Where Is The Door and Why Did Sandy Order the Salad?
Sep 14, 2011
|Coffee. I need coffee. I'm afraid I'm getting addicted to the coffee make little weird peculator at the house. We decide we want to leave at 8:30 for Perugia so we tell Jack 8. Jack is up in plenty of time but I am the one who is ready last. I'd like to point out, however, I was ready exactly at the appointed time. Time, however, means nothing at the house. We sit around enjoying coffee and looking at the travel books. Think we depart around 9:30.
I think I'm going to drive every road in Italy before this month is through. Driving to Perugia is challenging. It is the biggest city we've visited. We manage to get there with no incidents. We park at the bottom of the hill (yes, this is a theme) and start climbing. Sandy laughed because before I left I was planning the parking but it worked out. We were able to find parking near the escalator. I love the escalator!! Unfortunately, we do have to climb to it.
The escalator ends in this amazing old building. It is such a great way to enter the city. You really get the feel of how old this town is.
Out on the streets you get a feel for how big and busy this town is. Being a city girl, it's kinda nice being around so many people. I hadn't realized how many small towns I've been in. The other nice thing about this busy town is the streets and piazzas are huge so you don't feel so crowded.
We walked to the center of the town. The Duomo and the Town Hall are gorgeous. The fountain in the middle of the piazza is prticularly beautiful. We walked around a bit. We went into the Galleria Nazionale dell'Umbria but we didn't tour the museum, we shopped the museum shop!! Very nice.
We were hungry around 11 so we started off to find our restaurant of choice, La Taverna. We chose this restaurant because several travel books recommended it and said it was "innovative Umbrian cuisine". We found it off the piazza down a narrow winding street. Really cute. We went in but we were too early - the staff was eating. We decided to walk around. We continued to walk on the narrow street and ended up back in the piazza. We stumbled upon an amazing gelato store that also sold gelato on a stick dipped in chocolate. Definitely having dessert here (turns out this is another place recommended in the travel books).
Back to the restaurant. They have a lovely dining area outside but Sandy wanted to sit inside. The building was really pretty. Food was great. We got bruschetta with truffles. I didn't think I liked truffles but this was delicious. We also got bruschetta with pate. Sandy got a pasta with meat ragu, Sonya got pasta with mushrooms, Jack got pasta with clam sauce and I had an amazing dish, tortelli stuffed with cheese in a lemon sauce. It was on the chef's special menu and it was amazing. No dessert because we were going for gelato. (Not for Sandy. She had a salad in addition to her pasta which she deeply regretted at the gelato store. Jack & Sandy and their food regrets!)
When we got to the gelato place I couldn't decide whether to get traditional gelato or the one on the stick. I decided to get regular now and get one on the stick on the way back. I had dark chocolate and mente. Amazing.
We took off in search of the Etruscan arch and the Etruscan door. After a few aborted attempts on my part, we finally gave the map to Jack. He lead us on a trek to the bottom of the walled town. I have to admit I couldn't enjoy the walk down because all I could think was, I'm going to have to walk back up!! Jack found the arch and it was amazing. It is hard to believe something so old is still standing. We walked back up outside the wall. The tiled roof houses are so beautiful. One slightly weird thing. Lots of folks have satellite dishes - there were big round dishes of varying colors all over the skyline. Many of them had a fairly detailed stencil of Jesus. Weird. Satellite dish to God? Hope they aren't watching porn!!
We wonder around a bit trying to find the door when I simply give out. I absolutely did not want to walk down (and back up) the hill again so I suggested we leave. Timing wasn't perfect because I was too full to get my second gelato!!
We go back to the place with the escalators. All of a sudden the place seemed familiar. The first time I was in Italy (1996) I visited Perugia. I walked all over town looking for the Etruscian arch. It was supposed to in an area where the city had built on top of ancient ruins. The ancient "underground" had been excavated and you could walk though. Part of the ruins contained the Etruscan arch (showing that at least two sets of builder used materials from the past to create something new.) I remembered stomping through the excavation frustrated because I wanted to see the arch. I went all through the ruins and ended up outside, frustrated. I then noticed everyone outside was staring at the door I had just come out of. There it was. The arch was the doorway. It was in of my favorite moments from that trip. Back to 2011. As I'm walking to the escalator I realize I may be in the building built on top of the ruins. There had, of course, been more excavation. I didn't even pause to tell the others where I was going. I just started walking down the hall. Sure enough, when I got outside there it was. Ta Da. I can now leave totally satisfied with my return to Perugia.
Now, off to see more modern sites. After finding the car and the parking ticket (it had slid under the seat) we take off to find the cashmere outlet. Sandy read that Umbria is known for quality cashmere and she wanted a scarf. Apparently there are several outlets in Perugia. We drive to the one recommended in the travel book (Big Bertha's - swear!) but it was nowhere to be found. We stopped in another we saw on the way but they were closed to change their inventory from summer to winter. I had picked up an outlet flyer at the resturant so we went there. Found it. First scarf I picked up was 220 euros (roughly $330). Needless to say, no scarves purchased.
We gave up on scarves and headed to the Perugia Chocolate Factory. We tried to call to make a reservation for the tour but no one answered the phone. We decided to just show up. After all, all we really wanted was chocolate. We had gone to their chocolate store in Perugia. They were so snotty. Yes, the chocolate is pricey but it ain't all that. Couldn't get out of the store fast enough. Sonya did buy one thing but we were waiting for the factory store. We get there. The guard let us through. We get excited. We walk in the visitor center and are promptly told that they are closed for the month of September for rennovations. The folks seem kind of annoyed with us. As we walked out, we see a bunch of posted signs about the renovation. Of course we can't read them, they are in Italian. I've decided I hate this chocolate. (We pick some up later at the grocery store and it truly wasn't worth the trouble or the attitude).
Outlet shopping Italian style was a bust!!
We get back in time for our olive oil tasting with Filippo. I think Sonya, Sandy and Jack enjoyed it. Sonya and I then went to town to get her train ticket, she's going to Pisa tomorrow. Then stop by the grocery store.
Sandy made pasta dinner. Delicious.
So very tired.