Friday, September 27, 2013

Moving from Paris to Siena...two days

Today I’m posting two days with two slideshows:

September 26, 2013     Moving Day:  Paris to Italy
Up and packed, Bonnie, Jane and I headed back to Rue Mouffetard to walk once again down the fabled street of food shops; Jane had not seen it before.  Then off to the Metro and a trip back to Notre Dame with the intention of getting on the River Boat for a cruise of the Seine.  Nada…the ticket office is closed for the season and one must go out to the Eiffel Tower area to get on a boat.  We decided instead to enjoy a lunch at one of the restaurants in the quiet streets around Sainte Michel.  We found a nice one and enjoyed a delicious lunch of crepes full of spinach, ham, mushrooms and back in a layer of cheese.
Soon it was time to catch our bus back to the apartment.  There Mary had enjoyed a quiet morning reading her book.  Laura from the management company was there at 2:10 pm and checked us out of the apartment.
We walked over to the taxi stand two blocks away and found a cab that handled all of us and our luggage for the short trip to the Gare de Lyon.  Arrived about 3 pm and realized that we needed to be at the train station about 5:30 pm; but our train doesn’t actually leave until 7:14 pm.  Always something when one is traveling!   We discovered that with our ticket we can get into the “waiting room” that is on the warm side but has electrical outlets.  We have all of the luggage in here and have sent Bonnie and Jane out to walk the Promenade Plantee that starts near the Bastille and goes for several miles.   Jim and I walked this last spring and it’s beautiful.  Parts are on an elevated train line that has been discontinued, some go through parks and others sections walk past shops.   It’s a good way for them to spend the next several hours while Mary and I guard the luggage here at the station.  We’re being good guys but we also are using our computers and reading our books.
It’s going to be a long night; we leave at 7:14 pm and arrive in Florence about 7 am tomorrow morning.  Then we walk to the bus station and catch a bus for about an hour’s ride to Siena where we have an apartment rented for four nights.
Our train left Paris right on time.  It was a new experience for Bonnie and Jane and they were also good sports about taking the top bunks.  We were fortunate that all of our big luggage fit under the bottom bunk and we didn’t have to lift them up on the shelf high above the bunks.   We had purchased sandwiches before boarding and enjoyed our dinner together after we started rolling towards Italy.  After dinner we played Hearts, a fun card game and then soon it was time to make up our beds and go to sleep to the click clack of the train as we swerved around bends on our way over the mountains.Here is the first slideshow because of problems with the Internet you need to click or cut & paste this link:

September 27, 2013     Siena, Italy

We arrived about forty five minutes late and at the Campo Di Marte Station in Florence; not the main station.  Soon we’d found a bus that would take us to the main train station in Florence.   There we located the Blue Bus that would take us to Siena in just over an hour.  Settled in and dozed off and on during our journey.  I’d called the property manager from Florence and we had a 10:30 am appointment to meet her at the apartment.  We pulled into the bus station in Siena; the apartment was a ten minute walk from there.  We looked around and even with our maps could not determine which way to go.  There were no taxi stands but we saw a hotel across the street.  Walked in and they were very happy to call us a taxi.  He had us at the door of the apartment right on time at 10:30 am.
Marzia is the manager and owner of our apartment on the third floor.   She lived in this apartment for over ten years and has left a lot of personal things in the apartment to make it cozy for the visitors.  The Internet is edgy…it’s public and sometimes we have to stand by the window to make it work!   But then, most wifi in Italy is edgy I’ve found.   We love our little one bedroom apartment and will enjoy our few days here.   We have used the roll-away for Mary instead of her sleeping with me on the foldout couch.  She is the only one that has not caught the cold that started with Bonnie last week.
Soon we were out the door to explore our new city; we didn’t reach the corner before Jane remembered she didn’t have her glasses.  Back we went; oops we can’t get the front door open into the building.  Over and over we tried with both sets of keys.  Finally I called Marzia; she didn’t understand why they didn’t work.  Finally said she’d call someone who is usually home in the building to have them come out and help us.  Within minutes a lady came out the door next to ours?   When we tried to get her to come to our door she looked puzzled.   Suddenly we all realized; we’d been trying to open the wrong door.  A quick call back to Marzia to explain our mistake and we were on our way.
Siena is a maze of curving tiny stone canyons that are seldom flat; you are either walking up or down a hill where ever you go.   We got lost over and over but always found our way.  We visited the Duomo (the cathedral) and purchased tickets so that we can visit all of the aspects of this magnificent church over the next three days.   
Today we concentrated on seeing the inside of the main church.  We are very lucky that we’re visiting during the season when the inlaid marble paintings on the floor are uncovered.  Generally only happens during August and September.    I hope you enjoy the few photos in the slideshow. 
We spent some time at the Il Campo where I talked to the girls about my visit there for the Paulo that takes place twice a year; a famous horse race.   Then off to the grocery store for supplies and then Mary decided to eat at home while Bonnie, Jane and I headed back to the Il Campo for an early dinner.  They were blowing up small hot air balloons in the square during our dinner.
Home early we’ve lots to see in the next three days….hope you enjoy the slideshows:  Click or cut & Paste this link:

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