Showing posts from January, 2012


"Benjamin Button: Your life is defined by its opportunities… even the ones you miss."
--F. Scott Fitzgerald

At 3:30 the alarm blared. No shower, no continental breakfast with Streganona; just brushed teeth and a fresh outfit. I put on my light jacket and backpack. We said goodbye to the front-desk attendant at Hotel Della Signoria and stepped into the night.

I was puzzled. First, why was the cobblestone road wet and shiny black? Second, why was I sweating?

In the six hours that Mom & I slept it must have rained, although we didn’t hear the slightest commotion. Oddly – but very much a blessing – that was the only rain we encountered on our three week excursion.
I suppose – like when I camped in the Tanami Desert in Australia – the same clouds that brought the rain also trapped the city’s heat. It was the most humid weather we had experienced and at 4:00, in the pitch black, the outdoors felt more like 8:00 when the sun was already climbing in the sky. I shed my light jack…


"Some stories don’t have a clear beginning, middle and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it without knowing what’s going to happen next. Delicious ambiguity…"
-- Gilda Radner

Mom & I awoke in time to enjoy (although by now the routine pane a.k.a. bread with condiments and arancia rossa juice was overkill) our last breakfast with "Streganonna". Perhaps because it was a new week (Monday) the terrace was full, however we graciously sat inside. It was the last week in June and the Mediterranean breeze that originally cooled Mom & I from the sun, was now equally hot as the outside air. There was no relief from the heat and even at 9:00 the day was warm. I wrote in my journal "hottest day yet".
Like clockwork, Streganonna approached us in her uniform of a muted blue, knee-length dress, shin-high, white socks and black old-school Reebok look-alikes. The best part of her predictability was her heartf…

A horse of a different color

After swerving through Poggibonsi my stomach settled a little once the bus reentered the straight highway.  Mom & I were not certain we had reached Siena, but concluded we were in the city since all the remaining passengers got off.  For both of us, the top priority was food!  After I skimmed Lonely Planet’s map, the city seemed quite small in area.  So we cruised along Via dei Montanini in the afternoon sun past a boutique, bakery and travel agency that were all chiuso a.k.a. closed.  On the street the majority of people we saw were other tourists who – like us – kept their head on a swivel scanning the town.

Mom & I continued down this road on a mission for sustenance but did not find any sort of ristorante – which was odd compared to Roma, Napoli, and Firenze where all the eateries blended together.  We had wandered further than anticipated so I was surprised (Mom was ecstatic) to stumble upon Piazza del Campo.  The piazza was home to the city’s famed summer festival: Il P…