Sunday, March 17, 2013

Spring Break: Siena & Perugia (March 7-10)

March 7: As much as I disliked being in a car during spring break it definitely had its advantages. If we wouldn't have had the car for transportation we wouldn't have had the chance to see all the hills and country sides of Italy. That was the Italy I wanted to see and I am very lucky to have had that dream come true. We would stop and get out of the car every once and awhile and I would just look around at all the olive trees and vineyards, take a deep breath, then hop back in the car. It was truly breath taking.
Anywho, March 7th we packed up our stuff from Lucca and headed to Perugia. We decided to stop in Siena since it was on the way and that was a place where my aunt and uncle really wanted to go. It was a nice break in the drive to Perugia also. While we were in Siena we did a tour of the Siena Cathedral, the baptistery, the cathedral museum, and the crypt of the cathedral. There was definitely a lot to see. The chocolate festival happened to be in Siena as well so we enjoyed some chocolate. The rest of our time there we spent walking around and window shopping. We each got a giant slice of pizza for lunch before we headed off to Perugia.
When we finally got to Perugia it was already dark so we just unpacked and checked out the hotel. We were living like royalty that's for sure. It was like a palace. We stayed at the Brufani Hotel Palace. We did end up going for a little walk outside that night but it didn't last long because it was pretty cold and foggy. Oh, and I found my dream vespa!!
March 8: We started our day off with a wonderful breakfast at the hotel. We had met a couple at the bar the night before, Robert and Susan, who we also saw at breakfast. It was nice to be able to talk with some people about our travels. Meeting Robert and Susan has definitely been one of my top memories of my trip so far. They are seriously two of the nicest people you will meet. We brought a map of all the major things to see in Perugia and one of the first things we went to was the National Archaeological Museum. Right next to that was the San Dominico Church. It was probably my favorite church I had been in. It wasn't over decorated like the other massive cathedrals (of course it could have been because it was being restored). I like that the only real elaborate thing was the stain glass window at the front. I don't think you need paints or statues at every corner or a church to praise God. I also don't think that having the nicest cathedral or most beautiful cathedral makes you a better Christian. Honestly, some of the statues and paintings really freak me out and make me want to run out of the churches/cathedrals I have been in. So it was nice to feel comfortable in the San Dominico. The walls were white and there was plenty of natural light coming in along with plants. I liked it a lot. After that we headed to this art museum with more contemporary works. It was a very short exhibit but we found out about these museum cards you could buy that for students they were 6 euro and for adults 10 euro. The card allowed you to get into any of the 5 museums listed. It was a good deal since most museums are between 4-6 euro. Being a student definitely has its advantages :) We went to the Etruscan Well afterwards which only took 5 minutes to see but it was neat.
March 9: We first checked out the Exchange Guild (Collegio del Cambio) which was really neat. We were able to get into this place with our cards. This was where they exchanged gold back in the day. After that we went to the National Museum of Umbria. So much art, it reminded me of the Uffizi a lot but it was more spaced out so you weren't drowning in art. After that we decided to take a hike to the Sant'Angelo Church. The oldest church in Perugia. It was a circle shaped church which made it different compared to all the other churches I have seen. We used our last museum admission in the tower next to the church. At the top of the tower we got a spectacular view of Perugia. We did get lost trying to find the Sant'Angelo church so it was a long day of walking and rerouting. We spent our night window shopping and exploring the streets of Perugia.
March 10: Sunday was our last day together. We enjoyed one last amazing breakfast at the palace (Brufani Hotel). I even got to say good-bye to Robert and Susan. They gave me their contact information and said if I am ever in Cali to give them a call. I hope I find myself that way some day because I really enjoyed meeting them. The car ride didn't seem very long until we got into Florence. That's when the driving was unenjoyable. I just don't like being in a car in a city whether it is an American city or an Italian city, I just feels claustrophobic. We got the car back to the garage though and spent the last hours of light walking around together. We had lunch at the Clubhouse, got some gelato, and enjoyed the evening along the Arno. We watched as the storm rolled in and saw some crazy lightning. We said our good-byes and I headed back to my apartment before the rain came.
 I am so blessed to have had such a wonderful spring break and to have had the chance to share it with my aunt and uncle. I got to see the views of Italy I have been dreaming of. I am so in love with the Tuscan region, Tuscany will have a special spot in my heart forever. The people are so genuine and the land is so real and beautiful. The small towns reminded me of home so it was a comforting feel like I was in a familiar place. I will never forget this amazing adventure. 


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