Today marks day 7 here, and what a week it’s been… The first few days were all-Palio-all-the-time, and the next couple of days seemed like weaning off of the big race (although there was a freaking parade last night at midnight, two days after?!) as things start slowly approaching normal here in Siena.
It occurs to me that I’ve mentioned Siena and its Palio horse race in previous blog posts, but I haven’t described it or the contrada neighborhoods (and my connection with them) in detail yet. The next several days won’t make much sense to readers without some context, so here goes.
After a series of misadventures by train — broken air conditioning, delayed arrivals, sprinting through the Florence train station with luggage that breaks in the process, and nearly missing my connection — I finally arrived in Siena.
I’ve been here twice before: once for just an hour or so on a tour, and once for a few days that I almost entirely spent working in my hotel room, but as soon as I saw the familiar streets I felt a sense of relief… and then I saw my Drago flags, and was literally hopping up and down in the taxi.
I arrived in Milan a bit early, and felt an unusual trepidation… I’d never made this trip alone. Fortunately I was here just a few months ago, and had slogged through figuring out the trains here once before, so I wasn’t too nervous.
Still, I marched up to an employee and with feigned casualness asked where I could find the train, in Italian. His reaction shocked me…