Tom & Sue’s Excellent Adventure…Day 4 Siena

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(Thursday Sept 19)  Buongiorno……what a glorious sleep.  We didn’t get up until 9.  We made fresh cappuccino and later had breakfast of farm fresh eggs, procuitto  and hard cheese, even though I had to cook it was great and relaxing as we enjoyed our meal on the patio.  I think I could live here!

We spent all of the morning and didn’t leave for Siena until after 3.  It took that long time to fix the e-mails and address book that disappeared. I did manage to get in a load of laundry(small machines).

As we were getting ready to leave, Sue was sending out another e-mail to catch up, when she was shut down by AOL.  We tried everything and I finally called them in the states and wound up in India. go figure!  They shut Sue’s e-mail down BECAUSE OF THE ACTIVITY as I tried to explain to him what we were doing.  They thought we were running an elicit business from that address.  He questioned the number of e-mail sent (1000’s)and I told him “we have a lot of friends, don’t you?”  He finally opened the account but we can’t send mail for 24 hours.  So you get inundated  again as we send photos and new trip reports.  Sorry!

We set princess (our GPS) for a destination outside the walls where there was parking but she decided to take us through the city.  That was not fun, driving down narrow streets with people always in the way.  You are actually not allowed on the city unless you are a resident we found out later after we were stopped by a cop.

The head of St. Catherine of Siena on display in the Church of St. Catherine in Siena
The Head of Saint Catherine of Siena on display in the Church of Saint Catherine in Siena.

I took a side street that showed parking and we parked on a steep hill and ventured on.  You can walk Siena all the way around in 30 minutes…..not us! It took us 45 minutes to find our first destination, St. Catherine of Siena and the relic’s of her head and finger at the Basilica of St. Catherine and Dominic.

You can’t say that these Basilica’s are beautiful but they are rich in religious history. We got to pray in front of the chapel of St. Catherine for just one intention for here, Sue niece, Jill Catherine Wagner.

We left as it was getting late and decided to get the car and out of the town and drive to the other side of the city on the right roads.  We reset princess and after having had to back up out of wrong way streets 3 times I decided to follow a delivery truck.  I was right, he was out of there to.

The Piaza in Siena Italy
The center of town, the Piazza, in Siena. The square is famous for hosting the “Palio” horse race and also is home to several architectural monuments.

We followed the road around the city almost going back in twice.  Tired and hungry(I promised Sue Pizza tonight) we almost gave up when we spotted the entrance to St. Francesco.  We parked in the lot and took the escalator up to the town.  I counted 300 stairs as we rode 5 different escalators  to the top.  If we had to walk we would have been at the Pizzeria.  When we entered the Basilica is was the same as the last, we didn’t care we were here to see the miracle, the only problem was where was it.  We met a priest dressed for Mass and his English was good enough to have a great little conversation.  We asked what time he was going to say Mass and he directed us to the corner of the Basilica as he told us Mass had just started.  Again if it wasn’t for the cop who stopped us we would have been on time!

After Mass the priest and the few people there processed out of the chapel to the chapel next door where the priest ascended to the huge tabernacle behind the altar, unlocked it, to expose the miracle host.  It doesn’t get better than this when you are blessed for your stupidity.  The priest said benediction and I could follow in Latin as I remember those prayers and hymns from my altar server days.  Too bad my Italian didn’t stick!

The moment was incredible. We have been to Lanciano and Santarem to see the 2 greatest Eucharistic Miracles ever and this one was just as inspiring for us.(read the Story)

After Benediction we made a beeline for the door and pizza.  It was almost 7 and I said to Sue it will be dark when we finish, are you OK going down those streets in the dark?  She said we can get pizza tomorrow, even though we had little to eat at the farm.  She said she didn’t know we had to fast also on this trip.  I told her, look on the bright side, I was losing weight.

We came back elated that we had accomplished all that we had come here for in such a short period of time and are back on the computers and doing another load of wash(me).

As it turned out we had enough cheese, meat,tomatoes and bread to survive.  I can’t wait to finish and lay down in that glorious bed for another sleep. But it’s time to pack and get ready for what awaits us tomorrow.

Good night and God Bless.

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