Monday, August 10, 2009

A Trip to Tuscany

I'm sitting on the train heading to Rome. We spent the last two days (one night) in Siena. We stayed at a nice hotel - it was our most expensive hotel on the trip - but our Florence hotel room was just as nice - but the hotels are a little pricier in Siena.

When we arrived - I told mom we are talking a cab. She seemed puzzled - because we had hoofed it everywhere else. But this is a one city that I embraced a cab in - why? It's a mile and a half from the train station to the city. And did I mention it's all uphill. Now for the most part uphill isn't necessarily a bad thing - but with all of our luggage in 95 degree heat it isn't my cup of tea. Bruce and I did it in 2002 in October and I remember thinking them that it sucked - it would only be worse with it was summer.

When we arrived in Siena it was hot and we had spent our last day in Florence taking in art - the Uffizi and the Academia. So we had been on our feet all day. Our hotel was nice - the air conditioning was a little screwy, but the view as amazing. I guess that's what you get when you are in a walled city at the top of the hill. At the hotel - I turned on the TV while my mom was in the shower and after watching approximately 15 minutes of a race through the Italian Alps (that's running - not cars or scooters) I switched to the first English speaking channel - sky cinema (pronounced Chin-EE-ma.) And of course the movie was what I consider an after school special, starring Jennie Garth (90210) - a girl from desperate housewives and the female detective from Law & Order who has been on the original show forever. The show was about HIV. Jennie Garth is high school substitute teacher who is HIV positive. And a former high school sports icon commits suicide in college only and his brother discovers he had HIV. The desperate housewives girl gets wind and oh know it's revealed she slept with him - just once. Anyways you get the picture - but we were sucked in. Which was good because we weren't feeling the pressure to leave our hotel room in the heat of the day.

When we did venture out - I was starving. We went to a restaurant suggested by our hotel. It was raining - so they moved us into a little - putting us very close to a group of four young Italian men - so close we were practically sitting at the same table. After a while they asked if they could borrow our vinegar and oil - which then led to my mom breaking out 10 of her 45 Italian words. This trick, though somewhat painful to watch (for me at least) seems to amuse all Italians. Which then led to a wonderful conversation with Lorenzo, Stefano, Francesco, Giacomo. Only one had been to the states before - they were college friends from Milan visiting Giacomo who worked for a pharmaceutical company in Siena. They were very nice and made dinner much more interesting. Also splitting a bottle of Chianti with my mom makes dinner interesting too.

On Sunday, we woke up to have a excellent breakfast in the garden. Then we went to mass that Duomo in Siena. It was nice and lasted about 50 minutes. The church was beautiful - and since the sermon was in Italian - I wasn't expected to pay attention - which gave me free rain to look around. However, after mass you couldn't take pictures - we were told to leave immediately so that we could pay our 6 Euros to take more photos.

Instead we climbed up to the Panorama and took pictures of the outside. We left Siena at 2 pm and headed for Rome on the train. We had to switch trains in Chiusi and we were a little nervous because our train from Siena was last - but the good news was the train we were taking from Chiusi to Rome was also late.

[Clearly I am finishing this in my hotel becasue I had to get off the train.]

When we finally got to Rome our instructions said take bus H to our hotel - well that was the next interesting experience. We waited patiently with about 20 people for Bus H for nearly 20 minutes. When it arrived it didn't pull into the right spot. So we went over to the bus and it was filled to the brim, which didn't stop my mom and I and the rest of the people at the bus stop from pilling on. We had our tickets - but couldn't get them stamped because we couldn't even reach the machine. My mom made some friends with her Italian words in the back - they even taught her a new one - a swear word. We had to split up because of our suitcases - I on the other hand was wedged between two cranky women and two men. I don't think I have ever been gropped so much in my life. Needless to say, when we both emerged at the correct stop with luggage, handbags, wallets and money, we were happy.

We got to our hotel to find that no one was there. The hotel is owned by a young couple and there is no weekend evening staff. I had emailed them our arrival, but I accidentally had the time wrong. I thought we were leaving later from Chiusi - but didn't have email access when to correct my mistake. The good news is that Bruce came to the rescue. I was able to call him, he was able to log into my email and get me the number they left me. Thank you technology!

Our hotel here in Rome is the nicest room yet. The people are very friendly and there is free wifi. I find it ironic, the more you pay for a hotel - the more the rest of the stuff costs too! Shouldn't it be included? I guess it's the same in the states - stay at the HoJo - free wifi, the Hilton charges you $15 a day.

Sent from my iPhone

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