Our bus took us through the gently rolling landscape to Siena. We had a group lunch at Gallo Nero Restaurant. The chorus sang the Alaska Flag Song for the waiters, waitress and kitchen staff at the restaurant. We the walked through the ancient, narrow lanes to Piazza del Campo. Siena’s historic center has been declared by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.
We then went to San Gimignano. The best gelato is found there. I had orange peel and saffron and a scoop of lavender and blackberry. The longest walk to the WC I have ever been on.
All of us Alaskans are really having a hard time with the heat in Italy. Almost all of us have developed this rash and swelling of the feet and ankles. Some have even been having trouble with bug bites.
The Anchorage Concert Chorus had a concert in the church of Chiesa di Ognissanti. Another beautiful church. It would have been nice if they had more people there but the ones that were totally enjoyed their concert. It sounded wonderful.
Florence is one of my favorite places in Italy. It is really beautiful. We left our hotel in Montecatini and after about 40 minutes we arrived. We were given several hours on our own to find lunch a look around. David and I stopped for lunch at an outdoor restaurant. I sat down and was trying to take my camera off when I found that my hair was stuck on the button on the back of my shirt. David started trying to get it out. Next thing I know our waiter comes over and starts making the motion of scissors with his fingers. I am going no, no! Then a waitress comes over and is trying to help David. David finally gets it out and everyone cheers him. I did get my pizza in Florence.
After our free time we went on the walking tour with our local guide. I do enjoy these because they tell you things that you don’t read in tour books. It was very interesting to see the marks that were on the buildings to show the flood lines. Some of them were 6 feet up in the main square. This still happens in modern times. Also, on the first Sunday of every month is “Sunday at the Museum” and there are no entrance fees so the lines are long.
David is at the Accademia Museum but the lines were so long we did not go in. The photo that I have included is a replica of David. I have seen the real one before on one of my other trips over here. Besides I have my own David.
I had picked up some rosaries at the Vatican for my family members. There was a big sign in the store that said it was illegal to sell blessed rosaries anywhere in the world. I decided that I would still get them blessed while I was in Italy. Shouldn’t be hard to find a priest in Italy. We were moving along so fast most of the tour that I never had time. While in Venice we were standing outside of Basilica di San Marco and David says there is a priest. I go over and ask if he would mind blessing some rosaries for me. Expecting to be answered in Italian it came to great surprise to me when I am answered in a midwestern accent. I did get the rosaries blessed in Italy by an American priest who happen to be good friends with our arch bishop in Anchorage.
To start out I will say I have finally got an internet that I can use. I have to sit in the lobby but maybe I can catch up a little bit before we are off on the bus again.
After the chorus sang mass at St Peter’s we headed to Montecatini. We stopped at an autogrill to go to the toilette and grab something to eat. We were approached and asked if we would mind going to another hotel for the night because the one we were supposed to stay in was overbooked. We said sure. Sounded like an adventure to us.
We arrived at the Grand Hotel Nizza where we got off the coach and then grabbed our luggage. Then we were shuffled into a taxi go about 1/2 mile to the Astoria Hotel. When we stepped out of the taxi the spell of the flowers was like a light perfume. That night we were so tired being that it was midnight that we did not look around much. We took the tiniest elevator I had ever seen up to our room. Our room was small but very comfortable with a small balcony. We opened the windows that over looked the quaint little street and off to sleep we went.
The next morning we got up went down stairs to have breakfast. We ate in the garden taking in the old and friendly charm of the hotel. As we ate we took in the wonderful smell of the flowers and saw the lemons on the small lemon trees in pots. After breakfast we walked around the hotel taking in the old charm of it. We then met the owner who told us that he was the fourth generation and his son was going to take over for him soon. His wife made beautiful flower arrangements all over the hotel. I would highly recommend this hotel.
I haven’t seen one of these phones in a very long time.
Yes, the green shorts are still with us.
I am having a terrible time with the internet in Italy. I can’t seem to get an photos uploaded. That is why I am not posting every day.
What an honor it was for a chorus from Alaska to get to sing during mass at the Basillica. They sounded so wonderful.
I got to sit in the front pew because I was Catholic. If you weren’t you had to go sit in the chairs in the back as a visitor. I can’t believe that I have now actually received communion at St Peter’s Basillica.
The Anchorage Concert Chorus performed at the camp where there are people from 35 different countries. They also performed for us which was very good.
We then had a group lunch at Le Terme Del Colosseo. It was very nice.
After leaving the forum we went for a tour of the Colosseum. The seating wouldn’t have worked very well today because the ground floor was for royal and government. The next floor was for the men and the very top is where the slaves and women were allowed to sit.
There were holes all over in Colosseum and David asked where they came from. He was told people had stolen the rebar out of the building. Until the time that the Pope came and put a cross up in the colosseum because of the Christians being killed it was not a religious place. After that time the church and other organizations started saving it. We were told that they believe now that the killing of Christians took place at the Circus Maximus.
Enjoy our photos