Tuesday, July 26, 2011


Wednesday April 3, 1996 Siena, Italy

Up about 8 am, Jim went down to breakfast early and then for a walk. Barbara and I packed and did other things and then went to breakfast. It’s raining harder than any day we’ve had so far on our trip. Glad we did our walking yesterday. Jim ran to get the water bus tickets. Then we checked out, and with luggage in tow headed for the water bus. Thankfully only over one bridge. Jim told them we only had very small bags so he didn’t charge us for them. Got absolutely soaked getting to the water bus. Fortunately I had cut holes in a plastic bag and put it over the computer.

It's a long trip on bus #l which stops at each of the ports along the Grand Canal. Slow, but a great way to get a good feel of the city. I was daydreaming about business in California when Barbara gave up her seat to an older lady with lots of bags. Suddenly I turned around to say something to Barbara and was surprised that someone else was sitting there. Gave Barbara a good laugh with the stunned look on my face. The boat is so noisy when it goes in and out of the docks that we tried to get the sound on film on Jim’s camera….which I was holding; have no idea what we filmed while doing it. Jim stood the entire trip outside the cabin with his and Barbara’s luggage. By the time we reached the auto parking lot, he was soaked. But we did arrive, got a scare when people got off at the train stop…Jim thought that was our stop and by the time he got us out of the cabin we’d missed the stop. But, Barbara asked someone and she said it was the next stop. Pouring rain as we got off but we managed to get off and into the parking garage. Jim went up and got the car and we loaded it downstairs as we’d been parked on the roof.

Back to the Autostrassa, retraced our route to Florence and then went south towards Rome but got off at Siena. We’ll do laundry there and stay two days instead of going back north to Pisa and Lucca. We discovered information on Laundromats in the Italy book. Between Venice and the top of the mountains we had lots of rain and then at the top there was about three inches of snow, it dropped to almost zero. But after we went through the last tunnel the snow was completely gone! The rain stopped and we had semi nice weather. Stopped for WC and bought ice cream bars. Long day of driving, we had a long delay with an accident ahead of us. During that time a truck driver next to us turned off his motor. We caught him watching me as I typed on my computer in the front seat. He put on a big smile when I looked at him.

We went south past Florence to Arezzo where we left the Autostrassa and headed west across the Tuscany valley to Siena. Saw lots of medieval towns still in very good condition. It was a very long twisting two lane road. Years ago this was one of the main roads to Rome. Arrived in Siena about 4 pm….hesitatingly we drove in through the gate in the wall and found ourselves in very narrow and winding roads which were also very steep. It was very hard to tell whether or not we were even allowed on the street or what direction we were suppose to be going on it. Barbara and I were very glad that Jim was driving. We managed to get into the town square…which is pedestrians only….but got out quickly before the police spotted us. Finally found a space to park and left Barbara to guard the car.

Jim and I walked to the town square and then split up to search for the information shop that’d we’d seen a sign for. They gave us a local map and a book on hotels. By asking a second time, she marked two hotels that were nearby on the map. We actually located three; a 2-star, a 1-star and finally a 3-star. They had only one room left for three people…we took it! Found Barbara in the car less than half a block from the hotel. They have parking, down a very steep hill, but it doesn’t look too secure. We’ll see. The room is very large, twin beds and one cot; no extra plugs and tile floors. Very high ceilings but wonderful views down very narrow streets from our windows.

We took the laundry in bags and started for the town square. The map showed that the street for the Laundromat was in that area. We were delighted when we found it less than a block from the main square. We did our laundry finally, along with about eight young boys who were doing their own laundry. Then off to a little restaurant around the corner which turned out to be a wonderful dinner after we got over the language problems with placing our order. Jim had found it for us while we were doing the laundry. After dinner we trudged back up to the hotel and watched TV in Italian….no CNN.

So nice to have clean underwear and especially socks! We were all very low on these items.

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