(** This post and all that follow are synopses of the full blogs found on and linked to the Cultural Routes - Blogging Europe website. I hope you'll find your way there and enjoy my tales and photos from this amazing adventure in Tuscany!)
23 May - Afternoon:
The journey continues after our hike on the Via Francigena from Abbadia Isola to Monteriggioni (see June 11, 2014 post)
Winding things up in delightfully medieval Monteriggioni, our Cultural Routes - Blogging Europe entourage feasted on a fine array of the best of Tuscany at a wonderful local trattoria by the name of Il Ceppo. I won't go into great depth here as it's all laid out in my newest EICR blog post blog.culture-routes.net/the-splendors-of-siena-and-the-end-of-our-journey/"The Splendors of Siena - and the End of Our Journey" -- but suffice to say, it was INCREDIBLE!
The next segment of this final day as a team took us to the ancient north gate, the Porto Camollia, of the enchanted town adored by so many...Siena. The entry portal to untold numbers of pilgrims over the ages, we stepped through as modern day pilgrims, ready to discover so much about the history and influence of the Via Francigena in this magnificent Tuscan town.
Follow along as we retrace the steps of the pellegrini on this urban section of the Via Francigena, then conclude with a fitting rustic meal at Orta de' Pecci, not only a fine, rustic trattoria, but also a spot entangled in dark history, yet holding an incredible modern twist of renewal and redemption.
(Full story via link above)
Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive,
and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born. ~ Anaïs Nin
As with everything in our mortal walk, there is a beginning...and there is an ending. And the evening of our time in Siena marked the culmination of four and half incredible, insightful, enriching, memory-making, intriguing days to remember.
But maybe more importantly, it also marked the beginning of new friendships, that human element that is such the gift.
I ponder sometimes at the beautiful notion of the friends I have that I've just not yet met. And this bloggers tour was one of those instances, but multiplied by 9 or more! How blessed I am to have serendipitously encountered this fun, intelligent, soulful, and wonderful group that "lived together" for those 4.5 days.
My desire, of course, is that we will see each again somehow, some way. And that could well happen. But it might not. However, that doesn't diminish, in my opinion, the beauty of the friendship, no matter how brief or how long. The interaction shared forever changes and molds and betters. Yes, such a gift.
Left to right/top to bottom:
Marlys Schuermann, me, Raffaela Caria, Michael Schuermann, Eleonora Berti, Grazia Grimaldi, Luca Bruschi, favorite pilgrim
Favorite Knight, Valentina Meloni, Costanza Giovannini, Mario Mele
Ever wondered what I Tuscan spa town experience would be like?
I was lucky enough to dab my toes in the waters of healing and relaxation in Montecatini Terme recently, thanks to an invitation to travel with the European Institute of Cultural Routes and a team of bloggers and photographers.
Paula A. Reynolds
Traveler or Tourist?