Sunday, September 29, 2013

Rain, Rain Go Away…Jane wants to play

Our morning began early as Mary and I crept out the door at 7:00 am to walk the short distance to Saint Catherine San Dominica Basilica.   We were prepared for rain but so far the streets were dry.   We caught the last minutes before dawn with our cameras before entering the church.  There we wandered in the vast empty hall that was devoid of chairs or benches except at the far end near the main altar. 
We first visited the relics of St. Catherine:  a mummified thumb and then her head which has been enshrined in this church since 1383.   I took an up close photo but I don’t think you really want to see it as parts of her face are missing.  The head is not mummified.  Until I saw the photo I didn’t realize the actual condition as you are viewing it from a distance.  She died in 1380 and three years later the head was removed and taken to Siena as a relic for the place where she spent her life.  She is known as St. Catherine of Siena. 
Mass began at 7:30 am and was over by 8:30 am.  We walked around the church to see the seventeen flags of the various Contrade Neighborhoods and then walked back towards our apartment.  But, instead of turning left at the corner we turned right and went to see the area where the party was held last night; and continued until after 2 am.  It’s a large area near springs that are the oldest in Siena.  I’ve photos of the area and the springs in the slideshow.  Soon we were trying to get up behind the springs as Mary was sure that was the brick wall where she and her husband had taken photos on their visit in 2005.
Suddenly she said, “Look…there;s spaghetti spilled here; just as she put her foot into it!”   Suddenly there was a very strong odor and we knew is might have been spaghetti but was the result of too much wine and someone had lost it!    Back to the springs to wash Mary’s shoes!
We then continued back up past the church and on past the area for the tourist buses to park.   Yes, even with vicious storms expected today the buses were exploding with hundreds of people descending on the city for the day!    It was already beginning to sprinkle off and on lightly. 
We decided that the top of the Fortezza Medicea was where they’d taken their photos in 2005.  So on we trudged under the tall walls looking and looking for a way up to the top.  We were two-thirds of the way around before we found the entrance; but we did and were successful in achieving our goal.  We had fantastic views of the countryside and the city; including all three major sites in one photo!
Walked all the way back to the apartment and still arrived before 10:30 am as the girls were just beginning to start their day!   Minutes after we entered the apartment the thunder and lightning began and the rain began to pour in sheets so heavy that it covered the entire street and became rivers coursing down through the town.   
At one point we even had hail.  We saw one woman slip and fall as she walked over a metal grille in the street; it was dangerous territory  out there and we stayed safely inside of our little haven watching through the windows as the tourists hung on to their umbrellas that were turning inside out in the wind and rain.  Our shutters blew shut and rain blew in our open windows until we battened down the hatches but we were basically safe and dry!
We had rain for the best part of the day and about 3 pm we started to realize that the cupboards were rather bare and dinner was going to be slim to none.   It stopped raining for short stretches and I thought that I could get out and back between two storms.   I put on short pants with my sandals, a plastic poncho over my coat and carried my umbrella. 
Out I ventured and made the short trip up to the main street at the top of our hill; there I found a pizza store that was closing in half an hour.   I’d originally thought of going to see the Baptistery before getting food but changed my mind and got enough pizza for our dinner.  Then across the street for some dessert and a bottle of wine before heading back down the hill on the slippery stone street.  It was starting to rain again and I was ready to go home!
We enjoyed our dinner and then the skies cleared and it looked good outside.   More people were venturing out so Jane and I dressed for rain and headed out to the area of the Fort where Mary and I’d gotten such good photos early this morning.  We had a great time sloshing through the mud and huge rain puddles before we arrived for some wonderful photos for Jane.  Then on the way back we checked the grocery store and were amazed when we found it open on a Sunday!   Usually all stores are closed from Saturday noon until Monday.  Times are changing! 
Home again, with chestnuts that Jane picked up on our journey; she said that English schoolboys would love to have found the thousands of them that the rain had knocked out of the trees today!    Arrived safely before the next storm arrived.  We enjoyed our dessert and then played several rounds of hearts before finishing up our computer work and calls home.
Hope you enjoy the slideshow: 

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