Thursday, October 29, 2009

Siena and beyond...part 1

Well, first, let me say this: JUSTINE IS HERE!!! Ahhhhhh!!

She got in EARLY on Tuesday morning and I found her at the airport...conveniently waiting for me at the large pillar with "Meeting Point" painted on it. Hmm, what a novel idea! I practically ran to her, ok, not practically...I did run to her...and gave her a big hug. Hugging Justine is always interesting considering that I am close to 5'10'' and she's 5 feet. So, Anywho, we headed for the train and arrived 20 minutes early. Much to her chagrin I "forced" her to have a cappuccino. She was in heaven! Yes, the caffe here is that good, but she's also something of a coffee connoisseur. After our delicious and much needed coffee, we boarded the train bound for Roma. It was fun watching her expressions and hearing her excitement. It's like reliving it all again! After a not-even-crowded-but-crowded-for-Justine bus ride, we made it to campus, dropped her stuff off, went to the store, and picked up lunch at the tabacchi. Then, after some yummy panini we met Lynda at the bus stop as we began our adventure to...Siena!! and Pisa!!!

We took the bus up north and quite honestly I wanted to jump out of it after an hour. It's a 3 hour bus trip. God Bless Justine for going along with that idea after having been on an airplane for too many hours.

We arrived in Siena after dark, but...WOW. What an amazingly beautiful city. It's medieval in its architecture and layout, so imagine lots of stone and frescoed buildings. We checked into our hotel (so great by the way!! Our room looked out at the duomo and you could see the tower at the Campo). After we rested for a bit we headed towards the Campo to enjoy a glass of Chianti and the view. We were, after all, in Chianti country and when you're in Chianti country...well, you just have to have some! So, we had a glass of wine and marveled at the Campo. I can't believe that it's the same place where men compete in the highly dangerous and competitive Palio horse race. If you don't know what that is...check it out here:
After our wine we made our way to Osteria Nonna Gina's. According to Lynda, the food was supposed to be amazing. And can I just say this? I was not disappointed. I even went so far as to remark that if I were to be hit by a moto on the way back to the hotel then that was ok because I'd just had one of the best meals of my life. We started with an antipasti platter that was super yummmy with marinated and roasted veggies: eggplant, sun dried tomatoes, artichoke hearts, onions, and black olives. I had the penne all'arrabbiata. It was like a spicy bite of heaven. The sauce was amazing. Seriously. Justine had the gnocchi with a creamy pesto sauce and Lynda had her favorite, ribolitta. For dessert, we each had tiramisu. Oh.My.Gosh. Again...a sweet treat that could only be described as heavenly. Finally, we were blessed by an offering from the restaurant...amaretto. Sigh...remembering it all now makes my mouth water. As Justine said, every other restaurant will pale in comparison.

There's lots more to share, but it's almost time for dinner. So, just wanted to whet your appetites. Here are some great pics, too!

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