Project WWWT Day 20 of 72 - Pisa, Italy
7th June 2017
Finally, we are making our way to the land of fashion, pastas & piazzas, parma hams and parmagiano regiano!
Before I would like to detail down some incidents and information for our journey from London to here.We are flying via RyanAir from London to Pisa and the flight will depart from London Stansted Airport. We took UBER to the airport and the journey took around 90 minutes and costs £111.13. The reason why it cost that much is because we took UberVan i.e. a 6 seater car to transport all 5 of us plus 8 luggages + a stroller. I know thats a lot but hey, we have 3 adults, 2 children and 72 days of travel? Besides, yours truly has some really good looking arms by now although my face remains the chubby fat me, its a gift. If you are opting for regular Uber, it cost half of that and at that price, it is way cheaper option considering that you have the car all to yourself.
PLEASE TAKE NOTE:
Now for Stansted Airport. There are some tips for you travelling out from this airport.
ONE: They have very strict carry on checks so please ensure that you do not carry much liquid in your carry-on bags. When I say liquid, that includes your face wipes, travel size sunscreen, travel size facial foundation, travel size cough packs etc. etc. My MIL and wife brought a whole lot of 5ml essential oils and ended up being caught in the luggage checkpoint for close to 40 minutes (Perhaps even more, we didn't even have time to check because we are late for our flight already) for testing of the liquid.
TWO: There is an allowance for each person for the carry-on bag's liquid item. Everyone is only allowed for an approximately B5 sized zip lock and if your liquid items does not fit, you will then need to give up your items.
There is a requirement to place one group of item in ONE container while placing it on the conveyor for scannig. Some categories that I can recall are 1) Coins and keys; 2) Handphones; 3) iPads and Notebooks; 4) Jacket & Belts; 5) Stroller; 6) Bags without any of those listed in 1 - 4. This is all good but the problem is, there is 4 stations for passengers to unload their items listed above. So there will be some chaos when you are retrieving your items. I am not accusing the checkpoint officer of anything, but my MIL has lost her Chanel wallet including some Malaysian Ringgit and her Malaysian Identity Card and my SIL (boarding from Heathrow Airport) lost her Credit Card after clearing the luggage checkpoint. Coincidence? Hmmm...
So friends and visitors, you have been warned.
We have rented an apartment in Pisa and the photos of the accomodation can be seen below. This property has just been listed less than a year and hence there are some items that are still left wanting in this property, mostly cultural preference while those general necessary items are all available i.e. kitchen utentils, fridge, toilet etc. The owner Ms. Desy is a very hospitable lady. We reached a little after 8PM although our initial plan is 7PM but she accomodate our late arrival and is on site waiting for us to hand us the keys and to give me a quick briefing on the property.
The apartment is very nicely done up and she also prepared us with a backpack and a picnic bag. Initially I am a little disappointed that the water boiler is dirty (perhaps due to the previous tenant), there are no knife and there are no bowls. I called Desy and told her about the the dirty water boiler but she did not understand english that well but promised she will be there at our unit in 10 minutes time to see the problem, she arrived in 10 minutes time! I told her about the water boiler and callously told her about the knife and bowl too. After taking in my input, she went and buy a set of kitchen knives, several soup bowls and even a toy car for my son! I have did some case studies on what makes hotels memorable and for customers to keep coming back by going the extra miles for their patrons. Casa Ilde and Desy took the cake. The location is away from the Pisa ZTL zone and has a big Co-Op, pizzeria and DIY laundry shop within a 500 meters radius. I did some walking to cover Pisa from Casa Ilde and it took me 3 hours altogether from the accomodation to Orto Botanico and Piazza del Duomo and back to Casa Ilde again... on foot.
For those intending to drive in Pisa or to Florence, please take note that there is a restricted zone called ZTL where only local residence, buses and taxis could enter only. If you drive into these zones, you will be fined a hefty price of €200.00 for each summon and you can be given more than one summon within the same day or location. So be warned.
We managed to head out for a dinner before we move all our luggages back to the apartment and we just drove around the vicinity of Casa Ilde and found a local gem. The food is authentic Italian. We saw many local Italian dining there too, so it got to be good. But the best thing is, our meal of 2 pizzas, a penne bolognese, 2 ice creams, one sorbet and a tiramisu costs us a mere €38.50, a huge difference between the meal pricing from that in London, which is easily 2 to 3 times more. However, I experienced a strong thirsty sensation later that night until I quench the thirst by eating a peach and it worked. This usually happens when there is a strong presence of MSG in the food. I am kind of torn in between because La Lupa Ghiotta is a local hunt, the food tasted good and the price is really affordable... but MSG is a big no-no for me. I would not recommend this place unless you can't really tell the difference whether there are MSG used in the food or not (Many of my friends can't tell).
Some photos of the day are shown below.