I went to Pisa just for the day. Basically to check and see if the tower was still leaning. Yep, still leaning. I didnít think there was too much else to see. I had already been cathedraled out, and seen enough older buildings that I didnít feel up to searching out more, even though I had a pretty good map provided by the tourism office of Pisa. The tower is now held up by cables, so that it doesnít actually fall over. They've had those for about 5 years. Theres also weights on one side so that it might someday go back upright. It leans because the ground is soft on one side, and the base has sunk about 3 feet or so. I mean, this thing LEANS.

Next to the tower they had a large dome, which was more impressive from the outside than it was from the inside. However, you could climb the stairs to the top, which was now a favorite sport of mine. Find something tall, and climb it. And do it fast. Running by people panting. Giddyup. Well, there was a balcony that you could stop at half way down to look around inside the dome. I stopped there, and suddenly there was a guard downstairs clapping his hands as if to get attention. Everyone was quiet. He let out a loud chant of sorts, and it echoed for at least 6 to 8 seconds. Wow. Then he let out another one of a different pitch. Then he started doing that successively. As all the pitches echoed for about 8 seconds, it sounded like 5 or 6 people all singing. It was neat.

As I walked back through the city, I wondered what it would be like to live here. To grow up here. This was the only city I really wondered that about. Sure, I thought it would be neat to live in Paris, but this was the first time I really contemplated what it would be like. I picked a random house and envisioned myself coming home to it. I imagined the pace of life, and what I would do.

On the way home, I finished the book "The Alchemist", which I recommend for anyone who likes traveling, or is planning on traveling soon, or is looking for the meaning of life. Itís a short book, but I liked it a lot. It actually helped me decide a lot of things about my life. Well, more to the point, it helped me take the experiences of my trip, and turn THEM in to things which helped me decide some things. Read it, you'll like it. It doesnít so much change what you think, but helps you figure what you already know.

It was time to head back and gear up for New Years......