Thursday, February 11, 2010
The Choir That Couldn't Sing: Part 6
Are you getting tired of my Italy story? I hope not. Cuz I have 4 more installments to go.
We are now in the lovely city of Siena. And we are in luck! Tonight, in the town square, is the Palio. This is a famous horse race which I have never heard of but which sounds like a lot of fun.
My roommate Lillian and I are good friends by now, even though she has turned out to be even quirkier than I feared and she is indeed at least 100 years older than me. So we decide to go into town after dinner to see what this Palio is all about.
Tra la la, here we go walking down the cobblestone streets when out of nowhere, wow! here comes a horse followed by about 50 people waving flags and singing songs. Very festive and Italian! Arrivederci ciao andiamo cabernet ola! We follow them into town.
When we reach the town square, we discover that it has been roped off like a race track, with hundreds of people in the middle of the square and hundreds more in bleachers all around the sides.
There is nowhere for Lillian and me to go, so we stand in the middle of the track.
Soon a nice policeman appears and lets us know that the race is about to start. Which means, unless we move, we are about to be trampled.
We thank the policeman and find a spot to stand underneath an arched doorway. We notice ambulances parked off to the side and try not to be alarmed by this. The horses go around and around, the crowd cheers, people sing their Palio songs, and it's time to go back to the hotel.
But uh oh, we have forgotten which arched doorway we used to enter the town square. Oh well. All of the arched doorways should lead to the same place, right?
Lillian and I start wandering the dark, maze-like streets of Siena. We wander and wander. We wonder as we wander. Will we ever find our way out? We go in circles, squares, and figure eights. We come to a dead end at a military base guarded by an armed guard who does not seem particularly happy to make our acquaintance.
We somehow, I have no idea how, miraculously, only by the grace of God, just when I thought I would never see my children again, find our way back to the hotel.
... but wait! I forgot to tell you about the Vatican ...