Kapoors Year 4: The Med/India/Sri Lanka travel blog

We Took The Bus To San Gimignano, But Had To Make A...

After Entering The Walled 11th Century Town, We Looked Back The The...

Before Long The Street Widened Enough For An Enterprising Businessman To Set...

Most Streets Are Narrow With Windows And Doors Along Much Of Their...

As The Streets Climb Up And Down, Sunlight Is Allowed To Shine...

I Would Have Loved To Sit Above This Little Gate In A...

I Was Fascinated At The Hooks On The Walls And The Many...

This Door Knocker Was Particularly Beautiful, I Think It Was My Favorite

Another Beautiful Door Knocker

Someone Found Another Use For Those Fancy, Schmancy Door Knockers, Clever...

This One Has Metal Pulls Set Into An Alabaster Frame, One Pull...

This Home Has A Metal Device That Needed To Be Turned To...

These Cross-Shaped Thingys Had Us Stumped, They Were At Least Ten Feet...

It Was A Cool October Afternoon, And If A Cafe Was In...

Most Businesses Catered To The Tourists, If They Didn't Eat, Perhaps They...

Ceramics Anyone?

Perhaps This Design Would Appeal To Those Who Have Fallen In Love...

Soap On A Rope, Leaves And All!

Not Just Knickknacks, But Large Decorative Items For Those Who Haven't Travelled...

This Store Was Made For Me, I Love All Kinds Of Baskets...

And Of Course, Something For Children, Swords From A Medieval Town

People Actually Live Here, People Actually Do Laundry Here, I Want To...

We Were Thrilled To Be Visiting In The Off-Season, Fewer People In...

An Old Stone Well In The Middle Of A Small Plaza, It...

This Small Door In The Exterior Wall Leads To An Olive Orchard

Here You Can See The Olive Trees With Their Distinctive Silvery-Green Leaves

One Woman Tore Off A Branch To Take Home With Her, A...

Here You See The Olives Beginning To Ripen, I Like Them Best...

When We Came Around A Corner And Saw Two Of The Remaining...

The Sun Was Sinking And It Lit Up The Western Side Of...

The Shadows Were Beginning To Deepen On The Narrower Streets, This Elderly...

We Climbed Higher And Higher To Get A Better View Of The...

Here Was Toscana (Tuscany) In All It's Glory, Just Like The Movies...

We Looked Off In Another Direction And It Was Just As Beautiful

Vicki And Anil Under The Tuscan Sun

There Were Originally 72 Towers, Built By Wealthy Merchants To Trumpet Their...

It Was Hard Work Climbing To The Top Of San Gimignano, Time...

The Towers Contrast Beautifully Against The Autumn Skies

Time To Push On To Siena, But There Were More Shops To...

Italy Is Of Course The Land Of Pinnochio, He's Everywhere, He's Everywhere

If You Don't Take Little Wooden Red Puppets Home, Perhaps Another Variety...

If Not Red Wine In A Bottle, How About Olive Oil In...

Then Of Course, There's Always Pasta, Can't Get Enough Of This Fine...

We Passed Out Of The Main Gate In The Wall And Headed...

Looking One Way, I Could See Rows And Rows Of Grapewines Off...

Looking The Other Way, I See Another Field Of Grapes Shining In...

We Climbed Aboard Our Bus, And Set Off Down The Tree-lined Road,...


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Anil picked up a brochure in the lobby of our hotel in Florence and read about a day trip that would take tourists to Pisa, San Gimignano and Siena over the course of twelve hours. At first he thought we should take the tour, something that we almost never do, but then he was put off by the price and the early start, 8:00 am. He began looking into the distances to these three ‘must-see’ places in Tuscany, and read about them in the Lonely Planet.

He learned that they were all easy to reach by bus or train, but that San Gimignano and Siena were in one direction, south, while Pisa was off on its own, to the west. We decided to make two days trips and see all three places on our own, keeping our hotel room in Florence as our base. Ah, freedom from dragging luggage down cobblestone streets. We decided to see San Gimignano and Siena first; they would require a bus trip as they are not on the main rail line, and this would be a new adventure for us in Italy.

San Gimignano is a tiny medieval town on a hilltop deep in the Tuscan countryside. The name refers to the 11th century towers that rise above the town’s historical center. There were 72 towers at one time, built as monuments to the wealth and status of some of the residents, but only 13 remain today. The streets are narrow in summer, the crowds are daunting, but we planned to go on a weekday during late autumn, so unless we came in mid-winter, this is a good as it could get.

The bus terminal was easy to locate, it’s next to the massive train station. We had learned from our experience in Nice and stood very near the bus when it pulled into the loading bay. People in Italy don’t queue; seats on the bus are not assigned. I used my elbows and my height to get some good seats on the bus, not too far back, with a large window on the shady side of the bus. We were out in the countryside in no time and the scenery was just as it’s always been portrayed in the movies and travel posters, stunning. We knew we had to change buses in a small town, so we took the opportunity to check out the train station there and to have a cappuccino like the locals. Anil loved the name of the little town, Poggibonsi. He even asked me to take a picture of him under the sign on the train platform.

It was a short ride from Poggibonsi to San Gimignano and as we passed through the fields of grapevines, I spotted the little town high above us. I had to pinch myself that we were really here, ‘Under The Tuscan Sun’. We spent the afternoon wandering through the narrow twisting streets and enjoying the views of the valley below, stretching off in all directions. We ate our picnic lunch and then indulged ourselves with a glass of local wine at a viewpoint. It was a pricey place, but the wine was delicious, the wine glasses elegant, the view priceless.

Back out the front gates of the walled town, off to the bus stop and on to Siena. While we waited for the bus, we chatted with a couple from Vancouver. We shared travel stories and life histories (we had arrived quite early for the bus because we hadn’t consulted a schedule) and they gave us some pointers for places further south. We explained that we were heading for Venice and on into Croatia. They admired our plan but couldn’t believe that we would leave Italy without seeing Rome. That would have to wait for another trip, perhaps Year Six or Year Seven. They couldn’t believe our lifestyle; we couldn’t believe they still wanted to work.

Our bus made it’s way back to Poggibonsi where our fellow travellers got off to change for the bus to Florence, and we carried on to Siena. It was a fleeting time with fellow Canadians, but we do enjoy talking with folks from home and exchanging ideas for places to visit, foods to sample and the ups and downs of life on the move. Shortly after they left us, two young women on the bus leaned over to chat with us and told us how much they liked Siena, that it was a great place to stay, and that we should consider it the next time we come to Italy. Another chance meeting, another friendly couple.

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