Got a fairly early start – showered, had a bite to eat, then started packing. Took a couple of things down by hand to the campervan, then loaded all the panniers on the bike and rolled them down together.
Colin did a final cleaning of the bathroom while I took all the perishables out of the fridge into a cooler, and what we needed out of the cupboards. I took a bunch of ‘after’ photos of the outside of the house and terrace, then when the last bags were out of the house I took photos of the new kitchen and the re-arranged living/dining area.
We made it on the road just before 1:00 but didn’t get far – Colin stopped to pay a bill at the post office, then asked if I wanted a final cappuccino (or glass of wine, perhaps?) at Poppy’s – what was I going to say? The door was actually locked but I had seen the owner’s son go into the little store while we were parked outside the post office and he returned just as we were about to leave.
Had a nice glass of red, then when I went in to pay I told the son (really should have gotten their names!) that we were leaving for France and would perhaps be back sometime in October – all in Italian. I think he understood most of it…
We headed generally west and a bit north to the south side of Lago Trasemino – it turned out it was the same road we’d taken in the other direction on one of our excursions last October. We then skirted the west side of the lake and stopped for a quick lunch at a pullout on the side of the road.
At the northwest corner of the lake we got onto a highway that took us right into Siena, passing through yet more beautiful countryside.
Once in the city Colin headed for a camping/parking place he’d been to before and we took the ‘scenic route’ to get there. It’s basically a large car-park with some toilets, and has fairly busy roads on each side – cars zipping by in one direction on one side, the other direction on the opposite side.
Having been here for the finish this year’s Strada Bianche Colin knew the way up to the old city. It was a bit of a hike uphill, but luckily there is a series of escalators once you reach the steep part.
Not far from the last one we entered a small square and I said ‘oh my god!’. It was the back of a church with all sorts of carvings everywhere – we continued on via a few small lanes and ended up at the front of it – again I said the same thing.
It was georgous, but the more I looked the more I thought it was also kind of gaudy – too much, too much. Also Romulus and Remus and the she-wolf that suckled them are very big here – they are portrayed everywhere.
The sun hit at the right place at the right time and some of the frescoes/painting shone just beautifully.
We walked down a bit and came across some young fellows doing a ‘flag dance’ of some sort.
A little further on we took a right lane downwards and came into the main piazza Mercato. It is surrounded on two sides by restaurants and cafes and was filled with hundreds of people. I felt quite ‘touristy’ but we ended up choosing a restaurant and sitting down for lunch. As we sat there the bells (of course) rang and we both agreed that they need a new set – they were the most ‘tinny’ sounding bells we’ve heard yet.
I had a ‘club panini’ which was the best sandwich I’ve had here yet. Very luckily, it turns out it was Colin’s treat – my glass of wine alone was 7 euros!
When we left the restaurant we took a different lane out and ended up going in a large, although interesting circle – another ‘scenic route’. We eventually found our way back to the escalators, then down the road to the campervan.