The day after Cannes, the land of the luvvies, Podge & Tubbs sailed into a quaint little town called Livorno the Cruisers gateway to both Florence and Pisa.


At last, after 9-years it looked as though they might finally get to see the elusive town of Pisa: Tubbs was mighty pleased: Podge was also pleased.

The body is weak, the spirit is strong

Sailing into Livorno found Podge still struggling with his breathing (ManFlu can be far worse than people realise) and knew that the original plan of visiting both Florence & Pisa today was never going to work so he was glad they’d changed their plans to just ‘do Pisa’ today. Now, he was however concerned that even just doing Pisa was going to be a struggle but, at least he had time before breakfast to sit and watch the boat park, the strings get tied and the gang plank being deployed. Podge was not going to let Tubbs down: Even though the last time they missed Pisa was because Tubbs had been ill (a mix of lager, ice cream and heat was the cause that time), Podge was determined to make the visit. It did help however that he had an absolutely splendid fisheye lens to try out. And so, Podge readied his camera bag before, carefully, waking The Duchess with her morning Earl Grey.

Podge craves a selfie stick

Earlier in the cruise, Podge and Tubbs joined the new latest craze and took their first selfie and they looked upon the results and thought ‘not bad but could be better’. “What we need” said Podge, “is a selfie stick”. Tubbs just looked at Podge with that sort of ‘buy one if you really wish, and [dare] to’. type look. Podge parked the idea but vowed to return to it later when her guard was dropped.

As luck would have it, when they reached Pisa and were about to get off the bus Podge espied a number of eager traders rushing to the bus to offer all the opportunity to purchase some local souvenirs, these being Ray-Ban sunglasses, Prada handbags, Rolex watches and yes, even selfie sticks. ‘Perfect’ thought Podge, ‘I can get one now while The Duchess is happy and content’, he mused. At this very moment, the tour guide on the bus advised that these sellers were illegal sellers and surprise, surprise, their wares were counterfeit. She also iterated that if the authorities catch anybody buying anything from them, the buyer could, although unlikely, be fined up to €1000. Podge, being averse to risk decided he didn’t want a selfie stick after all.

Pisa at last

After leaving the bus and avoiding the sellers with a polite but firm ‘No, Grazie’ or possibly ‘go away’ or words to that effect, Podge and Tubbs made their way through the street markets, Tubbs did well to avoid all, after which they finally made it to ‘The Square of Miracles, and of course The Duomo (Cathedral), The Baptistery (also leaning but not much), and the Bell Tower (The Leaning Tower of Pisa). Podge and Tubbs were so pleased with themselves. Podge was pleased for Tubbs and Tubbs was pleased that Podge made it :-).

With only one hour, which was more than enough for Podge who’s breathing was once more a struggle they, as quickly as they could, made their way around the building taking photos as all tourists do, badly. Podge tried to make up for his artistic inadequacies by using his special fisheye lens but all equipment has its limitations. 😦

They considered the opportunity to climb the Bell Tower for a view from the top but the sign at the door advised against it for anyone with respiratory or cardio problems; so that ruled Podge out and Tubs didn’t want to leave Podge on his own so they gave that a miss. They did however opt to climb the steps inside the Baptistery  to get a view from the top of there. This was both a good idea, at least they were able to see inside from on high but also a bad idea as Podge needed to stop three times and then sit down for 10 minutes waiting for his breath to re-find itself – Poor Podge. Eventually it did, Podge took his photos and then together they went down the [Exit]. Now, the stairs up and down are similar to those in a lighthouse, following the wall of the structure made of stone but, with no handrails but wall either side. So, the climb up and down was interesting. Imagine then what it was like when part way down the [Exit] route a party of French (who else) school children decided it would be fun to come up that way instead. Podge wasn’t happy: Podge inflated himself to make himself bigger to make it difficult for them to get by but had to concede and simply stand to one side (slightly) and let the little perishers by, all 40+ of them. Podge was grumpy.

Eventually, and not before time, they all had to depart The Square of Miracles and set course back to the Oceana where both Podge and Tubbs would deposit everything they could in their cabin and make their way to the poolside bar for a well earned glass (or two) of Pinot.

Both were very happy. They had conquered Pisa. They had done well.

After drinks, came dinner, after dinner came drinks, after drinks came an early night, i.e, they went to bed the same day they got up. Podge was done in. The day had taken its toll. The next day was to be a day of doing nothing except watch passengers disembark at the end of their cruise. This was good because Podge needed a rest.

Poor Podge.

PS: – His Podgeness has since purchased a selfie stick from Amazon – Tubbs has yet to find out


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