Danielle missed her connection in Germany. The last message I got from her was “Trying to catch 12:15 plane. See you at train station in Roma.”
The cafe where we had agreed to meet at the Rome Termini had shut down. I decided to wait at the end of the platform, hoping she would choose to walk that way. A train arrived from the airport every half an hour. She wasn’t on the first. Nor the second. I wondered if she had made her flight, or would be arriving much later. The third train arrived. There she was! We had missed our train to Siena, so stood in line to see if we could either get a credit or rebook. The agent looked at our tickets. “No good.” “Okay. Could we rebook for a later train?” He pulled up a schedule, scribbled a time on the paper, and said, “Be on this one.” “Can we use these tickets?” I asked. He nodded. “Do we need to pay more?” He shook his head. We walked away, not really sure what had happened, but knowing we had an hour to pass before boarding the train to Firenze/Siena.
On the train, Danielle mentioned that it seemed strange that we were going to Firenze then back down to Siena. I thought for a moment. Yes, that was strange. We took out our tickets. Oh. They didn’t say Firenze. They said, Chiusi-Chianchiano. Then transfer to a train to Siena. We looked at each other questioningly. Were we on the wrong train? We pulled up the trenitalia iPad app. We googled train maps. We brought out guidebooks. We couldn’t figure it out. The ticket collector came by. I looked up at him, with what might have been a little bit of panic in my eyes, and said, “I think we’re on the wrong train.” He smiled and took our tickets. “Oh, no. You’re fine. You get off at Chiusi-Chianchiano. Three more stops.”
We relaxed and got our bags down from the overhead compartments. At Chiusi-Chianchiano, we waited for the train to Sienna, surprised when a single car showed up. We boarded, along with a handful of others, and started the ride through the beautiful Tuscan countryside.
We arrived to our hotel around 9:45 pm. Hungry from the journey, we headed to the closest restaurant after dropping off our bags in our room, a loft at the top of the pensione. Maybe it was because we were hungry, but I don’t think so. Each meal seems to be getting better and better. We started with a plate of salumi, mozzarella, rocket, and bruschetta, followed by two plates of delicious pasta. Danielle had a spicy gnocchi in tomato and meat sauce and I had a combo of our waiter’s two favorite dishes, gnocchi in a special green sauce, and rigatoni with meat sauce. The tables were close together and we bonded with the couple next to us over discussing the merits of amaretto vs. grappa (amaretto wins, hands down).
After dinner, we thought a short walk would do us good, before falling into bed. We stumbled down an alley and both of us gasped as we entered the piazza. It is enormous, flanked on one side by a city hall. Tonight there was a smattering of activity at the restaurants along the edge. I can’t wait to go back during the day and see it in all its splendor.