The next day, our challenge was figuring out how to take the train to Siena. Tourists beware in airports and train stations! We had several people approach us in an attempt to forcefully help, then demand payment in Euros. They wouldn't take no for an answer. When this happened the final time, we caused a scene on the train, and the man was escorted from the station by the polizia (police).
Sienna is a beautiful town straight out of medieval Italy. We are staying at the Hotel Duomo at the top of the mountain. (A duomo is a church). All medieval towns were situated at the top of a hill or small mountain so that the people could defend themselves against invading armies. Walls were built around the buildings and the gates were closed and guarded. Should their town be attacked, the elevation gave the people an advantage against the enemy. It's difficult to fight uphill. :) The sights of the city are breathtaking. Here are some pictures to show you what we are seeing.
|The town of Siena from the surrounding wall.|
|We are standing in the piazza in the town center.|
|I'm standing on Via Stalloreggi (via means street)|
Italians drink wine or water with every meal - never milk. It seems like A LOT of food, but the one thing I've noticed is that all the food we've eaten has been fresh. As Lella and her interpreter, Francesca explained, the people eat very few packaged foods, and Italians cook with olive oil, not butter. Each region has its own specialties, just like in the US, but the food is prepared fresh and is very healthy. We've tried wild boar, deer sausage, sheep cheese, spicy mussels, and the calamari, or baby squid. Also, from what I've observed, fast food means pizza. We've only noticed a couple McDonald's and one Burger King, but we've seen lots of pizzerias!
|Spicy steamed mussels as an antipasti|
|wild boar and deer sausage as an antipasti|
The main course was arista di cinta senese in porchetta con patinie arrosto (I can't pronounce it either), but it is roasted pork loin with potatoes on the side. All and all, I think we did pretty well on the meal, even if we aren't Italian. Both Lella and Franscesca told us "molto buono" which means "very good" when complimenting food. Hooray for us!
|pappa col pomorodo or tomato soup|
|Our homemade pici - mine was a little too fat!|
|the roasted pork, or porchetta|
|Our cantuccini - yum!|
|Chelsea is rolling out the cantuccini dough.|
|Alex and I got stuck with peeling the potatoes!|
|Chelsea and Eric were concentrating on getting their pici (spaghetti) the right thickness. Their noodles were far better than mine. Rats!|
|Our chef, Lella, on the right and her interpreter, Francesca, on the left.|