Biggsy Travels

unique travel experiences

Month: June 2017

You can go up the Leaning Tower of Pisa?

For much of the 1990s I assumed you’ve couldn’t go up the Leaning Tower of Pisa … because you couldn’t go up the Leaning Tower of Pisa! It’s only now after a recent trip there that I realise it was just closed between 1990 and 2001 for maintenance work in an attempt to reduce its lean, which at the time was 5.5°. So now, 14 years after the works’ completion the lean is a far less “leany” 3.97° and since December 2001 tourists have once again been able to climb up it. And you can climb up it too!

Staring up to the top of the Leaning Tower of Pisa

Staring up to the top of the Leaning Tower of Pisa

We visited Pisa’s Piazza del Miracoli in May while enroute to Florence so we could tackle Pisa’s tower, check out the Cathedral, and behold the beautiful Bapistry. Many friends had advised us to only spend half a day in Pisa and not stay overnight there. However due to our flight times from Luton it was easier to stay for 24 hours; the late afternoon on arrival to have a “wander around” amongst all the day-trippers, the evening to have a nice meal and savour the tower in relative peace and quiet, and then the following morning to actually climb up it.

We bought our tower tickets for €18 each from the official site at http://www.opapisa.it/en/tickets/buy/ which releases them 20 days in advance. This gave us a far better time selection throughout the day compared to sites like http://www.towerofpisa.org/tickets/ who additionally add on a cheeky €10 booking fee! Our €18 choice included entry to the Cathedral too. Continue reading

Sunset and starburst photography in Menorca

I was both surprised and honoured to be invited on a press trip to Menorca recently, courtesy of the guys at Traverse, allowing me to experience both Jet2 to get there and Turismo Menorca when I was there! I’ve been to both its sister islands of Mallorca and Ibiza for your more typical “lads/group” beach holidays so until now Menorca had been overlooked. I won’t be making that same mistake again.

Starburst under an arch at Cova d'en Zoroi

Starburst shot under an arch at the Cova d’en Zoroi cave bar

Our group was provided with a jam-packed itinerary for the week ranging from kayaking, to gin tasting, to boat riding, to cheese tasting … even driving Nissan electric cars around the island. Menorca was declared a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in 1993 so the island is seeking to further promote its tourism with an emphasis on sustainability.

What struck me most however was the ever present sunshine and stunning sunsets. Menorca is the most eastern of the Balearic Islands so you get to see the sunset before anywhere else in Spain so I wanted to share my favourite “sunshine” photos of the trip! Plus add some beginners’ top tips on how you can achieve beautiful starburst shots and sunset images too! The camera I used for the images below is a Fuji X-T10, which has been recently superceded by the new Fuji X-T20 which you can read more about on Amazon.

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