The horse race of Siena

Trip Start Aug 23, 1996
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Italy  ,
Monday, August 17, 1998

Italy as a country, the way we have decided how expensive it is, is to buy gelato or compare the price of a campground. We arrived in Florence and as we couldn't get into the campground, we parked the Chookster in the big carpark overlooking the city. The view was great, and we had a huge copy of the Statue of David overlooking us. First thing in the morning, we drove into the campground. Locked the van up and went to the town. There are two galleries that need to be seen. The Uffizi art gallery or the museum where the original Statue of David is. We chose the latter and I have never seen a piece of art that is so realistic. Unbelievable and this is art I would recommend anyone to see. The Duomo was great, and then it was time for gelato, and this was the most expensive we had had. Florence was a lovely place but expensive, we only stayed one night, as the campground was outrageous in cost, so we packed up and drove to Perugia. By this stage, as it was so hot, Melanie was sleeping in the van and Lucy and I were sleeping under the stars. Melanie would insist all the windows had to remain closed, hence the outside sleeping. Perugia was good but we had driven to this area as we wanted to see Il Palio in Siena. The twice annual horse race around the town square. We had arrived five days earlier and run into the Aussie couple John and Janelle and they were here for the race as well. For five days there are two practice runs a day. As we had five days, we decided to attempt the 100 club. The five of us sat there. We got to 47, when Lucy got up and she spewed her beer out. At 50, she came back and started again. At 91, John stood up as he thought he was going to throw. He was out. At 97, or another 47 for Lucy, she once again ran as beer was ready to explode. Melanie, Janelle and myself made the 100 shots. For good measure, I did another one. The next day was a right off though, but the following day was the race day. We arrived at 10 and got a spot on the fence, but we had to wait until 19:30 before the race started. Before the race starts, each horse is blessed by it's local priest before the race and there are celebrations going on. Then they make their way to the square. The festivities go on all day, people are dressed in period costume and there are flag waving/throwing competitions amongst other things. By this stage, there were 30000 people in the square, and then it starts. A jockey was thrown early, and in the rules, a jockeyless horse can still win, but the Shell came through. They had not won since 1981 so the fans were crying. It was quite amazing to see. All this for a flag called Il Palio !!!!! The next morning, a truck, once again came to pick us up as our fuel pump had died again. Nobody would sit in the van this time. A brand new pump was put on, and for good measure, we decided to meet up with John and Janelle in Venice as they wanted to go through Eastern Europe and it was much safer with two cars than one
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