Monday, July 6, 2009


So its been a while and as Tawni has so kindly reminded me "catch up with your blog!"

I will try my best to recall and help you to live vicariously through the extremely historical experiences I have happened upon so far.

July first.
Jacquie woke up VERY early. She did a lot before I even stirred including climbing the hill behind our camp site. Oh yeah! So we are staying at this camp site up on a hill overlooking Florence in an old olive grove. It has the best view, great beer, hot showers and a huge set of stairs to climb to get home every night! I did eventually wake up and we set out to explore Florence. We found a "bar" (as in coffee bar) and had capelloni (I think) Jacquie is so much better with this language. It was like ricotta cheese creamy delicious with mini chocolate chips rolled in a semi crunchy shell. A bit of heaven to go with our cappuccino. Then we set out on foot and made all kinds of discoveries. Like where the science museum is not :op we took lots of pics and strode down many streets and got the lay of the land. We had terrible pizza for lunch and were scared to try pizza again after that. (Don't worry we eventually did). I really don't remember much from this day except my feet hurting from all the walking. We pushed like we only had one day to see Florence and covered a ton of ground.

July 2nd
Today we got up extremely early (5:30am) to catch a bus to Siena at 7. We practically ran to the bus station and I sprained my ankle pretty bad on the way. Not wanting to slow down or think about how tight my shoe was becoming, I tried my darndest to keep walking. Once in Siena, we met up with PV and he showed us around. Siena is definitely a town anyone could fall in love with. Its cobble stone goes up one hill and down the next. Its tall brick and stone buildings are hardly spaced wide enough for a tiny car to pass through. Today it was adorned with the flags of different contradas (neighborhoods as far as I could tell) and everyone was wearing a scarf to show their colors. There were gangs of the same contradas parading through the streets following horses all dressed in matching colors. A lot of pride was being flaunted and history being replayed. You didn't wear a flag and walk alone without getting roughed up by another contrada. We met a lot of hearing and deaf students from the states and deaf people from all over Italy. We learned as much italian sign as fast as we could. It was one of the top experiences of my trip so far. So many different dialects too! The older deaf folks relied heavily on spoken Italian so that made it hard for us folks that didn't speak it. Jacquie has been interpreting for me since she got here. I'm so surprised at how much she learned in such a short time. I don't know what I'm going to do when Jacquie leaves me. I know nothing of the language here. Maybe ill go to England instead. They sorta speak english :)

Anyway, some deaf folks cooked our group some great Italian cuisine and then we all headed to the Compo. We stood there for 5 hours total. 2 hours waiting for it to start so that we could have a good view of one corner of the track. Then the parade started. It lasted one and a half hours! Each contrada had their own group of flag bearers that waved and tossed and put on quite a show and their own drummers and knight and horse and all kinds of midevil weapons. There were 17 contradas in all. They were all dressed up like pages and wow I can't explain but someday when I get home I'll show you. At the end of the parade was these 4 HUGE white oxen that pulled this wagon with the bishop of whatever church this race was dedicated to and other important people. After the parade the horses and their riders came out (bear back mind you) and started their way around to the starting line.

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