Friday, March 25, 2005

Spring Break '05 | Day 9

I had planned to leave early for Siena early in the morning. Since Shana did not have to go to work until noon I stuck around for an early spaghetti lunch and started on some laundry. Once I felt ready I strolled to the train station and found the next train out. Regional trains to Siena run at every quarter past the hour and they stop at all points until the final destination.

In Siena I first tried to buy my return tickets at the quick station but none of them would accept credit cards so I went up to the counter where I met a mother and daughter, traveling from Firenze to Siena on vacation, who were from none other than our neighbors in Minnesota.

From the station I set off on foot to the center of town. The path I took ran along the old city walls and with a little help, I found my way to the Palazzo Pubblico. Before entering the palazzo I made a brief stop at the Church of Santa Caterina. Upon entering the square of the palazzo I was impressed by the immense space and presence of the town hall. I spent some time looking around before tackling the Tower of the Palazzo Pubblico, which is said to be the second highest in Italy just slightly below the one in Florence. The climb was rather steep and had taken the breaths of many who had challenged it. From the top I could see the whole city and how all sections of town had come together at this remarkable center.

Getting down was fairly easy with gravity’s help. Leaving the palazzo I made my way over to the white and green marble Cathedral and Duomo of Siena. By now it was already past midday and I quickly explored the area. Before leaving I shopped around the small streets for some traditional Sienese pastries and found a favorite in ricciarelli, which had been made in Siena since the Crusades.

The train ride back was pleasant and I took a short nap. At Empoli Station everyone got off the train so I did as well. I would quickly find out that it was the end of the line for this particular Regional train. Fortunately, there were two trains heading to Firenze from this station, both running late. When the first one came it arrived on another platform so I ran quickly to catch it. In my haste, I made it to the train as the doors were just closing and I was able to jam my way in.

I arrived in Firenze by dinnertime and the plan was to go out for apperativo, a dining experience where one goes for a drink but stays for the food. We went to a place called Ristorante Angeli with a hip ambiance and a happening crowd. Many of the clientele were very good-looking people and some must work as models during the day. With one drink we had access to a delicious array of pasta and seafood. One pasta dish in particular was prepared with octopus and was simply amazing. With such beautiful people it was time again to try out my Italian pick-up lines. A little schmoozing got me the name of the waitress, Amy from Sweden, who was an acquaintance of one of Shana’s friends from school.

With dinner over we decided to swing by a bar. On route Shana ran into a man from Kosovo with a USA jacket and he kinda led us to an Irish pub. We didn’t stay long until I wanted to go home and rest. It began to rain that night as if to wash away the passing enjoyment of a week gone by.

Activity: 3 | Energy: 2 | Friends: 1

Spring Break '05 | Day 9


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