walking out of the lean, downstairs felt like you were falling backwards and going up. Tony was last coming down, mainly because we were both staying with Chiara. She had hands on both walls and was taking her time. A fun experience for all of us!

Souvenir shopping of course, and Tony was very happy with his leaning shot glass. Chiara found herself a hat she loves, it has leaning towers all over it. We slowly made our way back to the train station, bought tickets, and luckily had seats for the return trip. Our legs were done after the stairs!

We found a restaurant in Florence, on our way back to the hotel. Probably the priciest place we ate the whole trip. Very good, and I was proud that I was able to order my meal speaking Italian. Mom on the other hand told the waiter “merci” when he brought her food. They did have my favorite wine the whole trip though!

Back to the hotel, where we packed as much as we could. We wanted to sleep in as long as possible before our train to Venice the next day.

Disney Photo Memories


This was something I actually pinned after our most recent Disney trips. I was really excited about it because I realized that this Brittany Smith must be a picture freak, just like me!
I’ve actually been to Disney World in Florida 3 times in my life. The first, my Nana and Papa took my brother and I when I was 7 years old. I have a few specific memories, but the big one is just the wonder of it all!
The second and third time, my dad had an army conference in Orlando, so my parents took my family and I to the parks.
The second and third trips, obviously I was an adult, and my picture obsession had completely set in. I took almost 1,400 pictures in 10 days. I don’t regret a single shot either, because those are moments that will never be quite the same again.
I went through this amazing list compiled by this blogger, and selected my favorite choices.
#4: The Gates of Walt Disney World. This shot can be a little tricky to get. They have big signs saying DO NOT STOP! You may in fact notice little smudges, they’re bug splatter through the windshield. I can understand them not wanting you to stop. It would take twice as long to get in the park otherwise!
#15: Get as close to Cinderella’s Castle as you can. Look up! Snap that shot! It’s absolutely mind boggling how many angles you can take of one location! I have at least 12 shots of different views of the castle, maybe double that of Hogwarts over at Universal! This is one of my favorite angles, probably second favorite after the full shot. It’s an amazing angle, that honestly, not a lot of people will think of.
#17: In motion. Riding the Tea Cups. This is one of the rides I remember riding as a child. Arthur actually rode this twice. Once with my parents, then he rode with us. After we got off, my mom told Tony she would never ride with him. We were spinning like a top!
#18: In the air, on Dumbo. This is a ride I distinctly remember NOT riding. This was closed for repair when I went as a kid. I made a point to ride this with Arthur. Not the most exciting, not the biggest thrill, but it is a landmark ride, and Arthur really enjoyed it.
#25: If you spot Cap’n Jack, snap his picture! We rode Pirates of the Caribbean A LOT!! At least 8 times over the course of the week. There are in fact 3 Jack Sparrows on the ride, and I snuck a picture of all of them. This one is my favorite!
#28: Any shots of the parade are great. I have a great many pictures of a great many parades. Main Street Electrical Parade is fantastic, they all are, but the effects on this one are ASTOUNDING!
#32: This one listed several highlights on the Epcot world showcase. We saw them all. I fell in love with the Eiffel Tower, so of course I chose the pic of that one!
#36: in Animal Kingdom, make sure to take a picture with Everest in the background. I took several shots, with selected backgrounds, of Tony and I. I’m quite good at selfies. I enjoyed how the one of Everest turned out.
#41: Over at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, don’t miss the ‘Singin In The Rain’ Umbrella. We found this one by chance while wandering. We took shots of all of us. We also made sure to take these on the return trip!
Remember, if / when you go to Disney, it’s not about working your way through the list. All I’m suggesting is that you read it through and try to remember. You don’t want to spend your vacation focused only on your list and your camera. Memories are important, but you want to experience your family time, not just record it!
Original pin and complete list can be found at