The landscape on the way to Siena is very beautiful with rolling hills and green fields. Twisted rows of straight cypresses mark a road, and villages cling to hilltops with houses closely guarding the church tower.
Close to Siena there is roadwork and a long line of cars. The pace is snail-like and we do not arrive until 10:30. Like in other Tuscan cities the bus must pay 230 € just to unload and reload. A thriving business!
Siena looks almost like it did in medieval times with narrow streets and old tiled houses the colour of - you guessed it: sienna. No wonder the city is a tourist magnet.
By the San Domenico church we meet the local guide. TG is not allowed to guide here without a local authorised guide in tow. She is pretty and pretty useless. I prefer a visit to the restroom to the church.
Before we get to the cathedral we pass the chapel of Saint Katarina. TG lectures in great detail about her life and virtues. The Danish author Johannes Jørgensen, who converted to Catholicism and moved to Italy, wrote her biography in 1915. It will remain one of the books I shall never read.
The cathedral is impressive, and I like the marble floors in particular.
Wild boar is one of the city's culinary specialities, and wild boar hams and sausages are on display in many deli-windows. Hams must have a bit of bristle remaining to verify that it is indeed wild boar and not just a pig with a bad temper.
The city square, The Campo, is mussel-shaped and we can see why it is famous; when you enter this space from the narrow streets it strikes you with awe.
Five Norwegians and we follow TG's lunch suggestion. By the market is Ristorante La Finestra and here we get bread with wild boar ham and salami and wine ad libitum. Dessert is three kinds of cheese, tiramisu and coffee.
After lunch we stroll at leisure and then return to a café by the parking lot, where Ido will pick us up at 16:30. We just want relax in the shade - it is getting too hot to walk. Others have got the same idea and soon we are all at the same café and TG may as well call Ido.
Dinner and thunder
At seven we settle outside the hotel with an aperitivo. The weather is very nice, warm and not too hot. The hotel dog Asso, a dachshund, patrols his territory leaving no doubt as to who is proprietor.
Helle tries to make friends, but hasn't got a chance - she is way down the hierarchy and is just ignored. Mamma comes outside and tells him to watch out, and at once he is on guard and carefully checks for intruders.
Dinner is served at 19:30 and today we choose the soup instead of pasta. It is carrot soup with bread croutons and a pinch of grated cheese. It does not taste much of carrots, but the colour is a pretty yellow.
The main course is fish, but when asked I prefer "carne" (meat) and get a huge slice of tender veal. Dessert is a delicious airy cake with apple, candied peel and raisins.
We enjoy our coffee outside. Drops begin to fall and in the horizon heavy thunderclouds are lit from within. The clouds drift our way and there are sudden gusts of wind - a sure sign. Helle and I move inside despite TG's assurance that nothing will happen.
Half an hour later the others flee from the rain. "It will be over in 30 seconds", says TG, but soon sky and earth is one and the light blinks. When we go to bed it is a violent thunderstorm.