A day in the life of a year abroad student in Italy: PART 3
Arrive home, unpack and eat my daily grapefruit.
NB. Grapefruits are one of the best health foods of all time. Just saying.
Have a shower.
Start making dinner. Much to my flatmates’ amusement, I am definitely getting progressively more ‘Italian’ when it comes to my dinner times. I can even claim to have now eaten dinner at 10pm which I ended up doing the other night! Say it proud, say it loud.
In keeping with the return to my healthy living lifestyle and (unlike my kitchen in Chile) with a decent and more often than not, quiet and deserted kitchen to cook in, I am now taking full advantage of those Italian marble work surfaces.
Even if it means eating around this time.
Finish eating and procrastinate in some way for a while, which normally involves scrolling through Facebook, Instagram, or sending my mum photos of some flag-throwing, drum-beating procession or other form of daily Palio preparations which are now happening on a regular basis here, before washing up.
This week’s example…
…on the 31May the final three Contrade to be racing in this year’s Palio were drawn from lots as spectators gathered in the Piazza del Campo in their masses to await the result. The flags below represent the Contrade that will be racing this year on the 2 July.
On a side note, the city of Siena is divided up into 17 Contrade; Aquila, Bruco, Chiocciola, Civetta, Drago, Giraffa, Istrice, Leocorno, Lupa, Nicchio, Oca, Onda, Pantera, Selva, Tartuca, Torre, Valdimontone. I shall explain more nearer the time as Siena’s twice annual and Medieval horserace dating back to the 1200s, the Palio, is what I am currently writing my Italian extended essay on. Each year, only 10 Contrade race. Therefore, whichever Contrade didn’t race last year are automatically guaranteed a place in this coming Palio on 2 July whilst lots are drawn for the remaining 3 places. This is what happened the other day as crowds gathered in their masses to tentatively await the remaining three flags to appear from the Palazzo’s window. Unfortunately, my Contrada (Aquila) will not be racing this year. Nevertheless, it is all extremely exciting. I’m telling you, the Palio is a BIG deal for the Sienese, and something extremely unique and historical which I have never come across anywhere else.
Depending on whether anything exciting is happening in Siena’s few yet much frequented bars, this point is normally crunch point. Stay in? Or go out? I am not going to lie to you, recently Siena has turned me into a full-on Italian nonna…actually what am I saying, the nonne are often still strolling about having their evening passeggiatas arm in arm long after I have made the easy decision of getting into my pyjamas and settling down with a mug of camomilla tea whilst watching some episode of the Italian version of Gilmore Girls or some other dubbed film.
Full moon over Siena from my window
However, I have not turned into a complete crazy-cat-loving grandma just yet…well, I think. Normally a couple of times a week, there is live music at our beloved Cacio e Pere which will start at about 11pm. Often coming from a different locale (one which guarantees better food with a 7-9pm apertivo) we will often sneak in and grab a front row spot despite often not even buying a drink at the bar…there’s no need to hide it, the beautiful barman knows what we’re up to as we’re there often enough. However as you can see on this occasion, aperitivo was not on the agenda as not only am I trying to cut back on the carb-fuelled buffets which accompany an apericena, but I genuinely do not want to see another piece of pasta, bread or pizza for about a year. However, aperitivo or not, at Cacio e Pere you are normally guaranteed a great night of music, dancing and even a drink if we’re going all out!
Live music at Cacio e Pere
Music over, a good chinwag later, and the short 10 minute walk back past the campo, to home I go.
Before bed snack…some things never ever change
Bed at last.
(Obviously had to shower again, didn’t I!)