Under The Tuscan Sun

Last weekend I did something I have never done before. I went on holiday, by myself! At first I was terrified, as this wasn’t the original plan.. but then I embraced it. Living with friends is great but I do love a bit of Me time, and what better way to unwind and completely relax then by going to Pisa for a weekend in the sun?

My first worry about going on holiday solo was that I would get bored (my attention span has been known to be rather short). What was I going to do with myself for a little over 48 hours? Well I discovered there was plenty to do on my own. It actually allowed me to get excited about the little things.. going for a walk around the town and taking in the landscape. Pisa is a small town, surrounded by mountains so the landscape is actually really interesting to look at.

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People watching! My oh my were there some interesting people. Not only is it a total tourist town (cue people posing in front of the leaning tower as if they’re holding it up) but it is also full of Italians… Italians are (I think) some of the most interesting people to watch. Firstly, they talk with their hands. They get so animated in conversation it’s fun to try and work out if they’re arguing with each other or just sharing a private joke. Being from an Italian heritage myself, a lot of this brought back childhood memories for me. Sitting at my Nonna & Nonno’s house while they had their friends over for coffee… it was exactly the same scene being played out on the streets of Pisa and in restaurants and bars.

The language itself I also find comforting, mainly for the memories it evokes in me. But just walking around, listening to people’s conversations (without a clue of what they were saying) was really nice and quite relaxing!

Another perk of travelling by myself was I wasn’t accountable to anyone. If I felt like getting some hazelnut gelato at 10:30am then I was going to have it! I could eat where I wanted, when I wanted, go and have a siesta anytime I wanted. Perfect!

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The weather in Pisa couldn’t have been better. Mild low twenties and not a single cloud in the sky.. for the entire 3 days. Although I did notice that most of the time, I was the only person in town without a jacket on. (clearly adjusting to this English climate) But it was actually nice to not be so hot that you were constantly sweating and in need of water. (last time I was in Italy it was averaging about 40 degrees!) So it allowed me to lay in the park for a couple of hours with my book and my journal and just BE. Really take stock of everything that’s happening in my life… I’ve had a big twelve months, a LOT has changed in that time and I guess it was the first chance I’ve had to just sit back and reflect.

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The food of course was what took up most of my time.. My days pretty much revolved around it! Something that was clear was how different the food is to the Italian cuisine we are used to having at home. I think back in Australia, they have adapted the style of serving food to fit in with our culture, but when you’re in Italy it’s different. For example, at home if you order a pizza, it is usually enough food to feed 2 people at least, but in Italy, a pizza is the size of a dinner plate.. just enough! A bowl of pasta wont leave you with a food coma because you are served a plate of pasta.. just enough! But it’s because of this perfect portioning that you can actually indulge and have antipasto and cheese or gelato (or sometimes both) afterwards. Makes for a much better meal really. And none of the meals were fancy restaurant style, it was all very simply served, very humble food…. now prepare to salivate as I post all my food pics..

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I highly recommend Pisa for a visit. Most people do a day trip, I think it deserves at least one night! It’s such a charming town with beautiful buildings and beautiful people. As for solo traveling, I now have the confidence to go if I find a good deal to go somewhere and no one else can make it, I’m not going to let it hold me back anymore!

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Just one more…

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