Leaving Florence was hard to do because it was an easy, pleasant environment for us with tons and tons of interesting stuff to see and do. Still, we’ve got our eyes on the South and the very few warm clothes we packed on this trip (2 pair of sox and a jacket each) are getting really dirty. We want warm weather!
Rome was to be our next destination, but we decided to take a stop along the way up in the rolling hills and the wine country of Italy. Perugia is the town we chose. This part of the country is filled with vineyards, olive trees and farmlands. And it’s right next door to the tiny village called Assisi. Assisi is the hometown of that famous monk “St. Francis of Assisi”. His name is “San Francisco” in Italian. He lived about 800 years ago and started a new religious order based on poverty and nature. Today thousands of people make a pilgrimage to Assisi each year to experience St. Francis’ hometown.
We found an old farmhouse hostel just outside of Perugia, rinsed our sox in the sink, and settled in the very quiet and beautiful hills for a few days.
What a relief to leave the busy city of Florence for the quiet Umbrian countryside. The bedroom window in our cozy farmhouse hostel looks over the golden hills and the townscape of Perugia. I could stay here much longer. Randy and I loved getting lost in Perugia, wine tasting in a 200-year old tower with our new Australian friend, Nigel, who happens to be a winemaker. What fun tasting the wine and cheeses of Umbria with someone who so enthusiastically enjoys them and knows a lot about the topic. We also spent great time with Keralee, a lovely woman who directs and writes and works as a scene stylist, which Sharon thinks would be very cool to do; and cute students, Sarah (from University Place, Tacoma!) and Darcy (who gave me great info to use in Israel).
Sharon and John run around the farm upsetting the honking goose and petting the cavorting goats; as well as delighting themselves with the discovery that they can roll on the outdoor pool cover as if it is a huge waterbed. They assured me they were very careful during this investigation, but my heart did skip a beat when they showed me their new “toy.”
The farm was really cool. It was a really nice hotel in the country. It had free internet access in the hotel, a phone, a computer to use, a table and stove, and even a fridge. My highlights about the place were foosball, swimming, and when the cover was on the pool, rolling onto the cover. Also the goats. My unhighlights were the demented goose, far walk from the bus stop, and really hard-to-follow bus routes. That’s about all I really didn’t like. We met a great friend named Nigel. He is Australian. At the very end he said if he ever ended up in Seattle he’d come visit us and we gave him a coca cola and our email address.
Going to Piazza IV Novembre (Perugia’s main square). For most people it is an easy bus ride then a short maybe five minute walk, but not for us. Oh no. It takes US four hours to find the dang square. I guess our first mistake was getting off the bus to late. Well it wasn’t really our fault. There were no signs to help us know when to get off. Our next mistake, I think, was not staying with our friends. We separated and I think they got to the square a lot sooner than we did. Our next mistake was just bad luck. We started walking and an hour later we had seen a few neighborhoods but were right back where we had started. Finally, we stated off in the right direction. We walked down streets, up hills, around corners, through where a school was being let out and we still didn’t find the Piazza IV Novembre. We weren’t too sad because we found another site, Cappella Di San Severo. It is like a little church/museum where we saw a fresco by Rafael. It was pretty chipped away but we could still see the basics. After we saw the painting, we went for lunch. We had a great lunch of pizza, pasta, and bread in a little restaurant under a building. After lunch, we were really determined to find that dang square. So we started walking, realized we were going the wrong way (again), turned around and started walking the right was, or so we thought, and you know what? We WERE going the right way! Finally, after four hours of looking we made it to Piazza IV Novembre.
P.S. My favorite part of the hotel was the foosball and when John and I went and laid on the top of the pool cover. It was so exciting!