Thursday, April 4, 1996 Siena, Italy
What a night! It must be the noisiest room yet! They partied most of the night and the street is very narrow so that the sound echoes off the walls. About 6 am there was a street sweeper machine! Each of us thought that the others were sleeping through the noise it was making! But, you can’t beat the atmosphere and the convenience of being so close to the center of the city! We decided to all use ear plugs and spend the second night. Jim went scouting and found breakfast rolls, we made hot chocolate and coffee. Voile….breakfast was done! Off to town to tour the area. We found the young girl who gave us directions to the hotel. She is from Connecticut and living here now. Said she was making ends meet by working for the lady who owned the booth.
We walked all over the center and visited the main Cathedral “The Dommo” . We were about to leave when Jim had us come back in…there was a tour group of a male German choir and they were singing. It was really beautiful. The echo seems to enhance the sound. Then we went down to the Baptistery which is under the church to support it as it is built on a hill top. By the time Jim finished his tour of that, we were ready for lunch. Checked out several places and ended up going back to last nights restaurant for pizza and coke. Barbara wrote post cards during lunch to mail. She’s very good at writing and sending postcards. Then we went back to the room to get film as Jim and I were going to climb to the top of the tower at the city hall. Barbara decided to stay down and visit the shops. But, the tower was closed for repairs, so no hike to the top! And Jim had made his second trip to the car today…quite an ordeal…for film for his camera. So we found Barbara and continued to walk around the town.
Barbara thought we should check into a bus tour around the town. We went to the information place and she was told where to go to catch the “blue bus” which would take us to another town about twenty minutes away. We walked into an entirely different part of town and finally found the blue bus tour. On the way we accidentally found the best view (according to the tour books) of the Dommo and took photos. But, it was getting late, it looked like rain and it was getting colder. So we decided to not go on the tour but check out the new church in this plaza. It was stunning. Another beautiful church….this one was Dominican and dedicated to St. Catherine. Has the only portrait done of her while she was alive. Barbara lit a candle with a prayer that we find our hotel in Rome tomorrow without too much trouble.
(There is a group of people going into the bar singing Jingle Bells at the top of their lungs as this is being written. We may be in for another night! Well back to the story)J We went to several shops on our way home and found our four favorite flags from the yearly races that Siena is famous for and Barbara got her pitcher and salad tongs. Went home and rested for about an hour until dinner time. On the way to dinner we were walking by a building we’d seen this afternoon. It looked like an old church converted to a warehouse and there were shops on the street level. The windows were all bricked in on the upper levels. We decided to follow the people walking in. They were in the midst of an evening mass and it was a beautiful church. Another extremely large one with no windows except for one over the front altar. We stayed for a few minutes listening to the music and then went on to dinner at a restaurant that Jim had found this morning and we’d approved of during our walk this afternoon. Excellent food. We really enjoyed the meal.
There was a young girl who’d gone to Brown University in USA who explained the menu to us. She also brought us some “medieval bread” which was very good. Had a licorice taste and was still warm. Very good. Did a lot of reminiscing about Mother Miriam and other fun times over wine with our dinner. Raced home the fastest way as Barbara and I both needed to use the WC. When we arrived, Jim got the key and went running up the stairs to get the door open…Barbara rang for the elevator and the hotel man came out and said it was broken. We walked up the two flights and just then the elevator started…Barbara was more than a little upset and said “that son of a …….”! I was laughing so hard I almost………….! Back in the room I called home for an update on the business news. We all took a dose of vitamin C as Barbara is coughing, I am sneezing and Jim has a tickle in his throat. Off to Rome tomorrow.