Italian time

July 6, 2019

Having now completed a week here, I can say with certainty that one of the biggest adjustments I’ve struggled with is the notion of time in Italy.

No, I’m not talking about jet lag upon arrival, or the time zone difference with family and friends back home. I mean that I don’t know when the hell people sleep here. Read the rest of this entry »

Finishing week 1 in Siena

July 5, 2019

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.

What’s really frightening, though, is the onslaught of “normalcy” that starts after this weekend. Read the rest of this entry »

Il Palio di Siena, 2 luglio 2019

July 2, 2019

Today was the day that Siena has been building up to for weeks now… the Palio race! We had a full afternoon of Palio-related activities, so let’s dig right in.

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Contrada dinners

July 1, 2019

I’m frequently astonished by the amazing sense of community that the contrade exhibit in Siena. And one of the best examples of that is when a contrada comes together to host a community dinner.

We got a taste (literally) of this last year, and I’m officially obsessed.

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Palio 101

June 30, 2019

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.

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Settling in for 5 weeks in Siena

June 30, 2019

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.

Drago flags, welcoming me back!

And THEN I got to my apartment.

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June 29, 2019

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…

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