October 11, 2017 (Wednesday)

by Yule Heibel on October 10, 2018

Siena wasn’t as interesting as I’d hoped. Okay, okay, “interesting” is entirely the wrong word… “Alive”? Florence, as a city, is more alive and “buzzy” than Siena, which seems far smaller (because, d’oh, it is?). There were highlights, although the day also started out rather badly, even though everything seemed okeydokey at first. We got our bus tickets, and a bus was leaving right away (at 9:40). It was an “ordinario,” supposedly only twenty minutes longer than a “rapide,” and we thought, “okay, that’s fine, we’ll get a tour.” Even though it was a double-decker style tour bus, and we sat upstairs for the view and also because no seats were left below, the driver didn’t turn on the AC upstairs except intermittently and very occasionally and very sparingly – so that we got totally cooked up there. I mean, soaked. Steamed. It was pretty awful. And it took not one hour and thirty-five minutes as advertised; more like nearly two hours. Once the bus had left, W. had a panic attack about not finding his ticket, which he had validated minutes earlier and thought lost. Totally lost it. Turned out the ticket was in a pocket he hadn’t checked. Since we were actually controlled at one point, though, it was a good thing he found it.

When we arrived in Siena we felt completely wrung out, which rather set the tone, unfortunately. It took a while to find the Campo – which is impressive. Sought out the Allegory of Good and Bad Government by Ambrogio Lorenzetti. Getting to where those frescoes are displayed was a drama, too; finding the right room wasn’t easy, everything seemed difficult. But it was my main reason for wanting to visit Siena, so I was hellbent on getting to it. Worth it. Methinks there’s a bit of “broken windows theory” made visible in one section of “the effects of bad government”

We wanted to visit the Cathedral, but we actually ended up only wandering around it, not going in. That was too bad, but everything was feeling a bit too “ugh” by now. Eventually, we gratefully headed back to Florence, this time on a “rapide” (with more AC than on that bigger bus).

Today we’re going to ramble around here for a bit, nothing really planned. Meeting B. again at 5p.m. at our hotel, then dinner. Tomorrow at this time we’ll be on our way to the airport.


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