Rishi Sankar: Ah Trini Travelogue

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Tuesday Morning – Overrated!!! Leaning Tower of Pisa

Posted by Rishiray on March 9, 2013


So you’re in Italy and almost everyone who has gone to Italy, has been asked about the following things

  • Is Pizza in Italy, THAT good?
  • How is the Pope doing … did you see him, while you were in Rome?
  • Were there gladiators at the Colisseo?
  • Does the Leaning Tower of Pisa actually lean that much?

For me, it is such an hyped tourist destination, and when you get there, all you think was “I thought I was better than that”.  What’s funny, is that the thing is an epic fail of engineering and who really needs to see an engineering disaster?

After you’ve taken the obligatory photos “pushing over” the tower (and accidentally photo-bombed the background of many strangers’ photos), there’s not much to do here except be hounded by the many hawkers who patrol the area. The bad part of this, is that it’s a long journey, especially if you’re coming all the way from Rome, just to see that the tower does, in fact, live up to its name.

For all the reading I’ve done and movies I’ve seen, I think it’s reasonable to imagine that my expectations were higher than normal. Which is probably one of the main reasons that when you get there, it shocks you a bit. The road we drove into the city was nothing more than a scruffy side street, along the side of which was an army camp of some sort, surrounded by a tall, gangly barbed-wire fence.  You’ll be faced with tons of people doing their pictures and tons of hawkers trying to peddle useless crap.

Here is the terrible part of the entire adventure – everyone who knows you went to Italy will ask about it, and if you don’t go, then you’ll feel like you missed out something. So come and take your picture doing the following, but know that you’ll feel a bit empty about it inside your soul.

Since you’re going to go see the tower, also make some time to see The Duomo di Pisa, a Romanesque cathedral full of artwork, will give you something else to do besides stare at the tower, waiting for it to tip over. I would also focus on the architectural beauty rather than taking the same cliche picture. Do enjoy the climb, which is not so much about seeing the view at the top but about noticing the awkward feeling of climbing up a leaning structure. And definitely visit Pisa as a day trip from Florence, rather than basing yourself in Pisa.

As for other leaning attractions, if you’re passing through Germany, then I would also suggest that you visit the Leaning Tower of Suurhusen. It is less than half the height of the Leaning Tower of Pisa and lacks its ornate and flamboyant beauty.  Yet this leaning tower, located in the tiny North German hamlet of Suurhusen has now entered the Guinness Book of Records.  It is officially the building with the biggest unintentional lean in the world. (I’ve taken this text directly from the Art and Science Blog)

surhussen

The church was originally built in the middle ages and the land then was very swampy.  To ensure that the church tower stayed erect it was built on a foundation of oak tree logs which ensured it stayed upright for a number of centuries.  Unfortunately the land around the church was drained in the eighteenth century and the tower began its inexorable lean towards the ground.

surhussen1

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