August 13 – My hosts had other guests checking in and I had an afternoon flight to Florence so I finished packing. I visited with Mili over breakfast and she offered to let me leave my luggage while I went down to the street to see if I could catch a glimpse of the Prague Pride parade.
My limited time was ticking away but I did linger long enough to see a growing crowd of parade goers and a few of the floats as they lined up. I was pleased to see the first float was from Microsoft. My suspicion is the parade would have paled in comparison to those in Seattle, but it was nice to see Prague has an open mind.
I retrieved my bags, said my goodbyes, and made my way to the airport. I hadn’t noticed there were 2 terminals to the airport and sadly made the wrong call about where to exit the bus. Fortunately it was a short walk and easy, breezy security to get to the proper terminal and my gate.
I was eager to get back to Italy. When I first started to plan my summer in Europe I did some research about traditional festivals and events that would be happening during my travel dates. Being a horse lover and former equestrian when I learned about the Palio I knew I had to experience this race. In an unbelievable stroke of luck the travel club I belong to, DreamTrips, was offering a Palio experience. I was on my way to Siena! It was going to be a long day of travel.
The flight left on time and got me into Florence. Ah Florence, I’ve been here before although it wasn’t on purpose. So glad it was under better circumstances this time. Without issue I found the shuttle bus to the train station. The wait for the next train to Siena thankfully wasn’t too long although I did have a little trouble finding the right lane with my train, it was a little tucked away.
It was one of many times I was thankful I’d paid the extra money for the First Class rail pass. The coach section of the train was standing room only and it wasn’t exactly going to be a short journey. Unfortunately it wasn’t a “quiet car” which are also a favorite. A woman had a loud conversation nearly to her stop. The only saving grace were my own headphones that had to be at an ear-bleeding level of volume to drown her out.
As we approached Siena I grabbed my bags and started checking the map to see where I was going. I exited the train and easily found my way to the escalator. An escalator that seemed to go on forever. The section that wasn’t working feeling like the longest run of the escalator that never ended. As I hit the top and walked out the doors I found a relatively empty street. Unsure of where I was going to pulled out the phone for directions. I was SO relieved to find it was only a block or two away.
I’d long since missed the DreamTrips Welcome Reception but was provided with the next days agenda and other helpful information as I checked in to the hotel. I made my way to my room where I settled in for some much needed sleep. I was whipped!