When you’re a backpacker you’re constantly in search of free entertainment.
People watching has become mine.
I’m a particular fan of watching couples take sexy photos of each other – like sexy photo in front of a Roman ruin, or sexy photo in your bikini perched precariously on a rock at the beach.
But people watching at the Leaning Tower of Pisa is my new favourite.
In saying that, you can’t come to Pisa and not get a cheesy photo.
As for the tower itself, it really is a shocking sight.
And for some weird reason, perhaps it’s an optical allusion, I swear nothing around the Leaning Tower is at 90 degrees either.
But what surprised me about it most, is that it’s surrounded by this amazing lawn which you’re not allowed to sit on.
Seriously, it’s the most famous tower in the world, attracting thousands of tourists every day and there’s nowhere to sit.
Like many other tourists I ignored the signs, jumped the low railing fence and sat on the grass anyway.
And it was very pleasant, until enough of us formed to attract the attention of angry whistle people who shooed us off.
We all just moved to another lawn, thus repeating the process.
I depart Pisa the next morning to spend a couple of days exploring the Cinque Terre – five tiny Italian fishing villages linked by a coastal walkway.
The disappointing thing about the Cinque Terre is that last year’s floods have wiped out two of the four walking tracks, so it’s pandemonium on the two that are open.
And I actually lived to regret walking from Monterosso to Vernazza – having to share a track only wide enough for single file with numerous people who thought they were climbing Everest with their walking poles, woman dressed like they’re going out for a fancy dinner, and the seemingly never ending lines of tour groups.
In the end I only stayed one night, thanks to my own lack of planning which saw me back in Pisa to catch a very expensive last minute flight to the Italian island of Sardinia for a friend’s birthday.
I have an afternoon to kill so I wander back to the Leaning Tower for some more people watching.
It’s there I discover dozens of other solo travellers trying unsuccessfully to take their own cheesy photos.
I’ve got nothing else to do so I decide to play photographer.
Here’s hoping they pay it forward because I always feel like a dick taking selfies and being me I hate asking for help.
But I guess that’s hardly surprising given my Plunket book records my first full sentence as – “I’ll do it myself.”