Timeline: October 6th – 10th
The drive down to Siena went smoothly and we pulled into Camping Siena Colleverde in the early afternoon under overcast and slightly muggy conditions. I had camped here in 1979 with Rendy Richards and then again in 1984 with Joanna, Heike, and Francois, that memorable occasion when we stumbled upon the Palio.
Setting up camp that afternoon sent me down a nostalgic path, laced with the knowledge that it would be the last time I’d put up the tent for the trip, our anticipation being that we would stay in hotels and cabins for the rest of our time in Europe with two separate sets of guests arriving soon. The fact of setting up didn’t depress me, but it did make me realize how far we’d traveled, how many times we’d camped, and how fast the trip had gone by.
As mentioned in earlier posts, its nice to return to place like this which is so full of memories, also a pleasure as it is a very good campground, with excellent facilities and easy access to the heart of Siena. We would camp for five nights, then move to a two-bedroom trailer when Lyndsay Richter arrived on Saturday. She is a good friend from Charlotte, the Marketing Director for the Division (Student Union, Activities, and Recreation) of Student Affairs we both work(ed) for at UNC Charlotte.
The restaurant/market at camp is closed on Monday so we walked a block or two down the road to a row of shops that included a pasticceria (pastry) and small alimentary (food), both of which would see frequent visits from us in the coming days. The pasticceria featured a delightful Rum Baba that oozed sweet rum syrup. We’d consume a number before the end of our stay in Siena and we began to think up ways to duplicate them at home.
We popped into the alimentary and picked up some pasta, sauce in a jar, carrots, zucchini squash, onion, and garlic for a meal at camp and enjoyed it later with a bottle of red wine. This simple meal, a meatless change from our usual diet, was a staple for us, filling, healthy, and easy to prepare in camp on backpacking stoves.
I’d gone on line with the iPad Mini to check out the Apple Store in Florence. Fortunately for us, it is located in a suburb in a large shopping mall, making access and parking easy. As with most of the stores we’ve encountered here, they required an appointment at the Genius Bar. None were available that day do I made one for the next day. Keeping in mind that a repair would take a few days, we decided to take a chance and drive up there on Tuesday to jump-start the process.
The drive to Florence takes a little over an hour from Siena and fortunately only a short portion is on a toll road. We arrived at the mall, anchored by a Panorama Hypermarket, where the store is located, parked the car and went inside. I approached the intake staff member who fortunately spoke pretty good English, explained our dilemma and he advised that without an appointment they couldn’t help us.
We explained our dilemma again (drove up from Siena, traveling with limited availability, etc.) and he advised we’d need an appointment. This went on for another couple of rounds until we put on our most pathetic unhappy tourist faces and that made him crack. He called to the back and the next thing we knew we had an appointment for that day at noon, about an hour later.
We thanked him profusely and repaired to a nearby café for coffees, a sandwich, and a pastry and then returned at the appointed time. I met with a Genius Representative, explained the situation; he confirmed it wouldn’t boot, checked my serial number and advised me that not only was my Apple Care still in force, but if it was the Mother Board, Apple had issued a service bulletin for it and it would be covered anyway (at least that is what he said. This is not supported by reports on line). He said it would take 3-4 days and sent me on my way in a much better state of mind than when I arrived.
We returned to camp and on the way stopped at the large COOP market we’d noticed earlier in our stay. Like our favorite Carrefour’s, this one is huge with tremendous choice. We decided to duplicate a memorable meal from our last stay at Colleverde in 1984, Spaghetti Carbonara. Our biggest challenge was trying to figure out which Italian milk based product in the refrigerated cases most resembled Crème Fraiche.
After ten minutes of trying to translate labels, I finally asked a clerk where I could find the Crème Fraiche. She pointed out the product, I tossed in into the basket and the rest is history. Dinner that night was one of the best of the trip. The computer was being taken care of, an easily assembled delicious meal of Carbonara and a bottle of good inexpensive Italian wine was consumed with gusto, and we closed out the evening planning a bike ride the next day. Some days it just doesn’t get any better.
Camping Siena Colleverde: http://www.sienacamping.com/en
The Palio: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palio_di_Siena
The Palio and Siena on You Tube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R2DvhkRarB8
Student Union, Activities and Recreation: http://suar.uncc.edu/
Rum Baba: http://livingitaliano.wordpress.com/2012/05/31/traditional-italian-rum-baba/
Apple Store Florence: https://www.apple.com/it/retail/igigli/
Spaghetti Carbonara: http://www.jill.net/recipes/recipes/spaghetticarbonara.html