Rained out in Sienna

Our trip with my sister Sonja began in Florence where we met at the train station; we came from Venice and Sonja came from Rome.  We stayed in an apartment in the historic centre, across the street from Santa Croce Basilica.  In fact, our living room windows looked out to the Basilica.  It was a perfect location and a wonderfully charming apartment, with more space than we needed or even used.  We walked everywhere from the apartment, including to the bus and train stations.  The apartment was on the third floor of an old building that did not have an elevator.  While the apartment boasted all modern conveniences it was filled with antiques, wonderful artwork, and lots of interesting knick knacks giving it a very authentic feel.

Santa Croce Basilica – Our apartment is to the left of the church.

Sonja had a “must see” list that included excursions to Sienna and Pisa.  We also had a full day tour already booked to Cinque Terre.  We were cramming a lot into our four days but first we had to get ourselves oriented.  I am always surprised at how we drop ourselves into a new place that is completely foreign to us and within 24 hours I know my way around sufficiently to feel like I have been there for a month.  In short order, we found a grocery store to stock up on provisions, ate an over-priced and not very good lunch on a patio, and we were unpacked and had the first load of laundry on the go.  And then the rain began.  It rained on and off for the next four days.

Sonja snapped this photo after we ducked into a cafe to seek shelter from the relentless rain.

We awoke the next morning to steady drizzle.  Chris suggested it might be a good museum day, but Sonja made the astute observation (of which we reminded her frequently afterwards):  We’re going to get a little wet no matter what we do.  And so we stuck to our original plan and took the bus to Sienna which was only an hour away – on the express bus – and an hour and a half on the local bus which we inadvertently took.  By the time we arrived, it was pouring buckets.  We wandered around for a while browsing through the infamous “Tuesday Market” and stocking up on some local cheese, salami and vegetables.  But when the thunder and lightning began and the rain turned to hail, and we were soaked to the skin, we all agreed it was time to go home.  Sienna was a bust as far as I was concerned, but Sonja was satisfied that she had at least caught a glimpse of it and saw the beautiful countryside as well.  I comforted myself with the knowledge that Chris and I would go back later in May while we were on the farm which was only 50 km south of Sienna.

Soaked to the skin and ready to go back to Florence.

Travel Tip:  If travelling with three or more people, consider staying in an apartment of which there are many to choose from.  It can be very cost effective and offers a lot more space than a traditional hotel room not to mention full kitchen and often laundry facilities too.  Airbnb.com is a great site for accommodations – we found all our South American apartments through this site as well as those in Italy.  Click here to see the airbnb listing for the Florence apartment.

Category: Europe, Italy
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