Monday, September 30, 2013

Our Last Day in Siena

The storms continued through the night with the worst one about 3 pm which rattled the windows and shook us awake with its intensity!   But we were soon back asleep and actually didn’t wake until 8 am so we made up for the lost hour during the night! 
Mary and I headed out the door, prepared for rain, about 9 am.  Off to find the bus that would take us across town to the train station so that we could purchase our train tickets for the next week.  We accomplished that pretty easily with the help of directions from our Rick Steves book.  After booking tickets for the trip tomorrow to Cortona; we also booked the tickets to Assisi; to Rome; and to Naples.  After our week in Sorrento where we hook back up with Bonnie and Jane who will be spending the next week in Sorrento in a hotel; we will all move into an apartment for a week before heading to Rome for our final week.
That accomplished we starting looking for the bus back into the old center of town.  We were finally given directions to go into the very modern shopping center across the street and follow the directions.  We entered and immediately saw a large electronic store; we stopped to check on a cheap Italian cell phone and ended up purchasing a Nokia basic phone.  Then off to the TIM cell phone shop to purchase a sim card with time on it.  That done we were told it would not activate for two hours.  It’s now twelve hours later and it is still not active!   Two trips back to a nearby TIM shop who said to give it more time and or go back to the shop where we purchased the card.  We’ll do that tomorrow morning when we go early to the train if it is not working by then!  Electronics:  wonderful when they work but very aggravating when they don’t!
Back to the day’s journey we did finally find the bus stop after many stops for directions in sign language!   Back in the center we went to the apartment and found that everyone was up and they were ready to start the day.  We decided to split up and meet back at the apartment by 7 pm for dinner.
Mary and I headed for the San Francesco church; about a ten minute walk.  They had closed for lunch just as we arrived; closed from noon to 3:30 pm.  So we didn’t get to see the inside of the church but we saw activity in the cloister area and walked in.  The families were gathered around the teenagers who had just been confirmed and they were wearing green leaf crowns on their heads with red ribbon braided in the wreath.   A serendipity moment that made our walk worthwhile.
We then walked back; stopping for an ice cream cone on the way, and continued to the Il Campo where we walked completely around the edge of the center following the area that is covered with dirt for the race track during the twice yearly Palio Race.  From the far side you can see the top of the Duomo.   The City Hall tower was enticing but we decided not to climb the three hundred plus steps for the view and use that energy when we are in Rome to climb to the top of St. Peters.  Enjoyed the interior of the city hall but also passed on the Museum.  We later discovered that Jane did make the climb and took some wonderful photos.  Bonnie did the Museum during that time.
We stopped by the Laundromat which Jim and I used on our past visits and then decided to stop for a grand Cappuccino at one of the little tables under the awnings with views of the center of the Il Campo.   There were tons of people all over the brick center until it suddenly started to rain!   The area cleared immediately and the umbrellas came out.  The rain had arrived and lasted on and off all day; but only rain without the effects of thunder and lightning.  
Back to the apartment for early packing in preparation for our move tomorrow.  A short trip to the grocery store for supplies and a trip out to find help for the new cell phone.  I did manage to find someone who switched the language to English…that was a big help…but still no activation! 
Bonnie and Jane arrived during a downpour and we were soon on our way to dinner.  They selected a wonderful little restaurant in the St. Catherine S. Domenico Piazza.  We enjoyed our meal and slowly walked home to finish our packing.  It’s been a long day and my night prayer will be for activation of the new cell phone by morning.  I don’t want to deal with another Italian on this issue!!
We will not have ready access to wifi in Cortona so I’m not sure when my next post will be…maybe tomorrow and maybe on Wednesday.  Hope you enjoy the slideshow: 

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