Monday, August 29, 2011

Firenze e Siena

Finally, some more Italy! I was holding off on posting pictures of Florence and Siena until my sister sent me her pictures. To give her credit, she actually sent pictures when she returned from her world tour two weeks ago and I've just been slow about going through them. But here they are!

We met up with my sister in Florence, and we stayed in a hotel that I do not recommend. It was the Sheraton and we stayed for free with points, but points or no points, it's never fun to stay outside of the city you came to see. So just remember, if you're going to Florence, cross the Sheraton "Firenze" off your list of possible places to stay. 

We climbed up the Duomo (all 463 steps!), and we all agreed that that was our favorite part of the trip. 
We also went to the Boboli Gardens, which I remember from last time in Florence with Natalie as being one of my favorite places. 
I remembered this face from last time I was in the Boboli gardens, and I just think it's super cool. I was disappointed to find out this time that it's not that old - I think it's from the 80's or 90's (that's 20th century 80's or 90's!)
We spent a few days in Florence, then we went on to Siena. We were staying at a place called Siena House, so without doing my homework, I just assumed it would be in Siena. When we got to Siena by bus and then looked up our place, it turns out it was 40 kilometers outside of Siena! After spending a lot of time looking at maps, Jonny figured out we could take a train to the little town nearby our b&b, so we did that, thinking we could get a cab once we got there. Oh no, no no. This town was waaay too small to have a taxi service, and everyone laughed at us when we asked. We ended up getting a ride from two kind men at the train station, and during that five minute ride, I kept imagining the worst about these men. I was sure we were kidnapped, but they pulled us up right to the door and we saw the following view:
As it turns out, Italy has really strict regulations on how many people can stay in a room, so Laura Grace ended up staying across the street in this cool rustic farm. (She would say more rustic, less cool - there was a frog and a lizard in her room!)
Remember when I posted about Outstanding in the Field? Well, the place where Laura Grace was staying was having a festival and a dinner, and we got to attend a super authentic Italian version of one of these outdoor dinner parties.
Everyone around us spoke Italian, but we managed to get by with a few words and a lot of gesturing and facial expressions. 
The farm also had haybails, which Laura Grace explored. 
We did end up spending one day in Siena, where we thought we were going to be all along. It was a really charming little town - kind of a smaller version of Florence. 
So there you have it! That's the full Italy recap. Next will be our blessing and thanksgiving service for marriage, aka wedding round two in the UK! 

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