Sunday, October 16, 2005

Siena

A thing to note before going anywhere: check to see if there is, on the day one is planning to arrive, either (a) a football (soccer for you NA types) match on or (b) a beer festival complete with concert that starts at 2130 and finishes at 0130. Or Both.

Welcome to Siena and our lovely accommodation in an albergo run by nuns (curfew is 2330 and fat lot of good that is when one can't sleep b/c the band is ROCKing Il Campo and our windows and eardrums - thank you RSteves for the earplugs - you are a fine tour leader!) and a view that most people would pay 150E/night. We opened the shutters to find, to our R, across the ravine, the Duomo with its campanile; to the centre, the tower of Il Campo; and to the L, Il Torre. Three of the four major landmarks are in the view I see when I sit at the lift-top desk to write. Last night was an almost full moon which rose between the two towers. I am coming back here for sure even though I am staying 4 nights this time!!

Today is Sunday (domenica) and the town is crawling with people although not a lot of shops are open. This seems to be a destination for Italians as well as the rest of us! Gill did not have a good night (no RS earplugs and a bad case of grizzleguts) so we were up and out by 0900. Things on guide book maps look a long way away and before we knew it, we had arrived at Il Campo which, other than the preponderance of cigarette butts between the bricks, showed no sign of last night's concert. Clean as the proverbial whistle. No matter what I read about the sloped court, I was entirely unprepared for how sloped it is. I am glad it wasn't raining as there would have been a sheet of water aiming for the drains at the bottom, I guess. The piazza is very wide unless one starts to think about Il Palio which is a mad horse race held in July and again in August around the edge of this place in which case, it seems to shrink a whole bunch!! We wandered about in the early quiet and then headed back to the bar (settle down, everyone uses the bar like a cafe and the cafe like a bar. Go figure) just up the street from the albergo for coffee. By the time I had negotiated coffee, the newspaper and part of its crossword puzzle (in ink - living dangerously!!), it was 1230h. Time for more walking, some fruit, and, oh glory, an I/N cafe.

There will be a c&p of Gerry's most recent email - he is enjoying Egypt, especially now he has figured out the oil leak. Next trick for both of us seems to be laundry as our jeans are needing it although his sound worse than mine!!

Something I don't think I told you before: in Italy, all the bridges and tunnels (and there are a lot as they believe in making roads in the Roman fashion, i.e., level) have names and distances. The longest so far was a tunnel between Levanto and the French border which was 1947m long (I think) and whose name I have forgotten but was probably San or Santa Someone. Nice to know that the saints are part of the road system, eh? And the other thing: do you think that Mercedes Benz tests the suspension of its cars to include parking them two wheels up on the 45cm curb? Curious minds are wondering.

Tonight it is dinner (with reservations no less) in a trattoria which is in both our guide books but which still was recommended by the locals we asked and the back was filled with locals last night so we went to their suggested spot which was very nice although one group came in very noisily after the football and then completely disappeared from sight and sound down a staircase followed shortly thereafter by the waiter with industrial numbers of plates of food for them. We had pasta with a green salad. Meat sauce for G, scallions, bread cubes (?), and asiago for moi. We have tried panaforte. Think Christmas cake without the cake. Think Ultimate Energy Food. Think "TedR: you could ski, swim, walk on this stuff for a week." Think I'll stick to wine for my extra calories!!

Take care of all yourselves. Bravo, Junior Boy, on the job. Hope your kitchen is a/c!!

Arrivederci e a domani.

Giovanna (that's me in Italian!!)

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