Sunday, January 29, 2012

First Weekend!

The first major thing I did this weekend that I don't have pictures of (besides getting lots of Italian homework and eating more giant pizza) was going to St Catherine's church here in Siena to see her head. And her thumb. That's all they have of her. It was interesting, to say the least. I don't really know what else to say about that, but hey, if you're into that kind of stuff, it's cool. It's one of those things I'm glad I did, even though it was bizarre. 

This is the view of the Torre del Mangia in Piazza del Campo

We wanted to climb the tower in Piazza del Campo, but alas, it was closed by the time we got there. We decided to chill for the rest of the day and meet later for some ice skating at the winter festival that was happening about 10 minutes from my house.

There was a winter carnival and we decided to go ice skating

We're so cool

Our after ice skating snack- Nutella pizza!
Saturday, bright and early, we had an appointment at the post office to start the process for the "permesso di soggiorno" or permission to stay. We just handed them a bunch of paperwork and paid 30 euros. I think we have a few more steps before we are legally allowed to live here. You know, cause the visa wasn't enough.

A group of us decided that we wanted to have an adventure outside of Siena (you might think this is hasty, but we have a class that basically shows us all the major sites of Siena as class trips so I don't need to seek them out on my own). We were going to go to San Gimignano, a small city about a half an hour outside of Siena, but we found out we go there for class, so we chose another small city, Montepulciano. What an adventure!

The view from my front door

random strange car

pink/purple house!

The wine road! We must be almost there, right?

WRONG. Turns out, we were 9 km from the city...
With our disaster aversion skills, we walked back to the lonely train station and waited for the bus. We were treated to a lovely ride up to the city, where we walked to the tourist office. The man there arranged a private taxi for our return back to the station. Onward we went!
Tuscany. So beautiful.

I could get used to a view like this

Yup. I'm used to it

Piazza grande

The clock tower. Coincidentally, this piazza can be seen in
The Twilight Saga: New Moon. Yup.

The adventurers

Montepulciano is like a smaller, more
deserted Siena

Cats roam wild in Italy!!!

The vampire menu at the caffe we stopped at.
Yes. Vampire menu.

We decided to sample both the red and white wines. They
gave us all that food for free!

Olive oil tasting. Ah-mazing.
Our lovely trip ended almost as disastrously as it began. Our train had arrived on platform 2 and continued on, so we figured it would come back the other way on the other side, platform 1. WRONG AGAIN. The result was a mad dash down two flights of stairs to the passage under the track, up two more flights and running vaults onto the train with seconds to spare. It was an exhausting and exhilarating trip.

We almost didn't get off the train, however, since once it finally got to Siena, the doors we were waiting at wouldn't open. Frantically, we ran down the train until we found an open door and jumped off. A true adventure. 

The next day, we decided to be adventurous again and climb the Torre del Mangia in the Piazza del Campo. It was exhausting and exciting at the same time, though the steps were quite steep and let me just say my legs are not happy with me. But the views were totally worth it!

They built this for people a lot smaller
than us! So narrow!!

Me at the top with the Duomo behind me

Piazza del Campo from the very top

Mind your head!

Definitely got my exercise in for the week
We decided to celebrate our triumphant climb with pizza and gelato once we were safely back in the Piazza

Russell chose the very Italian 'hot dog and french fry' style

We returned to a friend's apartment to hang out when we discovered the wonders of Italian electricity and wiring. A faulty plug led to the loss of the lights, so we ventured to by candles at the supermarket. It made for a lovely ambiance.

look at us craft kids
I returned home to a late dinner with my host mother, who is happy I'm eating more (mostly because I walk a lot and am hungry ALL THE TIME, and because I try to eat more to make her happy). It's not hard, her cooking is delicious!!!

Time for bed! Gotta get ready for some more Italian class tomorrow, plus a trip to the 'bottini,' an underground part of the city! Exiting stuff! Ciao for now!

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