Magical Perugia

14 June 2013

A couple more days in magical Perugia.


Taking steps. One doesn’t find these hilltop towns in Oz or NZ but for the uninitiated the narrow streets and alleys are all linked with steps. Thousands of steps – mostly of a gentle inclination there being such heights and declines to manage – and they meander between tall, ancient buildings whose close walls look as though they could collapse upon you at the slightest shake. But they do not bulldoze and rebuild here. We snuck into one that was under renovation and everywhere we looked they had preserved all that they could of the very, very olde bricke/blocke/stone walls and stairwells. From a conservationist stand point it is laudable. I just hope they don’t get an earthquake or tremor as, though they replace mortar where they can, the old mortar – in some cases centuries old – can’t be too strong.

Mi turno. It was my turn – while trying to find the Laundromat – to trip and fall. Rachel managed to do it in Apia (oh, just remembered, I literally fell ‘flat on my face’ in Leauvaa, Rachel’s family village – made a helluva mess of my face too). This time I had a clean fall, chucking the bag of clothes to the ground and putting my hands out (now why couldn’t I do that in Leauvaa). I broke my fall without any damage. Rachel saw me trip but thought I’d recover; I didn’t. The smooth, worn but very uneven flag and cobblestones of the streets and footpaths are quite treacherous – probably worse in the wet, but I don’t imagine anyone is going to try suing the City for damages caused by them.

150613 On a train to Rome . . . but, once again Rachel will miss out on seeing la grande dame of – in this instance – Italia. We’re just changing trains there for Bari, way down the south east coast. I don’t have an interest in monster cities packed with tourists. Rachel may choose to visit there some other time.

PerugiaPerugiaYesterday, in our favourite little town of Perugia, we had another accidental lucky find. In taking an alley at random on our walk, we encountered a little old church out of which was coming the sound of horns – so we entered. The building (of only 8m wide by 30m long) had an arched and domed roof that was gaily painted and frescoed with angels and biblical scenes which, though often colourful like these were, I am beginning to find slightly ludicrous (blokes with wings??). Never mind; the acoustics were perfect and the music was coming from a set of students under the tutelage of one maestro and they were all playing saxophones. Big (bass?) ones, medium sized (alto?) and small sized ones (tenor?) and a couple of complicated-looking clarinets. These were pretty advanced students and the music they were playing (reading) was complex. The sound was rich, trilling and very pleasing to the ear. Yes, I meant ‘trilling’; the one piece we recognised was Flight of the Bumble Bees – no mean feat to play on a saxophone I’d guess. As I say the acoustics in the old church were perfect and it was another great yet random experience for us. We shall miss Perugia.

It’s hard to equate what we are doing with ‘Travelling’. ‘Journeying’ perhaps, but it feels more like ‘Visiting’.

From the train windows we can see vast areas of grapes and olives under cultivation. In spite of Italy’s small size I’d venture that their grape cultivation, at least, equals Spain’s. We also note massive solar farms and many hundreds of wind turbine generators. Italy, like Spain, Portugal and Greece may be considered a basket case, but at least they have been using natural, eco-friendly resources to get there.

Keep burning the coal and selling your gas offshore Australia – while keeping the people distracted with your bitchy politics!