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2009-05-10
1980 in the Leaning Tower of Pisa


June 18, 1980: Night Train Fever. A name spoken into the void. The tilting tower of Pisa. VILION LASTELF -- The Story that Became A Name; The Name That Became A Story.

My mind is a grab bag, a sad slag, a golliwag.

The climb to the top of the Bell Tower (Campanile) of PIsa is interesting. On the stairs moving up the tilting side, it feels almost as if one is climbing down against gravity. Very odd. The view at the top is quite beautiful. Most of the buildings in (clean, quiet) Pisa have red roofs (rooves?) The wall of the old city is very much intact and winds through the new buildings like the shed skin of an ancient reptile. Nearby is a stadium, similar to the ruined amphitheaters of Pompeii. All is well. The sky is spotted with clouds of the cotton ball variety.

Last night's train ride was probably the strangest that we've encountered. We knew beforehand that it would be fairly crowded, so I was prepared to be depressed. When the train arrived, we rushed into the first second class car in sight -- it was full. So we got off, and I was thinking the whole time that the train would pull out as we walked to the next car and we would be chasing it with our heavy luggage because we wanted to get out of Naples. We got on another car; it was a sleeper. We moved down the aisle to the next car; it was a sleeper too. The conductor in that car shooed us back to the other. Lonnie decided to go exercise his first class capabilities. I was angry. The conductor in the other sleeper shooed us on. I was really angry, not because of the conductor, but because things were rather a mess. Here we were dragging our luggage through narrow passages, crushing people who didn't move, not finding any rooms, being shooed on by conductors, sleepy and knowing there were six hours to go. We found a car to stand in. Lonnie came back because he couldn't find a first class seat. Of course, the conductor found seats for Mom, LaVelle and me in this car, and I got the most comfortable situation (as it turned out). I still only got about four hours of sleep.

In the half light of the compartment I thought: I speak a name into the empty darkness and it grows. But where did I get the name and why does it grow?

Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
kalimac
May. 31st, 2014 06:52 pm (UTC)
I believe it's no longer allowed to climb the Leaning Tower. Too risky, apparently.
randy_byers
May. 31st, 2014 07:17 pm (UTC)
When I was thinking back on it today, I was a little surprised that they let us climb it even then, not for the risk so much as for the wear and tear on the building. But on that trip I also got to touch the stones at Stonehenge and sit on sections of column at the Acropolis, neither of which is allowed any more.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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