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!


13 June 2013 Bello Perugia

PerugiaThe bells! The bells! Poor, tormented Quasimoto. I know how he felt, and I’m sure I detect flat notes (tones) in the clashing of these peals sometimes. Fortunately, through the week, they mostly chime the hours – but you can’t rely upon them for accuracy.

Anyway, on the matter of being a foreigner yet trying not to stick out like a sore thumb there is the old method we often adopt of apparent: ‘walking with purpose’. This requires a little more pace, a little nonchalance and less gazing up at all the frescoes et al while, of course, carefully avoiding the dog poop. But it came to me the day before yesterday while sipping a beer al fresco opposite another basilica: the key to being local is to be trailing a dog. So, in one of my inspirational moments, I have devised a business model which could be franchised around the world. It will be called “Look-a-Local Rent a Dog”. This brilliant concept (poo bags supplied and a basic language course in regional doggie commands) will allow the tourist to wander the city unmolested by hustlers and will impart in him or her a feeling of what it is like to be a local – they all seem to own dogs. What is it about all these dogs in European cities? Franchise enquiries to “Look-a-Local Rent a Dog” c/-the author.

Bassilica, cathedral, church. I’m afraid I struggle to see the difference; there are two (one with a dome and the other a steeple) in the view out and down from our Albergo window.

Laundry day today, if we can find it, and some checking out further rail routes – may go down to Naples soon. Ah, Napoli!

Found it. Long walk: past a fabulously ancient Etruscan archway, a city entrance of olde, and downhill to the University area – all ancient.

Hosts at Osteria in PerugiaDamn it. Had to happen. After dropping off our laundry back at Albergo we took a bus to the central rail station down in the new town (where we first arrived here) to check out rail fares to Napoli. Firstly though, we set out in search of food. Perhaps we are getting better at this, but after setting out in a random direction we soon encountered an Osteria that was packed with workers on their lunch break. I’d spied the Fixed menu option outside of 10 Euros for 3 courses. I have to tell you (again?) the quality and generosity of servings is impressive. My 1st of spaghetti al fungi had about 5 varieties of mushroom/fungus in it and was delicious and I’m just not going to go on because there is more to life . . . isn’t there? But the vino de casa . . . hey, this is just an ordinary plonk, right? But it is far more palatable than your cask wines back down under. Yep, they really eat well and plentifully here like in Spain. Say no Moa!