|Love this city.|
Fast forward to last Thursday night. I get a text message that says, "No automatics available, so we got a manual car." This is probably a good time to mention that the girls that rented the car do not have any experience driving stick shift cars. How they drove it home that night is beyond me.
Friday morning, three of us met at the car and packed it up and were prepared to head to Opera to pick up Katie. And, then, we stalled, a time or two or three or more! I lost count!! We finally got going, only to be told by a nice Italian man when stalled at a green light, "Metti la prima! Vai!" (basically, put it in first and you go!) Yes, we know that. Somehow we made it to Opera, picked up Katie and her full mug of tea, and began our road trip.
|Caitlin, pre-stalling, Friday morning|
A few more stalls later and Katie's mug was no longer full. And, me, the one who didn't want anything to do with the driving, found herself behind the wheel. (Once in a blue moon, like 18 years ago, I was the proud driver of a bare bones Toyota Tercel 5 speed.)
There was a ton of traffic headed out of town, so instead of taking about 4 hours to get to Siena, it took more like 6. We had plans to meet up with my landlord's (Luisa) family to pick olives, but arrived too late to actually pick anything. But, we did arrive in time for the sunset and a lovely time with Luisa and her family. Her parents are just about the cutest people ever.
|sunset in Tuscany|
view from just outside of Vescovado di Murlo
Our agriturismo was great. It only allowed for a handful of people to stay there, was clean and inviting, and had some amazing homemade bread (among other things) for breakfast.
|the view from our room|
The next day we taxied back to Siena to spend the day in the town. It's such a beautiful place. We spent our time in the Duomo and then went to an exhibit of photography by Steve McCurry, the photographer made famous for his Afghan girl with the mysterious eyes back in the day. We had sandwiches from a crazy meat shop (boar salami) and dined on them in the middle of Piazza del Campo. It was another one of those moments where I was reminded how the life I'm able to live seems so surreal.
|Christmas "balls" were for sale in many shops.|
I'm kinda obsessed with this photo.
|handpainted bells, decorated in the colors of different contrade|
|Sequence. Have you ever played?|
|olives in Tuscany|
|the horse hooks used to hold-- you guessed it-- the horses!|
|City Hall and the Tower|