The second week in Siena passed by rather quickly. Between classes and exploring the city, I kept busy. One thing I can testify to is exploring Siena will get you in shape. I’ve lost eighteen pounds thanks to the steep hills and stairs of the city. Woot! Anyways, throughout the week I would get out of class and wander. The sun didn’t set until late in the evening so I always had plenty of time to see what was around the next corner.
I explored almost half of Siena during the week. It was fun to find a video store with titles that I recognized such as “Despicable Me,” “The Princess and the Frog,” and “Dragon Ball Z.” Myself and a few others explored the local market as well. It was like Denios at home in California. A huge flea market that can take a few days to travel if you visit every booth. We found everything from clothes and tools, to food and pets. I was looking around one of the pet shops and spent a few minutes debating bringing home a turtle. One, they were awesome. And, two, it would spite my brother since he loves them. I opted out though…I’m nicer than that…
Two of the booths at the market had a morbid sense of humor that I liked. One was a butcher’s shop with a decorated boar’s head on a shelf.
The other was a fish shop with a marlin’s head. The marlin’s “sword” wouldn’t fit in the display case so one of the workers decided to be clever and hooked up a power saw. He cut a hole in the display case for the fish head.
I laughed so hard at how proud he looked that he blushed. He then gave me a slab of salmon at no charge since I enjoyed his little show so much. The man told me to stop by his booth again next time I was there…I stopped. His name’s Giovanni…ok, moving on…
Here are some pictures I took throughout the week. Just some of the sights:
That weekend, all the study abroad students, our instructors, and a Deaf interpreter hopped on a bus and went to Roma (Rome). We visited the Colosseo (Colosseum), the Tevere (Tiber River), and Vatican City. The entire trip took all day. Literally, all day. We spent over twenty hours in Rome. We didn’t get back to Siena until 3am the next day. An exhausting but amazing trip.
First, we went to the Colosseum. Our Deaf interpreter was also our tour guide for the day so everything was in Italian Sign (LIS). In fact, it’s because of this that our LIS class was cut short. We spent all our class hours that were scheduled for the following week watching and discussing what we saw in Rome with the interpreter/guide and with each other. Our instructors were there so they saw how much we were learning and how involved we were making sure to only use LIS so they agreed that we more than fulfilled the requirements for the LIS class. We all liked this arrangement since it meant we got out of classes earlier and could explore Siena more. I don’t have any pictures of the interpreter because I recorded all her information lectures throughout the day. I’ve been using them to practice LIS.
I have learned so much about Italy that I want to share the information such as why the colloseum is missing pieces and where the original Vatican was before it was moved to Rome. Alas, I do not have the room to pour all my new-found knowledge here. However, such facts only make me want to travel more…ha ha, I’m never going to survive a desk job.
After one of the many short but intense rainfalls that are experienced during Italy’s summers, we took a bus across the border into Vatican city. Did you know that? Italy actually has two countries inside it. The Republic of San Marino and Vatican City. Yep, Vatican City is its own country. When we arrived at the Vatican Museum, we had to go through a security check just like at airports. X-rays, passport checks, the works.
Truth be told, I have so many pictures of the Vatican it’s ridiculous. But, everything was so pretty I couldn’t help myself. I’m only thankfull cameras have gone digital otherwise I would have needed a separate suitcase just for the film.
The details on every inch of every building, painting, and statue were astounding as well as thought provoking. Careful lines on a statue’s lips, gracefully sweeping arches standing over fifty feet tall, the complexity and attention to detail of every mural…I really have no words (nor will I wax poetically) for the shear power of the Vatican’s artistic embodiment. All I can do is share a few of the photos I was allowed to take and hope you see a glimer of what I saw.
The Sistine Chapel (Cappella Sistina). No pictures, no admittence if you had bare shoulders or knees (had to cover them up), no grouping together, and no talking (this includes sign language). Gaurds were constantly patrolling in there but it was really cool to see Michelangelo’s murals in a crowded room and hear my heart beating (it was amazingly quiet in there). One woman tried to get some shots and the gaurds got very…lets just say they weren’t happy. One told her she could delete the pics while he watched, let them wipe the entire memory, or give them the camera (no she wouldn’t get it back). Guess which choice she made hahaha. Come on people, show some respect!
That evening the whole group went down to the Tevere (Tiber River) for a big Deaf social with the local Romans. There was a radio staion there too. It was cool. Why was a radio station at a Deaf social? Because Italy is currently going through what America has already finished. A Deaf uprising for acknowledgement. For example, in America, hospitals are required by law to provide interpreters for Deaf patients. Not in Italy. In fact, in Italy, LIS is not recognized as a foreign language like ASL is in America. Worse still, the Italian government doesn’t even recognize LIS as a language period.
The radio staion, Radio Kaos Italy, is funded by the Deaf Italians in order to make Hearing individuals aware of their culture which has gone mostly ignored since WWII. It is mostly an online station since much of the music has videos with Deaf singers. Yes, you read right. Look it up and see it for yourself. It’s awesome!
The social with the local Romans lasted around three hours at which time we were all wiped. We eventually made it back to Siena and back to our apartments. Everyone slept like the dead that night and no one got up before noon the next day. Even after waking up, most people just moved to a different location and slept on. But, it was worth it.