Sunday, August 10, 2008

A Quick Tuscan Hello and Goodbye

When I heard that my friend Tamer and his family were going to be in Italy on vacation, I wanted to try and see them even if there were going to be based in Rome for the week. We decided we could meet on Friday in Siena. Our plan was to take the day off and stay the night in the Tuscan region. We left Milan around 7am; we were supposed to meet around noon and it was a 4 hour drive there.

We arrived around 11.30am, parked and walked into the pretty hill town of Siena.

I had visited once before, but the weather had been terrible... cold and windy. Everything looked much better in the sunshine.

There were some artist exhibits around town that looked really cool, like this horse made from wood.

We checked out the famous Piazza del Campo, where Siena's famous 'palio' horse race takes place twice a year. It's hard to imagine horses racing around this piazza, packed with spectators. Turns out the palio was happening next weekend on August 16th. We could see wooden stands already setup in preparation. Too bad we wouldn't be around to catch it.

There was some bird on display at the piazza. I think it's an owl. It was really huge and it was funny when it swivelled its head almost all the way around.

Here's the Torre del Mangia from the back (from the Piazza del Mercato).

Laundry hanging out to dry in full view.

Siena's duomo is really quite impressive. The facade is all marble.

Here's what was supposed to be the original face of the duomo. However it was left unfinished when they were instructed by the Vatican to change the orientation of the duomo.

Ok, so T and family didn't exactly show up around noon. We killed time people watching, eating some pastries, more people watching, eating gelato and more people watching. But finally they showed up! It was great to see the kids.

We met the rest of the family. Stef played tourist guide.

We had some gelato.

And we tried our best to catch up as much as we could in the short time we had. It was really great to see Tamer, Nihal, Jenna and Nadeem, even if we didn't have that much time together. Hopefully we'll see each other again soon.

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