This morning I made my way to the city square to order breakfast-espresso, orange juice and wild boar Ragu with homemade pappardelle pasta  (ya I did!) and contemplated the day ahead. Not so still this morning, boar will do that to you. I decided having seen most, if not all, of San gimignano  that I would like to spread my wings a little and visit the outlying villages/towns. I was told that Siena was beautiful so ‘back at the vineyard’ (I love saying that) I inquired. I was informed that the bus system was limited with it being Sunday so I had three options. 1. wait until tomorrow (I missed patience when they were handing out virtues) 2. rent a scooter (which was out the question given it didn’t come with a gps) 3. or rent a car. I can hear the collective gasp of all of those that know me well. When I considered this before I left Canada someone who has experienced my driving first hand responded without hesitation: “that is not a good idea”. Well then. But so it seems I listen as well as I wait patiently in life. So I just about failed my license in a town without stop lights? Big deal! And yes I may have done significant damage to my brother- in-laws truck backing out of a driveway. Pft. At this point many of you that know me are mentally adding to this list but guess what! Life is too short to limit oneself just because they are not good at something!

So off I go to rent a car. ‘Back at the vineyard ‘,  the nice lady gave me very simple directions on how to get to the car rental place. Well as it turns out I didn’t see all of San Gimignano. But today indeed I did. Lost, overheated and frustrated I asked an older Italian woman I will refer to as ‘Nona’ (grandmother in italian) who without speaking a word of English directed me with her grand gestures and sing song voice in the right direction. Or so it seemed. Before I knew it I was asking another lady who pleasantly led me in another direction. And then another, not so pleasant lady, who told me I was way off track. Before I knew it I had done a complete circle of the entire town. With tears welling in my eyes and sweat on my brow guess who I ran into? Nona…who shook her head when she saw me from a distance yet greeted me in this marvellous  balanced way of demonstrating empathy and utter disappointment. She started to speak loudly this time and instead I turned my gaze towards her beautifully aged pointing finger. And guess what, it was right there in front of me. Ha! Gratzie Nona! So now with a combination of excitement and trepidation for having confirmed all my self doubts I made my way to rent a car.

Sienna bound! I threw on the radio which interchanged between Italian pop and cheesy ’80’s love songs  (apparently Rick Astley still has a fan base), rolled down the windows, hands high on a steering wheel that I could barely see over because I could not figure out how to adjust it and began my 50 minute journey. And and I made it! To the beautiful Tuscan hub of Siena. [Insert applause here].

Another town tucked in behind large stone walls. When I go home I want to build a fortress around my little suburbean home. Because one never knows when one will be attacked or invaded! As I walked up the stone narrow streets my excitement was thwarted by the realization that I had found myself somehow at the tail end of a parade which had just begun. Like a little unassuming gardener snake I slithered my way through the masses only to find myself at the opening of a square; piazza del campo where for centuries is the home of an annual horse racing event. The parade was in fact a contrada of girafao celebrating this tradition.

Of course being me I found a front row seat to eat and drink some wine (just one though’cause I’m driving ?).  I order once again the beef carpaccio which was marinated in chianti ( how could I resist the marriage of two of my favourite things -beef and wine) then Pica Seneca (typical Tuscan pasta) with tomatos, garlic and oil. See post one-simple food with the right ingredients leaves one just as satisfied as having an 8 course meal. I love piazzas. They always have some sort of radical history. It’s in a piazza where people compete, or give historical declarations..or in some cases lose thier heads. Dramatic to say the least.

So to my little village I headed back. Unscathed..I managed to only anger one elderly Italian man whom, with a reddening face, gestured me in a way I’m pretty sure did not denote pleasantries. Anyhow I made it back to my quiet little chamber and  had, for the first time since arriving, a restful sleep.