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When I started my retirement travels - the first of which was my solo overseas trip to Italy in 2009 - I wanted a way to share it with family and friends as it happened. Hence, "My Travel Journal". However I realized I wouldn't always be on a trip and wondered what to do with the blog in between times. My daughter pointed out, wisely, that travels can also include trips to the kitchen to try a new recipe, trips to visit family, trips to my neighborhood Starbucks, or a fun day trip with a friend. You're welcome to join me on any of these journeys!

P.S. I've set up separate pages for each of my major trips (see tabs above).

I recently added an "Italian Word a Day" thingie which shows up at the bottom of every page. You see the word and can click to hear it pronounced. I've been enjoying it and I think my accent is improving as time goes by.

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September 30, 2010

Wednesday and ...Ah, A Much Better Day...

I had a good sleep so woke up feeling ready to do my best to tackle the day.  First thing I tackled was the shower and, sad to say, it has one of the floating, clinging shower curtains that seem to be so popular in Europe (well, I should say inexpensive Europe, to be fair).  And this one doesn't even reach the floor of the little ledge that is supposed to keep water of the bathroom floor so it just goes spraying out.  Strange... I did finally discover that if I leave the curtain open for 4 or 5 inches, it doesn't billow quite so dramatically.

Anyway, after breakfast on the beautiful view/really chilly enclosed terrace, I marched out to accomplish a few things.  First order of business was to bite the bullet and buy a new camera, which I did, first checking to see if mine was fixable, which it wasn't.  This one is also a Canon point and shoot and is sort of the next generation after mine, but is similar enough to mine that I can use it without an instruction manual, which is nice since there are 4 manuals included with it:  Italian, French, German and Dutch!  It seems kind of unfair that they include Dutch but not English.  I get the feeling a lot more people would be able to use the English version than the Dutch version.  But anyway, I got it and it's a pretty red which is always nice. :) 

Then I made my search for a memory stick which ended up in what I thought was an Apple store cause they had the Apple symbol on a sign in the window.  However, I noticed that underneath the Apple it said "reseller" so I don't know what kind of store it was.  But, they had memory sticks so I bought one and now I'm back in business.  I can take pictures, edit them, type my notes (and e-mails), transfer everything to the memory stick, go to the Internet Point, put my memory stick in their computer, and Bob's your uncle!

I also finally found the Tourist Information place, got a nice legible map of the city and a little book of "walks" through the city, and got information on how to get to Asissi which I'm tentatively planning on for tomorrow.

This is the Fontana Maggiore and I'll admit it doesn't really look like too much, but it's sort of the center of everything and has been there since 1280 so I think it deserves some respect.  And the people who designed it were certainly hedging their bets - there are three tiers and each tier has various real, symbolic, allegorical people, symbols, etc.  There are zodiac signs, along with religious notables and supposedly even some figures from Aesop's fables!  I will probably try and get some closer shots at some point, although I'm pretty much unable to tell what anything is.  Saw one panel with a lion and decided that was Leo, but probably it represents something else.

And this is the cloister of the Catedralle di San Lorenzo which I will have pictures of somewhere.  My picture taking has been kind of random so far.  But this was a lovely little spot.  The cathedral itself is not considered much by the guidebooks - it was never given a gorgeous facade outside so it looks kind of rough.  I'm going to go inside tomorrow and see what I think.

And, then winding my way out of the cloisters, there was a courtyard - they're just tucked away everywhere!

All of that made me feel very much happier and plus which, wandering around finding those places was pleasant.  Perugia is intriguing...I don't think there's really anything much "important" to see here, but the entire historic center is an incredible maze of tiny, twisting, ancient walkways, sometimes covered by arches connecting the buildings on each side overhead.  Then there are streets wide enough for cars to use, lined with some really lovely shops.  All the shops are small and I'm going to try and take pictures of some of the more unusual ones.  I took a picture of a real, honest-to-goodness butcher shop yesterday where the butcher actually gets out the cleaver and cleaves!  And there's a shop that has sells all kinds of dried beans in bulk.  She also has olive oils, jams, chocolate, and such, but the specialty is obviously beans.  There are lots of clothing stores, but again quite small and their windows are little jewels of display.  And again, as in Florence, I don't know how people over here afford to get dressed in the morning!

These next three pictures I took cause I just love the streets (although they're hardly wide enough to be streets) that wind away.  I stood basically in the same place and took all three of these going in three different directions.

And here's a nice one of the arches I was talking about - they're everywhere... 

And this is the wonderful butcher shop.

In addition to the tiny lanes and more normal streets, there are piazzas (squares) everywhere!  On the one right up at the end of my street is their National Gallery of Art which may be one of my visits today.  It's about the only thing my guidebook mentions, although the five walks routed out in my little book from the Information center tells about various things to see on those routes so I'll try and work in one or two of them while I'm here.

My location is very good.  I'm a short walk down from the main street through the center of the city, the Corso Vanucci.  My street, by the way, is the Via del Priori and my hotel is the Priori.  It's a funny place, fairly run down in some ways (the hallway outside my door has badly bubbling and flaking paint patches, my bathroom door is peeling at the bottom [no wonder since it is constantly being showered!], etc.), but then they have a glass enclosed elevator that rides up the outside of the building which is so unexpected.  And the breakfast room looks out over the roofs of the surrounding buildings.  If it wasn't so cold, that room is also surrounded by an open terrace which would be delightful.

 This interesting building is right across the street from the hotel and I have no idea what it once was - it now seems to be the outdoor eating area for a restaurant, maybe, although I don't see a restaurant anywhere around the eating area.

I almost forgot to show you the view from the elevator...

I made a mistake in my choice for lunch - tried for another wood burning oven pizza and it just wasn't good.  But that left me able to get hungry for dinner.  To help me wait until a reasonable hour for dinner, I went back to the little caffe I visited yesterday and just got a pot of tea.  I'm really enjoying my tea breaks, partly because of the chill and partly cause of my cold.  It was nice cause when I went in, the man who waited on me yesterday recognized me and greeted me with a smile.  I think it pays to have a really weird hairstyle!

For dinner, I worked up my nerve to try this place that is right across the street from my hotel and that I had been keeping my eye on since getting here. But never did I see anyone eating (the tables that I could see were in the very back behind a wine and olive oil shop type area).  I asked at the hotel about it and neither the man nor the woman had never been there, although the woman did tell me that you eat upstairs, so I said "well, I'll go and bring back a report".  And I was just delighted with it.  For one thing, the prices were about the most reasonable I've seen and for another, it was just such a neat decor.  I'm going to ask them if I can take a picture of it cause I really liked it.  And, I ordered a pasta dish that was sauced with olive oil, porcini mushrooms, and black truffle!  Very, very delicioso!  I came back very content, got a little pot of tea downstairs to bring up to my room and that was my first full and satisfying day in Perugia.

And this is the view out my window at night.

Buona sera!


Christopher said...

Sounds like a nice day, to put the other day's woes behind you... How neat to have a glass elevator on an old building---but I guess that is far easier to retrofit on the exterior, than the interior. And I'm glad the new camera is working out!

January said...

I'm SO GLAD you bought a camera! Good decision, for sure - you'll enjoy yourself a lot more, I think.

It seems you're in quite the quaint, old place right now. I can't wait to see what you discover as you go poking around tomorrow!

Way to stay strong in the face of adversity :) xoxx

vrmichie said...

Oh Mary Lynne! It is so charming and it is so good to hear you sounding like yourself again. Those little streets make you want to take every one but what sturdy legs you'd need to live there. Don't you sort of wonder how they manage to get supplies and builders into those tiny areas? The butcher shop looks so modern which comes as a shock after seeing all the ancient buildings. And I love the concept of hedging bets on the fountain or is it a building? Your night view is lovely so buona sera to you and looking forward to your next post. xoxo

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