Yes, I am still here….

Arrived in Sienna on Tuesday, hotel OK, only upset them in a minor way saying my room was boring…. However Siena is not.

It is a medieval city having its hey day before the Renaissance so bopping and popping from 1200 to 1400, and so were the cities around it. Now not much more than walled villages, Montacaluno, Pienza and Montepulcianao to name the three I went to.

They all fought each other but the common foe was Florence who eventually quashed them all.

The cathedral or Duomo is magnificent, quite the most decorated one I have ever seen. It is like a frosted Christmas cake outside and inside there is not a piece of it that is not gilded or carved….it has a marvellous chapel that I think rivals the Sistine that contains many large manuscripts , similar to the Book of Kells… There are five Da Vinci sculptures, there were meant to be more but he got a better offer from Florence.

PIazza de Campo where the Palo is run is very quirky, must be exciting on race day with 20k people in the middle and the horses barrelling round the perimeter in a space the size of Cathedral Square.
Enough history, you probably know it all anyway. Loads of tourists but Siena handles it well as it is quite big, not sure of the population but in 60 k range probably.

I became a tourist, went on a walking tour, great, went on a tour to two vineyards in Montaclino, mmmm then on a whole day tour to the above again plus Pienza and Montepulcianao.

Countryside is very rolling think the countryside around the Rakaia Gorge.  Dammit, saw lots of Francigena signs so not out of the hills yet.
Had dinner both nights with my Americans, Polly lived in Italy and knows Italian food.

Only issue has been RAIN.

It rains at night or early morning then clears up , great then absolutely belts down again around 2-3 pm and lasts till 5 by which time you are wet..It is accompanied by crashing thunder and forked lightening…

Hope that does not happen today as 22k is looming and that will take until about 4 pm

So, a nice break and quite fun (for a short time) mixing with people from everywhere on the tours…even a couple from Norfolk Island who knew my cousin.

Just over two weeks and about 280ks left, not sure if the total to date but close to 600ks