That is what Em called The Leaning Tower of Pisa, which we visited on Monday. Truth be told, this was one of those sights that I just wanted to “check off the list.” If the kids hadn’t wanted to go so badly, I probably would have skipped it. Given that the major sites are outside of the town of Pisa proper, I knew it would be loaded with nothing but tourists, which, even though I am one, is not my favorite way to travel. As with most things that we make an effort to do, however, I ended up being glad we made the trip.
The funny thing is, I think the kids were nearly as excited about being permitted to have a whole can
of Coke as they were to see the Tower. Jay is still talking about it. You can tell how often I give them soda. But this was a special case because after a two-hour train trip, a lunch that took longer than expected, a 20 minute wait on the curb for a bus and then a 15 minute bus ride in an non-air conditioned bus, they were tired, thirsty and crabby. The soda was the perfect pick-me-up.
We spent a couple of pleasant hours touring the sites and then retraced our steps to get back home. At first I didn’t think the kids got too much out of it, and I started wondering how much of an impression Italy is going to leave on them. Would they just remember the sea? Would it not feel as different or as foreign to them as being in Paris did for me the first time I went as a teenager? Then two things happened that surprised me. The first was Monday night, when we asked the kids what their favorite part of the trip to Pisa was.
Jay said, “My favorite part was the Duomo (cathedral).” Honestly that was the very last thing I expected him to say, but when I asked him why he said, “…because I loved that huge mosaic. It was amazing. I can’t believe they made that whole thing from tiny little stones.” Turns out he has very good taste. The mosaic was the last work executed by Cimabue before his death in 1302.
Then, during our stroll yesterday evening, Em said, “You know Mommy, the Leaning Tower has been making me think a lot about the mistakes I make with my art.” (I should interject here to give the context, which is that she had a fit on the train home yesterday because she thought her sketches were terrible.)
It turns out she had been reflecting on the fact that the reason the Tower is so famous is because it leans, which was the result of a mistake. “It’s most famous for its greatest failure,” she said. “You never know how a mistake might turn into something great.”
And that is where the phrase, “Out of the mouths of babes…” comes from.
Where, or from whom, have you received a piece of unexpected wisdom?Categories: Family, Italy, Travel · Tags: Family, Italy, Leaning Tower of Pisa, Pisa, Travel, Travel with Children, Tuscany