Tuesday, September 11, 2012
Why is it that I can never type today’s date without feeling as though I shouldn’t be celebrating anything? 9/11 has become its own planet, wrapped in sorrow and disbelief, no matter that it has been eleven years since the twin towers collapsed, taking thousands of people with it.
Life DOES go on for all of us, but the solemnity of writing the date still envelopes me.
Today we leave Rome, headed for the train station. We board a train to Florence and the Stazione Santa Maria Novella, where we meet Stefano and Fillipo, our private shuttle drivers, who will load our luggage into two shuttle vans. Our Florence hotel, the Hotel Pendini, is centrally located, and we leave our luggage there, but for an overnight bag, before we head to Siena for one night.
Arriving in Siena, we check into the Hotel Chiusarelli, just a block from the Chiesa San Domenica, a beautiful, simple church whose claim to fame is that it houses St. Catherine of Siena’s head in a glass case on a side altar. The Italian Catholics are big into collecting body parts of saints, and St. Catherine is the Protective Saint of Siena.
Our guide, Viviana, meets us at a café across from the hotel and we begin our tour of this stunning hill town. The Duomo (I call it the Zebra Church) never fails to captivate me. Viviana’s information is always fresh, her knowledge is impressive, and the history of this church, the town, the rivalry between Siena and Florence, and the magic of the Palio competition makes Siena a must-stop for my Italy Women adventures.
We complete a wonderful day with delicious dinner at Le Logge, just off the Campo, and we toast to the memories of all who lost their lives on September 11, 2001 with a moment of silence in the midst of the pleasures of travel. We are the lucky ones.
My pedometer tells me I walked 5.47 miles today.