Last week I was lucky enough to hop on a plane and spend 5 days with one of my best pals in the glorious Tuscan city of Siena. Olivia has been living there since September as she is currently studying at the university. This meant that I was able to experience the historical, cultural and most importantly culinary highlights of the little city with the invaluable knowledge of a local! Learning about the medieval tradition of the Palio- a horse race run around the Piazza del Campo twice yearly- and the importance of the city's wards, known as 'contradas,' each represented by an animal or mascot, really helped to enrich my appreciation for this tiny Game of Thrones-esque city.
A day trip to nearby Florence was a highly enjoyable part of the trip, made even better by the fact that Olivia and I were picking up a lovely pair of poor bedraggled travellers from the train station, whom we went on to enjoy a very raucous night with, Siena style. We took in an amazing meal from a local Osteria with Olivia's boyfriend and other Italian friends, all of whom were great company, as well as a contrada party and a bit of shape throwing at 'Bella Vista'. Waking up in time to catch my plane home the next morning was a serious challenge, but thankfully it all worked out.
A really, really memorable holiday. Thanks to Olivia!