By the time Keith was taking off today, I was in San Gimignano. By the time he was actually in the air I was leaving San Gimignano! I managed to get there all right in my new little SmartCar (see notes below) but once I arrived there were about 2000 English speaking tourists on the main street of the town, running and jumping and yelling... the main street was lined with stores selling fridge magnets, aprons and little wooden Pinnochios. (Everyone is tired of Pinnochio!) I wandered through town long enough to see two towers, but there were really too many people so I turned the car toward Siena.
The Car: It’s called a SmartCar but it isn't really smart. There is no clutch but you still have to change gears. What's with that? It means that your right hand has to be constantly busy even though your left foot is hanging around on the floor doing nothing! And as you speed along “Shift” appears on the dashboard suggesting that you shift gears. It doesn't come right out and say it, it just suggests it! So you press your left foot to the floor for the clutch and there is nothing to press but your right hand has to shift anyway! If the car is so smart don’t you think it would shift gears on its own? Maybe someone should invent that; a car that shifts gears on its own; they could call it an "Automatic". Instead, it gently (in case you have issues) encourages the driver, who is not necessarily smart either; to do the work the transmission should be doing! It took me a while to figure out that there are 5 gears. You have to gear up as you try to go faster, which is quite a chore for this little engine on an Italian hill. There is no pattern to the shifting; remember the “H"; we all knew that H and what it meant. You could tell what gear you were in by the position of the stick in the H. Well there is no "H", it doesn’t exist in this car, you just kind of punch the little stick forward and finally get it up to 5th and then break for something and it drops back to third so you have to start the punching process all over again! It’s also very bumpy, any bump on the road at all and my friend Florence (the GPS) flew through the air! It’s NOT a Fiat, I know that... ~I will try to be understanding and welcoming!~
Siena is beautiful. I have already found Catherine’s head, which actually looks to be in pretty bad shape. (Her body is in Rome in Sopra Minerva - see the Rome app!). I also found the Siena Cathedral and Baptistry. Photos are below. When I first arrived at the Cathedral, I sat on a bench across from it so I could, in complete amazement, stare at it for a while. I sat for 10 minutes or so, shifting and sliding around on the bench to get different viewpoints. Then I wandered across the square, past a couple hundred people, and bought the ticket to go inside. I wandered through the buildings for about an hour and a half. I left and walked back to my hotel (which is lovely) stopping in numerous stores on the way home. Once back in my hotel room, I decided to do some laundry, so I took off the black capris I was wearing only to discover that when I sat on the bench to admire the church many hours ago, I had sat on a big blob of bird poop that was now brilliantly smeared all across my back end! I had leisurely wandered home, through the whole town, unknowingly covered in white slime! I threw them in the bathroom sink here in my room, turned the water on, and then started up my Mac to write this post. About 5 minutes later, as I was having a nice time looking through the pictures from the day, I heard water moving somewhere. I looked out the window; nothing there, I looked around the room, nothing there, then I looked in the bathroom. I had completely forgotten that I had turned the water on in the sink. It was overflowing and the bathroom floor was flooded! It is now covered in wet towels. I don’t know about this travelling alone gig… too much responsibility!