Sunday, January 20, 2013

Simplicity and Surprises: Siena and Soccer

This weekend was eventful for me, and such a blast.  Where do I start?  Siena first.  A common saying here in Italy is "When Siena cries, Florence laughs" explaining the rivalry between the two cities that dates back almost a thousand years.  The saying for my Sienna trip yesterday should have been, "When Siena cries, Corinne cries".  No, I didn't physically cry, but I easily could have.  I'm not the biggest fan of cold (I hate it with a passion), and I especially am not a fan of cold and wet, which unfortunately describes the weather of our day trip perfectly.

Our trip to Siena was filled with fascinating art and architecture; I'm beginning to wonder if any city in Italy is ugly. I'm assuming no.  Siena had a pleasantness that Florence lacked, a simplicity and a quietness that you won't find in the busy streets of Firenze.  No one seemed rushed which is so beautiful compared to the hustle and bustle of America.  My one and only complaint, was the horrible, horrible weather.  As I stated above, it was so cold.  When we arrived it was snowing, which is actually a rarity in Italy, so apparently it was a treat.  For me it would have been a treat if I was wearing a parka, ski pants and snow boots.  The snow turned into rain, and I realized I wasn't going to enjoy the outdoor tour very much.  This was partially my fault, aka I thought I'd be okay wearing my leggings and a rain jacket. Chilled to the bone, I took shelter in anywhere I could find, which actually led me to one of the best cappuccinos I have ever had (you have not had real coffee until you've been to Italy), a delicious lunch of proscutto and funghi pizza, and 13 euro gray suede knee high boots (I basically cried of happiness finding such a steal). Overall the little surprises I found throughout the city made my Siena trip worthwhile.

After a cold bus ride home, a quick dinner, and going dancing last night, I woke up late this morning feeling a little groggy and a bit sore.  But there's no time for tiredness when I had a soccer game to go to (Florence v Naples)!  The Florence soccer team's colors are purple and red, which reminded me of home and James Madison.  Unfortunately, I don't wear purple too often and almost have no JMU spirit gear (I know, shocker), so I was at a bit of a loss on what to wear.  Deciding that it wouldn't matter since my chances of meeting an Italian soccer player were zero to none, I just focused on dressing warm, learning from my mistake from the previous day.  After a long walk, my group and I made it to the crowded stadium.  What did I enjoy most about the game? The fans.  I thought fans in the United States were intense. Nothing compares.  These fans are die hard.  And really mean to the opposing team.  I had the pleasure of sitting in the Florentine section that was right next to the Naples section.  The only thing separating the two rowdy groups was about 30 policemen. The Italian fans were very rowdy, very funny, very loud, and very drunk.  The majority of my time spent at the game was watching the crazy group of Florentine men shouting obscenities at the Naples fans and flicking them off.    They also like to rub their stomachs as an insult, not really sure what it meant it was one of their favorite gestures. It was actually unbelievably entertaining.  There was such a camaraderie felt throughout the stadium, I couldn't help but join in on some of the cheers, although I had no clue what I was saying.  It was such a fun game, although it was raining the whole time, again.  But my day was topped off by another stumble upon, finding a real supermarket, with everything from mousse (which I desperately needed and gave up on finding) to chips (which I have been craving).  The market was only a 15 minute walk from my house, and definitely worth it.

The weekend was a success and I can't wait for next weekend, BARCELONA.  Hopefully it'll stop raining, because this weather is limiting my ability to copy italian women (I have worn a Northface and Bean boots for the past two days- AMERICAN; no black pants with heels, the weather is cramping my style literally).  Maybe I'll just suck it up and buy a Burberry Trench (hi mom).

Overall, I believe I am beginning to understand enjoying the simple things each day that define Italian life.  Come to Italy and enjoy these simplicities with me.


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