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“The great difference between voyages rests not with the ships, but with the people you meet on them.” ~ Amelia Barr

September 17, 2017

After another breakfast at the farmhouse of fresh eggs, cheeses, pastries, cappuccino, fresh squeezed blood orange juice and fruit we put on our elastic waist pants and piled into our men in black vans and headed for Siena.  Our guide was the lovely Louise from Cortona, who led us on a fantastic exploration of this beautiful city.  Siena had a major role in the shaping of Italian politics and banking.  Siena is the major route traveled by pilgrims from England to Rome.  The city is full of life. There is every kind of merchant you can imagine (a virtual shopping paradise) and restaurants galore.

One of the highlights was the Duomo of Siena.  It is breathtaking. The beauty and the history of both the exterior and interior is incredible.

Before our lunch and albeit too brief shopping break we went to see, smack dab in the middle of the town where the world-famous  Il Palio horse races take place twice a year. The city has seventeen neighborhoods, ten of which vie for the coveted Palio banner and bragging rights.  Each competing neighborhood gets a horse through a lottery, and they shower it with love in a stable that is like a hotel.  Each neighborhood has its own mascot (porcupine, unicorn, she-wolf and so on) and a distinctive flag, colors worn and flown all year-long, but omnipresent as the race nears. While the race itself lasts just 90 seconds, festivities go on for days.

We had a lovely lunch and then wandered through one of the neighborhoods to browse and perhaps make a purchase.

We had a little free time and decided to take a moment to breathe and enjoy the city with a cappuccino and coke light!  Everywhere you looked it was if someone was painting a picture!

We returned home to the farmhouse for our last dinner.  There are truly not words to describe the evening, but I will try.  The sun was setting, the sky was incredible and we were treated to dinner under the Tuscan moon.

There was candlelight, there was music, there was laughter, there was an abundance of good food and wine and most importantly good friends, both old and new.

“I am not the same, having seen the moon shine on the other side of the world.”

~ Mary Anne Radmacher

We had to say goodbye to some of our group as twelve of us continue on to Rome, and to each and everyone it was more of a see you later, than goodbye.  This portion of the trip brought  to mind the chorus of  Getting to Know You,  sung by Julie Andrews.

“Getting to know you
Getting to know you, getting to know all about you
Getting to like you, getting to hope you like me
Getting to know you, putting it my way but nicely
You are precisely my cup of tea”

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“You and I are more than friends. We’re like a really small gang.”~ Author Unknown

 

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