I had a nice long day in Siena today. It was absolutely beautiful and I love the city. Although, I can see how it may be slightly boring, which is surprising with so many students!!
We left early at about 9 and took the almost 2 hour train into Siena. From there we took a bus to the Piazza il campo which is the main piazza in the city. It's fan shaped and has one section for each of the contrada (which are like the neighborhoods in Siena). Each contrada has it's own water fountain, church and museum. They are each represented by an animal which is on every corner in that contrada and on the fountains and flags and stuff. My favorite was Brucco the caterpilar (it was really cute) but we didn't get to go there. The only one I saw was the turtle one which is called Tartuca. One of the pictures is of their baptismal fountain. The rivalry between the Contrade is still really hyped up and there is an annual horse race called the Palio where each contrada chooses a jockey and then everyone draws a horse and it's one of the biggest events in Tuscany. It's a HUGE deal to win this thing.
Anyways, so I was supposed to meet up with Frances, but she forgot about me (thanks franny) so I got a really crappy slice of pizza in the piazza and sat there and waited for her to remember me - which she finally did. As soon as she showed up (I may have cried I was so excited to see someone I knew) we started off to see the city in a couple of hours. We walked first to the duomo which was really awesome. It has a really cool story in that the main part of the church was built in the mid 1200's. In the early 1300's they decided to double the size of the church by building on a new nave and would have made it the largest duomo in Italy but then the black plague hit in 1348 and the place was literally just stopped in the middle of construction and never resumed. There are two walls build and some of the bases for the columns are there. It's pretty freaking awesome, especially since it's not done.
After this, we walked to this amazing hill where we had some beautiful views of the city (and it was extremely sunny and beautiful so we could see forever!!) and then we walked down to the garden at the base of the hill which Franny tells me is a community garden where anyone can just plant their crops and then they all trade them around when it's time to harvest and its amazing. There were so many little green sprouts coming up and the place was utterly packed full of plants. From here, miss Padon needed to go home to get some meds before she had a planned excursion at 5 so I headed off and walked up to the main fortress. It was so cool. It had to be the highest point in the city and had stunning views in all directions. It was also surrounded by this huge brick wall and a gorgeous garden. It also had an old roman theatre in the middle that would have been really cool to see a show at.
After this, I was getting a little hungry, so we walked back into town past the futbol stadium and up to get some of these little cookies that Franny told us we couldn't leave without eating. They were like lemon squares with almonds on them but in cookie form. They weren't as moist as lemon squares but they were close and it was cookie dough. And they were soooo soft and had powdered sugar all over them. So I got one, and then after I ate it, I went back inside and got 5 more. Oops.
And if I hadn't had enough of the sweets, I decided to get some gelato for the walk back to the train station. I got pistacchio gelato and hazelnut gelato and I have never tasted anything pistacchio flavored that tasted this much like pistacchios. OMG!!! It was so amazing. Seriously good. I also got a piece of pizza for the train ride back that was mozzarella, tomatoes, mushrooms and artichokes and it was wonderful.
Mmmmm :) I love italian food.
As soon as I got home, I decided to just do some laundry and then me and the 3 other girls in my hostel chatted for a couple hours before going to bed.
All in all, a very successful day.