Saturday Oct 13, 2012: Base camp 1: Sovicille near Siena
Awoke to my alarm at 0800. What? Other than a couple of peeps early in the night the girls slept through on night 1. That was as amazing as it was surprising. We decided to stay in bed for a bit and woke the little buggers up at 9. Tea and pastries and off we went…
Back to the airport? Yep. We hit a minor hiccup leaving the apartment. The cigarette lighter wasn’t working in our car so the GPS died. We had backup maps, but this would be a crippling blow to our already dubious efficiency. We decided to take the car back. Once there the rental car team showed us where the backup lighter was. My pride would have been hurt except that Ponce de Leon would have had a better chance finding the fountain of youth than this lighter. Seriously Renault, what were you thinking?
Finally we hit the road in our Griswaldesque grey diesel station wagon with one operational lighter. It might not have 8 headlights, but it is a darn good travel car. Plenty of room for the four of us, two big bags and a stroller in back. This beast flew down the autostrade like a cheetah hunting a wilderbeast.
Our first stop of the day was Perugia. We really had no reason to go there other than a ‘hey, should we swing through Perugia on the way to Siena?’ moment. Actually, it hit our radar when we found out we could make the annual chocolate festival. We couldn’t fit the timing into our schedule but it stayed on our itinerary anyway. It was the first of what would be many dances with the ZTL (zona trafico limitado) in Italy. We drove in a few circles and found some parking before hoofing it up a number of underground escalators to check out the old centro. We didn’t have much time to look around but caught the great vistas from the Piazza Italia and let the girls run all around the piazza IV Novembre while we enjoyed the sunshine and took in the beauty of Fontana Maggiore.
We only spent a couple of hours in Perugia before hitting the road again. The clouds were rolling in and there were a few showers on and off. We rolled into our farmhouse inn San Lorenzo Linari in Solvicille, about 15 minutes from Siena.
I lugged in our bags to the room on the first floor. While we were setting up shop, the keeper asked us if we would like a bigger pad for 10E/ night. Our quaint room was a bit cramped so I dragged our bags up to the 3rd floor room. This minor change would have unforseeable consequences in a few hours.
Never ones to stay in one place very long, we jumped into the car and headed off into the sunset to check out Siena. Following the random twists and turns of the GPS we found Siena without event except that we briefly entered the ZTL before making a hasty U turn. We’ll find out in a couple of months whether we’ll pay for that. Parking and driving in italy have not been nearly as scary as the palm sweating nightmares I had envisioned, but the ZTLs can be a bit tricky to pick out on a dark, drizzly evening while going around a hair pin turn.
We walked toward the Piazza Campo through the charming narrow alleyways of Siena. Lots of tourists window shopped along with us. As we strolled along the worn stone pavement. We had a great dinner of lamb, beef, and porcini mushrooms. It was quite a treat. Afterward we found the piazza campo where Lynne and the girls ran, danced, and played in the quaint clamshell shaped piazza. A cup of gelato finished off a perfect day.
Well, it was ALMOST a perfect day. After driving home we discovered we had no bottles in the room. We left the cooler at the first apartment before we upgraded to a larger apartment.This isn’t the sort of thing that will crash the market, but we gave our girls a small bottle of milk at bedtime when we travel. They likely wouldn’t have noticed this hiccup except that were way over tired and still a bit jet lagged. Reception was closed of course so we couldn’t go back to check the first room. The resulting crying and screaming wasn’t as loud or long as a Lady Gaga concert, but I don’t think we’ll be receiving any Christmas cards this year from any of the other guests at San Lorenzo.
Where we stayed :
We stayed in a one bedroom apartment named “Badessa” (it was funny because one of our daughter’s name is Essa : Bad Essa). The apartment is part of the 20 apartments at San Lorenzo a Linari. It is a beautiful old farm house building in apeaceful countryside, 15 minutes drive from Siena. Our bedroom is equipped with a kitchenette, large living area for the sleeping tents and a dining room. The views from the bedroom is breathtaking. Truly an amazing place among the beautiful rolling hills of Tuscany.
Check out the reviews on tripadvisor here.