I have arrived. Let the chaos commence. What were my first impressions of the city you may ask? I have a one-word answer for you. Magical. This place is so steeped in culture it might as well be a Meryl Streep movie. It has the perfect blend of having plenty to do for tourists and also possesses the character of a true Italian city. People sit out on the famous il campo with their families and have a glass (in my case, several glasses) of wine or beer and watch the shining day slowly become the starry night. It doesn’t matter who you are- a student, a kid, a visitor or a long-time citizen, everyone is welcome to spend their evenings sitting in the centre of the city. This is something, I think, that is quite unique to Italy. The effortless blend of a city’s population, all coming together, ignoring age or any other dividing factor there could be, is a hard thing to find anywhere else. It really has a way of making a person feel at home quite quickly which for a lot of petrified Erasmus students makes it the ideal place to find yourself for a year.
Finding a place to live for those Erasmus students is an adventure of its own. Siena is full of quirky living situations from converted attics to apartments overlooking sun terraces. Our apartment is great. We seriously were lucky on this one. It is large, historic and it’s in proximity to everything. (I swear I’m not bragging J). Our flatmates are lovely and it’s become a bit of a centre for pre-drinks and casual meet-ups to drink tea or to try work out how one actually enrols in University here. (The jury is still out on that one.) However, it wouldn’t be my life without some quirkiness thrown in. This lies in the fact that both Claudia and I think our apartment is haunted. Like the old medieval vibe and the fact that the doors like to sporadically bang open and/or closed really encourages this theory. Just wanted to put it out there in case one day I disappear mysteriously so you know to call Kate Mckinnon and Melissa McCarthy. Also, we are situated in a flurry of sound. We have the Duomo near us that rings quite frequently, two Contrada drumming schools and a rather shrill neighbour. Two of these things I can forgive. The Contrada drumming schools I cannot. They are going on my list of people who I hope continuously stand on lego barefoot. You may say, “Amy it’s a cultural wonder and part of Siena’s history”. I will literally respond with throwing lego out my bedroom window onto them. The drumming goes on several times a day no matter the time. My personal favourite being the other night at 4am. The other day the two different drumming schools were even having a drum off while the Duomo’s bells were ringing. Safe to say them going on my list is completely warranted.
Despite the sleep deprivation, I do love the randomness of my area. We are located within the Pantera Contrada (meaning the Panther Contrada for those who aren’t bothered to look it up). It seems to be the hot rich girl of the Contradas. You know the kind of girl that thinks she’s too cool and serious to let loose like others but still thinks she is the shit and the centre of the universe. That’s the Pantera Contrada. The other Contrada’s however make up for it tenfold. Ones like La Lupa and La Lumaca (wolf and snail) are the definition of that girl who is constantly white girl wasted and nearly takes someone’s eye out when she dances. *Insert picture of me being white girl wasted, nearly taking someone’s eye out with my dancing*.
It has been a week of hilarious first impressions, a lot of name forgetting and wildly gesticulating hand gestures to try break through language barriers and I have a feeling there will be a lot more of that to come.
Until next time kids! X