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.
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.
Today we left the hotel around 8 and headed to the Vatican. Where we went to the museum which is actually like 11 or more museums. We didn’t do all of them because of the time. It would have taken days. We went into the Sistine Chapel but you cannot take pictures there. It was amazing. We then went to St Peter’s where the Concert Chorus will be singing in on Saturday. The place was packed. David and I just had to get out. I figured while they are rehearsing and doing their sound check I can take photos then. After that we had a short time to go to the restroom or to the shop before we left for the town center. We had a meeting place and when we started walking to the bus winding this way and that way. Then down to underground parking we notice that our friends were not on the bus. Their was actually 5 people not on the bus and one of them was one of the camera crew who was doing a documentary on our trip. We kept telling the tour guide people were missing. They tried to find them but said they had to get moving. When we were almost where we were going Roland got a phone call. They trying to get a taxi and wanted to know where to meet us. The guide told them the name of the restaurant, but that wasn’t enough. They wanted the address, so while they were trying to get that information I guess one taxi driver got pissed off at them and said they could not ride with them. Finally, they got a taxi driver to take them to our meet up place. While Janet, David and I are waiting for our lost friends the camera man shows up that was with them. We ask where the rest are and he says around the corner on the next block. We hurry to go try to find them. There they are sitting at a table getting ready to order food. We tell them we have been waiting for them. At least, they were ok. We then got a table and sat down to eat some lunch too. I am sitting across from Janet who all of a sudden says, “OH, CRAP!”. She brushes something off her arm which then lands on my arm. She was not kidding about the crap. A pigeon shit on her and she flung it on me, so we both got crapped on at lunch. After lunch we went to the Spanish Steps, visited a couple more churches, sat by a fountain and visited with some very nice nuns. We headed back to where we started for dinner and then back to the hotel. It was a long day but lots of fun. I am putting some of the pictures up now but you will have to wait for rest when I have more time to explain what is in the photos. Ready for bed now.
I don’t have much time to tell you about the Flat Ole Hippies adventures because their day is not over yet. We will be heading down to meet the rest of the Anchorage Concert Chorus as they arrive.
I will tell you about the photos real quick though. Last night when they got in they were very happy to see their bed. Breakfast this morning was really good. After that they wondered around this extremely cool Church Palace Hotel. They had their picture taken in front of a piece of art work called Selfie. They also rode a lion. They then went for a nice walk and when they got back they had a beer. After that they returned to their room for a nap.
Well I will have to tell you more about their trip later because it is time to head down to meet everyone.
Well we made it to Rome and to The Church Palace. When they got there they told us that we did not have to move tomorrow when the rest of the chorus got here. They were giving us a free upgrade. I wonder if it is because I told them I wanted to write an article about them. We are getting shown around tomorrow.
We didn’t have too much trouble. The plane was a little late leaving Iceland but we had plenty of time at Heathrow, so that was fine. We did have to go through immigration there and then check in and get rid of our luggage with Alitalia Airlines. Then we had to go through security again. I set off all the bells and whistles with my new knees and the metal in my back. After being scanned and patted down I was let through. Then I notice my backpack on the inspection side. I am told I have a flask with fluid in it. I totally forgot I had David’s water bottle. They just let us drink the water real fast and then I was let go. It was bringing back memories from when I got deported from England.
We still had plenty of time so we went to have a sit down meal. We decided on fish and chips along with a local beer. One thing I didn’t miss from there was mushy peas. David commented that they were a pretty color. They were included with the meal. I did not eat them.
We then walked around to stretch our legs. I had to keep pulling up my shorts, so they wouldn’t fall off. Our gate finally came up, so we headed there. The plane was already a little late but when we got on we were delayed about a half hour before we could leave. Still no big deal because we just took a nap. The only thing I was worried about was that the hotel had sent a car for us and we were late. David said they keep track of this stuff, so they will know. I have to say he was right because they were waiting on us. I hate having to tell him he was right.
Well anyway we made it. We have washed all the grime of the day off and are heading to bed now.