After visiting the Leaning Tower of Pisa, and after an afternoon nap, we then headed to Carrara which is about 45 min north of Pisa.
This looks like a snow covered mountain, but don't be deceived. They call it the marble mountain--that's marble you see, not snow.
There are marble caves everywhere and we decided to stop at one that said it had a tour. It was just a guy who gave us a tour of his own quarry. It cost us 10 euro for the family, and we got a personal tour and it was so neat!! His family has had that quarry for almost 1000 yrs (although my memory has faded, so I might be off a little). He told us all about the history of that area and it's marble, how they used to cut marble, and how they do it now. We learned that the scrap (pieces with flaws that cause cracks) are used for building dams and levees and the pebbles are used to making roads. Only in Italy would they use marble to make roads!
Here is A hiding between two marble slabs. Our tour guide was amazing and let the kids run nearly wild. He showed them tadpoles and salamanders on his property. Also, since his marble has grey steaks in it, and not the pure white, he only gets 150 euro per ton. I wish we could get marble that cheap.
Here is I playing on the bulldozer. The boys really did run nearly wild.
This is one of the holes they used back in the day when they had to slide the slabs of marble down the mountain to where ox and cart could pick it up.
So this was actually the funnest part of our whole weekend. We all LOVED this tour. Plus, he told us anything we can carry out, we could keep. So we picked up quite a few chunks of marble. I have no idea what we are going to do with them, but we couldn't resist an offer like that. Next time we'll go with a few strong men and haul out some bigger pieces!
Monday, May 26, 2008
On Memorial Day, we decided to take a day trip to Trieste and visit Miramare Castle. It was a perfect day to be outside since it wasn't too hot. The castle isn't very big itself, but it's surrounded by a huge park that we enjoyed wandering through. Here are a few picturess from the day.
Part of the extensive gardens. We had I and A choose which path (since there are several that wind and cross all throughout the park) we would follow until we got to the other side of the park and realized we needed to use the map to find our way back.
As you can see, the castle is built right on the edge of the water. It's a lot farther of a drop than it looks in the picture.