I started out with breakfast later than usual and then ended up staying there longer than usual because I met two ladies my age or more who travel together a lot and are from Australia. We had a really nice visit and it turns out that after they leave Perugia, one is going on to Rome and the other to Florence and the Florence one (Jo) and I have agreed to get in touch in Florence and have dinner which is a nice little treat to look forward to (as if being in Florence weren't enough!)
So with a later start, I decided that first thing I would do is visit the National Gallery, or perhaps I should say the Galleria Nazionale Dell'Umbria - it sounds so much more impressive. And it is very impressive. It's in the huge Pallazo dei Priori (which I finally found a translation for - it means Palace of the Priors) and has 40 rooms filled with mostly, as usual, religious art. But there is work from the 1300's through to the 1800's, so it is really an incredible collection. And the gallery itself is very nicely laid out. You're naturally guided through it room by room which I found helpful and each room had at least some explanation in English, although usually whatever I was curious about wasn't included in the explanation. :) But it was very enjoyable and towards the end, when I was sort of passing by yet more crucifixes and Madonnas with just a cursory glance, there were finally a few rooms that had other subject matter as they became more recent, and that was nice too.
They be stylin'...
By the time I was done with that, I was getting hungry, it was about 1:30, and I decided I would go back to the hotel to get my umbrella as it was looking kind of threatening, and then go find lunch. And it's good I went back! While I was there my phone rang, and it was Jane and Betty Lou, the ladies whom I will be meeting up with for the truffle hunt on Monday. They had told me they were coming to Perugia on Friday and would call me around 4:00 just to meet for a glass of wine or whatever and here they were down in the lobby of my hotel! So, it was perfect timing and down I went, we went and found a place to get a bite and a sip, and sat for quite a while and had a nice visit. They have a car and are really making me think I may have to finally get brave enough to try that sometime. I showed them where the Tourist Information office was (neat to be able to actually show someone where something is), and we were there for a little while, then wandered back to Corso Vanucci, I showed them the entrances to the Collegios and the National Gallery and we went our separate ways. But by now, it was around 4:00 I think so I didn't know quite what to do next. Except that I hadn't really had lunch just a little tiny sandwich, so I decided I needed more to eat. Went back to my hotel yet again and got my netbook, went to the WiFi spot to see if I would have any better luck which I didn't, so gave up and went to "my" caffe and had 2 little pastries and a nice pot of hot tea and worked on my Thursday photos for a while.
I'm pretty sure this shop is only blouses!
While we were visiting, Jane told me that she had bought a Vodaphone and showed it to me. I had seen the name here and there but hadn't paid any attention - didn't know what it was. And what it is, is, a thing you buy, put a SIM card in, stick in a USB port on your computer and, voila! - you're on-line. Amazing! Incredible!! Stupendous!!! So, thinking "well, this is apparently my electronic trip to Italy", I decided to go look into this miracle.
In Perugia, black, grey and white seem to be big right now...
That ended up involving quite a bit of walking, now in the rain (thanks for the umbrella, Peggy!) but it was interesting because there seemed to be a lot going on in Perugia. I walked by a piazza where they were setting up a stage and people were already gathering, then after that came all kinds of old sports cars (maybe new ones too), but Alpha Romeros, Triumphs, others that I didn't recognize, but neat. Then I had to take the escalators down, down, down (since auto traffic is severely restricted in the historic center, these escalators were put in to get people from the bottom where the train and bus stations are to the top).
A little tea and jewelry and ??? shop
After you get down the first escalator, you enter the Centro Servizi Museali Della Rocca Paolina which I understand to be the remains of a fortress that was built on top of the medieval homes of an important family around 1540, following a particularly bloody battle between the family and the pope who basically came in and wiped out as many of the family as he could lay his hands on, razed their home/palace and built the fortress on top of it. It is a very atmospheric place. Jane and Betty Lou had talked about getting lost in it and I can see why. I didn't have my camera with me and I'm going to go back today and get pictures and try and find out more about it. There must be a place where you actually "go in" because it's one of the places I can visit with the museum card I bought.
They're all very tiny but very attractive...
Got all the way down and found the Vodaphone place, spent quite a while there and decided, okay I'd try it and hope to heaven it worked and, guess where I'm typing this? In my hotel room!!! I won't really get my money's worth out of it this trip (aside from the hassle I'll avoid my last few days here in Perugia), but it's like a cell phone. I can use it anywhere I would go in Europe - just buying a SIM card good for that country. But, oh, I was nervous while I waited for it to be activated and see if it was going to work or not, cause if it didn't, I would have wasted a nice chunk of change.
This is the bean and ... store I talked about
Back I came and by now, there was a band and singer up on the stage, a great crowd of people lined up waiting to go in a building for something, and just lots of activity (still really nasty, wet weather).
And that was pretty much it. I ended up not going to the nice restaurant's music/reading thing cause they looked quite crowded and I didn't think they'd really be too happy trying to find a place for one person to fit. But around 8:30 is when I found out I could get on line with my computer in my room, so I enjoyed that for a while and then got really hungry and around 9:30 decided to see if this place I've noticed on my street might still be open. I've always been intrigued by it - it looks like one of the very small sandwich-type shops that are everywhere except kind of classier and there's always music being played that's I guess "avant-garde" which made me shy to go in. But it was open and I didn't feel like walking any further so I went in. I was the only person there and it turns out it's a place that in the evening you buy a drink (in my case wine) and then help yourself to whatever they have sitting out on the counter. I had a place like that in Santo Spirito that I discovered last year. So I had my glass of wine and some delicious pasta salad, a salad of what they said was rice but almost looked like barley and had all sorts of bits of veggies and stuff in it, an egg thing that looked sort of like poppy seed bread actually, but it wasn't. But it was a dense "cake", obviously baked, and very good. Then while I was eating, they brought me a little plate of various cheese ball type things and then a plate with seasoned, bite-sized bits of carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, onion and I don't know what else. So it was quite wonderful. There was no place to eat upstairs but you go downstairs and there's this room with tables surrounded by parsons style chairs completely upholstered in a brown, crocodile-patterned leather (or fake leather). Really kind of fantastic. And all of that for 6E. I'll go at least once more and take pictures to post.
And this was a kids' clothing store - their other window had baby and toddler clothes and they were all black, white and grey also - very sophisticated I guess, but when did babies become sophisticated?!
Then back to my room, a pot of tea to take up stairs with me, and, again...