Saturday, October 14, 2006

"If you've seen one fat cherub....."

The title of today's post is dedicated to my younger sister, BooBoo. If she reads this post, she'll know what it means...

Our last full day in Florence today was mostly spent NOT in Florence. My brother and sister-in-law took us to a couple of the small towns/cities near here: San Gimignano and Sienna.

San Gimigano became an free municipality in 1199. Yes, 1199. There was a great (very old) church there with some phenomonal frescos that line the entire inside of the building. The town is very small and quaint, but was jammed with lots of tourists.

Sienna was, for us, a much more interesting and fabulous place than San Gimigano. Sienna was originally a Roman colony that grew and florished during the 1400s, becoming quite a powerful place before the Black Plague took out about 70% of its population.

The city is much smaller than Florence and the streets are so narrow, they don't even have side walks. Because of that, not too many cars brave the city streets and there are none of the buzzing scooters that careen up the streets in Florence.

We went to some of the most historical sites, including their Duomo (cathedral) and the Hosptial of Santa Maria della Scalla, which was the actual "sick room" that started in the 13th century.

Hubby, my brother and I all like the Duomo in Sienna more than the Duomo in Florence. Much more beautifully laid out, beautiful mosiacs and tiled scenes created as part of the floors; several naves each with their own personality. Just lovely.

We treated our tour guides (brother and sister-in-law) to a really great lunch that was off the main drag a bit. Hubby and sister-in-law split a huge Tuscan steak, I had sausage and white beans in a tomato sauce, my brother had grilled chicken breasts. This was AFTER the first course of pasta and the APPETIZERS of brushetta and chicken livers. (Hope the plane can make weight adjustments when we fly home!)

After lunch we went to a great cheese and salami shop that is owned by a friend of my brother's. We were able to taste some really delicious things and spend some time with the owner. He is a very fascinating man. He owns the cheese shop and a really great antique shop full of really different and wonderful things (manuscripts from the 1800s, old irons from that same era, old postal scales, walking canes, trunks and bread making kitchen tables, etc.) All very intriguing.

We were supposed to go out for dinner, but everyone was still full from lunch so we parted ways after getting back in to Florence. Hubby and I strolled the city for a while and are now getting ready to get packed up for our departure tomorrow.

We'll sleep in a little and then pack up. My neice will join her parents here tomorrow, so we'll have a chance to see her before we have to get on the train again.

We leave Florence in the early evening and go to Milan, then take the overnight train to Paris and then another train to Amsterdam. We are in Amsterdam for less than 24-hours and will then fly back to the states.

All in all, we've had just a wonderful trip. We've got lots of photos to share (once we are back in the states with all the right equipment) and lots of pounds to lose. I'm also missing my cats in a very big way, so I'm very excited to see them again.


Dori said...

Too full to have dinner? Ha! No wonder. Buy hey--you have to experience the culture! It will be nice to have you home again, but I've enjoyed reading your travel posts. Isn't it great how much we learn when we visit other cultures.

I was trying to remember the name of the saint from Sienna; it was on the tip of my tongue. I just Googled it and it was Saint Catherine, which is my grandmother's name. Funny that it's spelled with a C and not a K. I thought it was spelled with a K in Italian.

Anyway, have a good trip home. Amsterdam airport has good duty free shopping.

Julie said...

Amybee you should be a writer! Your thoughts are always placed with great enthusiasm and you intrigue me so much to read the next line! I also can’t wait for you two to get back to see the pictures and hear more about the great trip! I love you both! Julie