With two long days of traveling behind me, I am finally back in Daytona Beach. The last week seemed like a blur, rushing by so fast that I can scarcely remember what happened. It’s hard to believe how far away from home I’ve been for the past five weeks. Only two days ago I was still sleeping in a cozy monastery on the hills outside Siena, and now here I am, back in the Florida heat and loving it.
For our last few days in Italy, we all took the time to enjoy what we loved most about the culture. I made sure to fully enjoy my last cup of chocolate chip and mint gelato. Also, Joe and I spent a lot of time wandering the shops of Siena, buying the rest of our gifts to take home to friends and family.
On Wednesday morning after Italian class, Enzo took us to the Torture Museum in central Siena. I think the place is more of a tourist attraction than a natural Sienese sightseeing stop, especially since we passed one in Florence a few weeks back. However the features inside do relate to much of Europe in the medieval times, and many of them even claimed to still be in use. We saw all kinds of torture tools from spiked interrogation chairs to limb-trapping metal splints and a cat-o-nine-tails whip. The museum also boasted amazing life-like figures that either demonstrated the use of a torture tool or represented some of the famous horror myths of the times, such as zombies, werewolves, and the many faces of Dracula and vampire creatures. Although I believe we were allowed to take photos I refrained because frankly, the images we saw were not ones I want to remember.
Later in the day we went as a class to the Duomo of Siena. This would be our last view of the beautiful churches of Italy. We gazed one last time at intricate mosaic panels on the floor, solemn religious paintings on the walls, and great statues and carved altars spread our around the magnificent rooms. There was even an enormous pipe organ high on the wall. As each of us wandered through the church our thoughts began to turn to packing and preparing for the trip home and we soon began to slip away in small groups to head back to Vico Alto.
Before saying our goodbyes and taking our leave of the area, we had one last hoorah at the Irish pub in Siena. Then we all began to head out in ones and twos for our points of departure.
Friday morning, Joe and I left bright and early with five pieces of luggage between us. We had accumulated a bit of extra weight with all the gifts we had bought so it worked out that I had gotten that extra suitcase in Rome. We dragged the luggage down to the bus stop, took our last city bus to the train station, and were soon on our way to Rome. Once there it was a fairly quick trip back to the airport and before we knew it we were in the air.
The fantastic feeling of being home after a long journey is keeping me from feeling any longing to return to Italy just yet. But perhaps after a week or so I might have enough distance to reflect on what I’ve experienced and how my perspective has changed. For now I think I will focus on delivering my Italian gifts, dining on hamburgers and fries, and relaxing on the hot Florida beach.