It's another lazy Sunday. Woke up around 11:30, streamed addictive crime shows onto my computer, watched the last half of 500 Days of Summer (Awww, so cute), and stacked up the homework that I have yet to do this afternoon (haven't touched the stack yet of course). I have 48 days left in Europe which feels just about right to me, not too soon and not too long. It's been a good couple of days in Tuscany. On Friday, I went to Siena for the day with my class. Siena is about an hour away from Florence via bus, so I settled in, headphones blasting country music, and stared out at the beautiful Tuscan scenery on the way. Rolling hills with vineyards and olives...This is the Italy I pictured in my head. Anyway, the day clearly started off well.
I loved Siena the minute we got off the bus. It's cute and clean and bright. First stop off the bus was at a coffee shop where we were treated to hot chocolate and a pastries. The hot chocolate was literally melted chocolate. So delicious, so rich, and decadent. A decidely good start of the day. The rest of the morning was spent talking about history and art in class. We visited this mammoth chapel and learned about Siena's ongoing rivalry with Florence that prompted many of the lavish paintings and sculptures that decorate the church. We then got a couple of hours to explore the city on our own. It was an absolutely awesome day for weather, 75 degrees and sunny. I went with a couple of friends to a pizza place for lunch and good conversation. Then we topped it off with a gelatto break. I think I had strawberry and chocolate. We walked to this piazza and basically basked in the sun for an hour. It was great people watching and an fast tan. We met up with class again and headed into the former town hall. We stared at giant frescoes for a bit and then we had another hour on our own before the bus ride home. From the loggia of the town hall buiding you could look out over the rolling hills and valleys of the Siena countryside. Beautiful. Afterwards, I slowly made my way back to the bus where our teachers had a treat for us yet again. Apparently there's a particular type of cookie that Siena is famous for and we each got one. Powdered sugar perfection. I will also point out that I think everyone in Italy, including my own teachers, is determined to have us all gain 50 pounds before we go home. So, I loved my time in Siena. Loved seeing a bit of the country and had an all around great day. When I got home my host mom decided to buy pizza for dinner. It was a day of pizza! Not that I'm complaining. But when Italians have pizza, it's not just a slice. Each person gets like a 12" pie. Massive.
My host mom had a friend over for dinner and so we got to see her speak in full-on Italian, not the slowed down version we are accustomed to. Italians talk fast, really fast. And the stereotype is true: Italians use grand hand gestures all the time during conversation. All the time. My roommate and I basically had zero idea what was going on during dinner but it was pretty cool to watch. I really didn't feel well Friday night so we called it an early night and crashed.
On Saturday I got up and decided to stroll through the markets. I need to do some shopping. I really want a leather purse and maybe a leather jacket. Plus, I've got souveniers to by for some folks back home. I met up with a few friends for lunch and we sat in front of the Santa Maria Novella and enjoyed yet another beautiful day of weather. Then my friend Emily and I headed out to do a "Palace Walk" for class. Basically we walked to a bunch of old family palaces and took notes regarding the differences between them and the Medici palace. Pretty interesting. Last night we met up with a bunch of friends and went dancing which was a lot of fun.
Homework day. Much to do before Rome this weekend.