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Report 454: Florence On My Own: Three Weeks of Studying Italian and Very Slow Travel

By Marian from New Jersey, Spring 2004

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Page 5 of 21: A long-anticipated luncheon is so much fun!

photo by Marian

With Joanna, Colleen and Carol

Sunday 9 May: This date has been circled in my calendar for months now; it is the date of the ST GTG. Originally a rather large group - headed by Livinwell (Deborah) and Bill Thayer - were supposed to meet in Umbertide (Umbria) and go exploring some sort of ruined structure in Migianella del Marchesi. But these plans have fallen apart, and so several weeks ago, Carol M, Joanna (who is restoring a house in the Val d’Orcia), ColleenK and I have arranged to have lunch in the country, at a charming restaurant called La Rosa del Trinoro. (Actually, Janet and Carol have arranged it, with Janet finding the restaurant.) I meet Colleen at 8:30 am at the train station, and we travel to Chiusi. We have some extra time before we are to be picked up, so we take a taxi (7 €) up to the town proper, and visit the famous Etruscan Archaeological Museum there. Then we wander for a bit, around the cathedral and the main square. There is a festival going on, with visiting children from somewhere further south dancing in costume.

We head back to the train station, are met by Carol and husband John, and head off through the town of Sarteano to Castiglioncello del Trinoro and the restaurant. It is so great to meet the ST’ers I have been “chatting” with in Private Messages. (Cristina and Brigolante were also planning to attend, but are unable to join us.) Carol and Joanna are both charming and bright, and each has a terrific sense of humor. We feel like old friends. (Of course Colleen and I are in fact old friends by this time!) Joanna’s family is there as well --- her sister, brother-in-law and nephew from Australia, along with a friend of theirs.

We have some drinks, then sit down to lunch at two tables. We make it clear that however the seating is arranged, all we ST’ers must sit together, and Joanna’s sister’s friend joins us.

We eat delicious food, drink wonderful wine (selected jointly by our waiter and Carol, whose Italian is daunting!) talk, dish and laugh. This is truly great! Finally, the afternoon is over. Carol and John return us to the Chiusi train station, and we are soon back in Florence. Colleen is returning home to Cambridge the next day, and I am starting school.

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