We head off to Siena around noon. The plan is to drive, find somewhere to have lunch, and end up meeting a guy at a garage just outside the city walls at 4 PM.
We decide to take back roads instead of the autostrada. Soon we encounter the large beautiful Lake Bolsena. We decide that lunch in the town of Bolsena is a good idea. The town is charming. We choose a restaurant at random and settle in for a very tasty lunch. Yay, I order well and my lunch is the best! Lucky for John and Sarah that I cannot eat it all so they get to partake in my ordering brilliance!
We wander around the town for a bit. We find out that Bolsena is on the pilgrimage trail of St. James. We see the San Rocco fountain where the Saint whose attribute is a plague spot on his thigh stopped on his pilgrimage. There is also an imposing castle high on the hill overlooking the town and lake.
Back in the car for the rest of the trip to Siena. Sarah zonks out but luckily John, the only one of us who can drive a stick shift, does not. We find our meeting point on the first pass and the garage owner whisks us away to our hotel, Il Battisterio, which is across from the baptistry and only minutes from the campo. Our rooms are pretty quirky. Both rooms have bathing facilities that are in the main room. Both are garishly lit. But location, location, location!
On the way to the hotel we see that there is a chocolate festival going on in the campo where they run the palio. We have to check it out. There is every kind of imaginable chocolate. Chocolate bricks, chocolate chips, chocolate in the form of Disney characters, even chocolate clothespins, teeth, and toothbrushes. None of us really cares much about eating chocolate but it is fun to look and we finally make our way over to a cafe and enjoy the action with some snacks and drinks.
Later we make our way to our favorite restaurant here. As in the way of many favorites, when you go back to revisit it, the results are not the same. I get my payback from my wonderful lunch with a vegetarian dinner disaster. My main course is farro and bread meatballs in a potato sauce. Starch, starch, and more starch. Oh well, we have a great time anyway.