beachToday's destination - the Mediterranean!  Part of the reason we stayed in Pisa for an extra night was because of it's proximity to the water.  We knew the sights of the city could easily be seen in a single day and had previously set this day aside for the beach.  The weather was extremely cooperative and as soon as we finished our (awesome) complimentary breakfast we hopped in the car and headed a half hour west.  The street running parallel to the water felt like so many other beach towns we've experienced - whether they're in California or Belgium.  Lots of little shops hawking beach toys, cheap sunglasses and ice cream, and the delightful salty smell of the sea.

We discovered that most of the Italian coast is privately owned - you can't actually just walk to the water and set up a towel.  The beach is divided into little slices of cabana and umbrella filled sections 'owned' by a specific business.  You rent some space and then have access to their change rooms, bathrooms and restaurant.  We actually quite enjoyed it and didn’t mind paying for our own cabana, although if you were there for a week I suppose it would get pricey.  As we only had one day it felt pretty nice to have our own space and the kids loved being able to go and order iced tea and popsicles from our own 'private' restaurant.  With the cabana we had two very comfortable hammock style chairs, one upright chair, a small table, a completely flat bed and a fancy lounge chair with an extra piece that you could put up to shade your head.  I wish I would've taken a picture of it because the design was genius.  The seating arrangements were plentiful beach2especially since the kids spent most of the time sitting in the sand.  The water was gorgeous and very, very warm - seriously warm, I even swam in it!  The setting was spectacular and there were actually snow capped mountains in the background which felt crazy as the temperature was around 35C.  We spent a solid 5 hours on the beach and felt very warm and sun-kissed by the end; we all had a tinge of pink but nothing too major considering how long we were there for.  I must admit that my front is pinker than my back as I completely forgot to get off of my comfy chair and let the other half of my body get some sun.  Oops.

We got back to the hotel and showered the salt and sand off then walked the streets looking for a nice place for dinner.  I feel almost blasphemous admitting this but I'm getting a little tired of pizza and pasta.  Shut up, I know!  The trattoria we found had some beautiful fish on the menu but we had a lot of seafood at lunch and I didn't feel like it again for dinner.  Julia must've felt the same as I did about the pasta because we both ordered a salad for dinner.  I added on a vegetable soup which was surprisingly good - it felt weird ordering soup because it was still so hot out but it was just what the vegetable doctor ordered tonight.  On the way home we hit a gelateria then stopped on a bridge over the Arno where we spent a few minutes just enjoying the breeze and the calm and beautiful sight of Pisa by moonlight.

The girls are exhausted but Mom and Dad are still pretty awake - blame it on the espresso after dinner?  My feet are tired but my brain isn't… thank goodness for wi-fi and a good book on my nightstand.  Tomorrow we head northeast to Verona and another leg of our adventure…


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