Italian Churches ~ The Power of Image

No matter your religion or beliefs, Jesus suffered that day. The Catholic Church will never let us forget it. When you walk into their relics of religion, the pain of his final day is prominent. Some people even wear the cross as a reminder of mortality and human sin. Continue reading “Italian Churches ~ The Power of Image”

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Day 6 ~ Siena’s Black & White Cathedral

Unbeknownst to me, but knowst to everyone else, the second Saturday in August is the busiest travel day in the country. Luckily, I was about to drive for about 500km. Everybody likes traffic right? Ugh, but first, I stopped in shortly after sunrise at the Siena Cathedral, a marvelous black and white marble achievement. With some bad Italian I managed to get a look inside without waiting in line for a ticket at the closed office.

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The outside was intricate also.

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They were getting the Piazza del Campo ready for the Palio di Siena. It’s the rugged biannual race of ten men around a tiny courtyard on hyped up horses run for bragging rights to the local neighborhoods.

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I snapped a few more photos, then had to jet to my car for the long drive back to Trieste.

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This is the view of early morning in Siena. The church looms large over the city.

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I ate nothing but roadside food and espresso for the 9 hour trek back. I needed some quality for Sunday lunch and found Fratelli Da Bufala near the water at Piazza Ponte Rosso in Trieste. Meeting up with an old friend from high school and her husband made for a wonderful Sunday. I had a killer chicken salad, and pappardelle with meat ragu. Unfortunately, the sauce tasted less than homemade–more like poured from a jar.

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Day 4 ~ You Can’t Win ‘Em All

Started the day off with a decent breakfast before heading to the beach. It was a quiet beach, with free chairs and umbrellas. The ocean was more of a pool, as a manmade rock barrier had been formed about 100m out to sea. The deepest water is only waist high.

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It was dreadfully boring, all drastically tan old people or piteously unhappy parents with their bouncing off the wall kids. I stayed about 2 hours for some Vitamin D and left. My friend had told me to try the flatbread sandwich here. I found a cute place run by LeLe and Elena on the main street. It’s tastes as basic as it looks, which isn’t really a bad thing.

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Nothing special about this, but a decent beach snack. Not quite up to par with some other lunches I’ve had. I took a slow walkabout to explore before leaving. It’s a classic beach town with lazy cats behind fences, pastel homes and a pleasant perfumed air.

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I was excited to get in the car and drive across the peaks of Umbria and Toscana.

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It did not disappoint. Beautiful driving weather and the miraculous landscapes combined with poppy tunes from the radio made me jump, jive and wail all along the meandering path through the mountains. The lack of tunnels, but plenty of cutbacks along the ridges make for exciting travel.

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Arriving in Siena late in the day and weary from my transport, I asked for a dinner recommendation from the staff of the outstanding Sienna Hostel Guidoricci. This place was brand new, and had done its homework regarding what a hostel should provide. It was top notch, top notch! The old man singing classical music in the lobby told me to visit his friends at Il Vinaio di Bobbe e Davide (Via Camollia 167). I was forced to sit at the bar, which for a solo traveler is frustrating but understandably acceptable. I ordered the pici pasta with pepper because it was recommended as typically Senese.

 

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Boring! The best part was the pepper…

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Then, after 40 minutes of waiting, drinking and nibbling bread, I got this microwaved gem.

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A sad plate of meat for sure, and not even good! To be fair, the employees were rushing around prepping for the party of 20 that had just sat down, but seriously, no vegetables? I asked the guy to try everything, and I don’t mind paying. I guess everything includes leftover ribs and dry meatballs. Whatever, my stomach feeling queasy already, they saved a bit of class for last.

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This is a Ribollita, a true Tuscan dish of day old bread, tomatoes and other veg. It was okay, but I’d had enough bread. I was done with today and headed home for a shower at my awesome hostel.