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Published: October 20th 2011
Our favourite Italian city
Today was the last full day of our European Tour. We left Siena and headed to Rome for an overnight stay out near the airport to simplify things for tomorrow. If only it was that simple!
Firstly though a big 'thumbs up' for Siena. It ended up as part of our itinerary almost by accident. Originally we were going to spend 8 or 9 days in Cinque Terre to unwind before we went home, however our Travel Agent who had been to Cinque Terre thought 5 nights would be plenty and we should spend a few days elsewhere. He suggested Florence, but because we had covered that with our tour he got out a map and had a look at what was nearby. He suggested Siena, probably because it was the next biggest name on the map! He hadn’t been there and no one in the office could offer much help. After being pretty dubious at first we did some research and decided we quite liked the idea. In the end Siena was our favourite city in Italy, its funny how things work out.
It is in the heart of Tuscany with its wine and food –and something
Cathedral of Siena
Just some of the amazing features inside
I wasn’t aware of was its history in and production of top quality ceramics, which is something that has always been of interest. Siena is a very, very clean city, hardly any graffiti. The old town has all the history, iconic buildings, piazza’s you could want and it’s really easy t find your way around.
With a population of 60,000 it’s a good size and doesn’t have the hustle and bustle of the bigger centres. They also have a football team playing in Siera A and a basketball team that is one of the best in the Italian League (which in turn is one of the top leagues in Europe). The whole Contrada (clan) system is fascinating. It was just a wonderful place to visit.
Our Hotel the NH Excelsior was also just a short walk from the heart of the old town and we received outstanding service during our stay (contrary to many of the reports on Trip Advisor we found the staff awesome!). Our only advice would be to not dine at the Hotel Restaurant, the menu is very limited and it has no atmosphere. There are heaps of great places to eat in and around
Siena Bell Tower
Dominates the skyline of the Piazza del Campo
the Piazza del Campo.
We decided to Bus to Rome (3 and a bit hours) rather than train because the bus station was right outside our Hotel. Our plan was to get a taxi when we arrived to the Bag Shop where Jeanette fell in love with a handbag but didn’t buy it (has that caused me some grief-moral of the story if your wife sees something she really likes –within reason-make sure she buys it), then taxi out to our Hotel. Things got off to a shaky start when the bus was half an hour late arriving. From there it was plain sailing until we reached the outskirts of Rome, there had been massive downpours and the city transport system was in disarray (and the Italians do disarray better than most!). The Metro (Underground) was flooded and wasn’t working, as a result there was a huge amount of traffic clogging up the roads, some roads were also closed which further complicated things. We crawled into Rome and arrived at 12.15pm (our scheduled arrival was 10.45am).
No problem we’ll get a Taxi to the area where the Bag shop is. Wrong again, because the Metro wasn’t working
A fantastic Hotel with wonderful staff, they get bagged on trip Advisor but we found them to be great. The only time a place hasn't reflected the feeling you get from Trip Advisor.
the Taxis were flat out, on the rare occasions one turned up at the stand people would rush the car, pushing and shoving and arguing about who had the right to get in – just not us at all.
We decided to walk to a nearby train station and see if our luck was better there. On the way we met a young girl from Ireland who was studying in Italy, she was going to the main central train station to catch a bus/train to the airport to meet her boyfriend who was flying out for the weekend. She offered to share at Taxi to the Station, which was great because she could speak the language and knew how to get us into a cab without a fight breaking out!
As soon as we arrived at the airport we saw an Airport Express bus, at last our luck was changing (By this time we had abandoned any hope of getting to the bag store). After a bit of asking around we established where we needed to get tickets from and which type – as there are two airports in Rome. The main one Fiumicino we were trying to
Park Hotel - Isola Sacra
Our accomodation for our last night in Europe - what a mission getting here!
get to, and a secondary one Ciampino. Logically most people in the queue wanted to get to the main airport – so of course the first three busses that turned up spanning an hour were all going to the small one! They left with a sprinkling of passengers while the line for continued to grow for Fiumicino. There were two Dutch couples waiting near us and at least we got to have a bit of a laugh talking with them. To complicate things further it looked like the weather was going to break again and we had a few showers to contend with – we were queuing in the open.
The fourth bus was our saviour we were crammed in like sardines, and Rome Airport is a long way out from the city centre (lucky we didn’t take a taxi it would have cost a fortune) not a comfortable ride but at least we got as far as the airport.
We managed to find a local Taxi who dodged most of the traffic to get us to our Hotel Park Hotel Isola Sacra– it was 3.30pm so a tough day and not quite what we were expecting for our last full day in Europe.
The Hotel was kind of in the middle of nowhere, the area was light industrial/residential with a few Hotels - no shops to speak of. An Ok place to spend a night before flying out but not much more. There is a Hilton right next to the airport if people are looking for maximum convenience (no doubt more expensive than where we stayed though).
After dinner Jeanete had the massive task of juggling everything to get our suitcases down to 23kg each-somehow she managed it. The Hotel had a set of scales which was most helpful.
Tomorrow we fly home so will do a wrap up when we get there. Hopefully the Blog has given everyone who is reading it a feel for how our travels have gone, and thanks for taking the time to have a look.
It’s truly been the trip of a lifetime for us and something we will cherish forever.
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hotels daytona beach shores
Siena is a particularly enchanting city bounding with Gothic architecture and Tuscan cuisine, Siena is home to an impressive medieval centre, which is filled with eye-catching buildings. However, due to increasing demand, accommodation in Siena is often extremely hard to find during the summer months and this is especially so during the Il Palio festival. Siena is a very nice city. Park Hotel is a very nice Hotel for stay, Its service and accommodation is very nice. www.daytonabeachquartershotel.com
Roger And Jo
Safe trip home
What a shame its all over,althou i bet you are looking forward to getting home.Have a safe flight and enjoy the footy tomorrow at home.Lots of love Rog and Jo.xxx