Another day and another mooring in some soulless cargo port. This time it was Piombino in Italy. However, for us, this was to be the gateway to a day out to Siena. Unfortunately this meant setting the alarm for 6am to ensure that we were ready to get our coach for the two hour drive. It was also surprisingly cold which meant the use of my one and only jumper that I had brought with me on the cruise – I wouldn’t take it off again until we got back onto the bus in the afternoon!
I’m not a great fan of organised tours for a number of reasons, the main ones being that you cede control of the agenda for the day and you get herded like sheep. This even went as far as having dictated to us when we would be going to the loo! A mandatory toilet break was built into the schedule at the coach park and with so many people spilling off coaches it took half an hour for everyone to comply!
Toilet break done we were shepherded into Siena where there followed a mandatory guided walk around the city. This included wearing ones of those damned wireless headsets that marks you out as a tourist so you could hear the guide. Or not in my case as it wasn’t working so I had to rely on Helen for snippets of information. “1756”, “10 horses!” Etc etc.
After an hour of wandering the backstreets with an over enthusiastic guide we were released and had two hours on our own to explore and this was much better as we were able to get away from the crowds and see some of the quieter places.
Siena is a beautiful city with touches of Venice and Florence but as with everywhere else there is the constant conflict between the location and the cars. I don’t think that anyone ever has said “Do you know what would enhance that ancient monument? Cars!” but so often places are ruined by allowing cars to park nearby. Today was the same with car parks right by a number of places.
Lunch was at a sandwich (well panini) shop in the central square. There was outside seating which was reached by a spiral staircase followed by a hunched walk through a small room to wooden benches. It was worth the effort for the view and the roast pork panini was great too.
Our time was quickly up and we had to make out way back to the coach for the two hour return trip. It was an early sailing today at 15:30 so we had to be away promptly to ensure a timely return onboard.
One of the things I love about cruises is the variety of places visited and we also look on them as tasters for places that we might like to make a return visit to in future. Siena would definitely be on that list especially if we could coincide it with the horse race that takes place around the square twice a year. One more for the bucket list.
Tomorrow we are back in the home port of Naples before transferring to Sorrento.