While uploading pictures in Brussels I just so happened to catch several friends online. Not having talked to most of them through my entire trip, Nic asked me what the best thing had been so far. I really did not have an answer for him, as so much had been incredible and hard to compare. I now have an answer though.
Our last full day before leaving Castleflorentino we decided to take the train to Siena rather than Florence, as it is about the same distance. I will be honest... upon first arriving I was not sure why our roommate had told us it would be so great. It seemed like just another Tuscan town and I did not know what we could possible do all day. The city actually lies more on the hillsides than Florence or Castleflorentino which seem to rest in the valleys. So it was quite an uphill hike just to get into the city.
One of my favorite parts about just wandering through a city, rather than searching out particular destinations, is that when you do come upon something beautiful, unique or amazing you sort of feel like it is your own personal discovery. This day our discovery was quite a treasure in my book.
As we crossed over a bridge we found ourselves facing a huge brick-colored stone wall. It stood at least 50 feet high or more. Next to it we saw what seemed to be a park so we wandered on in. As we strolled through this park area we realized that this giant wall stretched on and on and even wrapped around. It began to look more like the wall of a fortress than anything else. When we looked up to see people walking above we knew we had to find a way up top.
We found a doorway into the wall that turned out to be a wine-tasting place. They told us they were closed so we explained that we were simply trying to find a way to the top of the wall, so they kindly took us through their cellar to the staircase. Unbelievabley, they entire top was a park in itself. We set foot into the sunshine and were knocked back with the sweetest and strongest scent I have ever smelled in my life. The funny part was, there was not a flower in sight! Confused, we wandered a little further and through a stoned archway. The other side was draped in tiny yellowish colored flowers''you could almost see no wall at all! It was magnificent!
Wandering on through the fortress top park, we found ourselves at the edge of the highest point. After over looking the entire city and the facing hill and those that stretched on for miles for a couple of minutes, I was so happy when Dani read my mind and said she would be satisfied getting food and spending all day up top. I completely agreed. While I am sure we could have found other nifty places and buildings in Siena, there was something so perfect about this view we had found and I knew spending the day there would be perfect.
So we did just that. We went back down to grab sandwiches and then spent the next two hours sitting on the edge of the wall. (Good thing my Mom was not there or there is no way she would have let me sit on the edge of a 75 foot wall.) It was almost like being in a meditation state. The sun was warm but the breeze felt incredible and there was no humidity at all. The land stretched on for miles...this was the Itlay I had pictured in my head and had wanted more than anything to see.
I let my ipod play through some Enya and George Winston just to keep my mind at ease and it is crazy how deep into thought I was able to go for such an extended period of time while Dani wrote in her journal. It was hard not to think of my life in general and the countless blessings I am surrounded by. I had seen numerous beggers on the streets only the day before, and while I am pinching my own pennies on this trip and could not give up money to one after another, I always said a small prayer as I passed them. I again thought of their life compared to mine and the things I have been able to do while I am not even 22 years old yet. I looked at the beauty of the land in front of me and was grateful for being able to be so appreciate of it. I thought of the countless friends I have back home and especially of my special family that anyone should consider a blessing to be acquainted with, let alone be a part of. Everything was so perfect it nearly brought tears to my eyes.
It could not have been planned better as I sat in the train that evening and as it pulled away my favorite Lord of the Rings piece, "The Breaking of the Fellowship," was the first song ot come on. The orange sun was was setting in a pink sky hidden partially by purple clouds. It was day twelve and my adventure was halfway over and I had spent the most beautiful day under the Tuscan sun.
Auntie Joanie... you will love it.