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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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October 05, 2010

Sunday - More Nice, More Stress

And typed up while on the train between Perugia and Bologna!  And we just went through a tunnel that I know had to be at least 5 miles long and I would guess even more.  Wish there was some way to find out...

But to move on, here's everything and definitely more than you ever wanted to know about this past Sunday!

The original plan was that I would take a bus out to Valfabricca, Jane and Betty Lou would pick me up there and we would go back to their place, have dinner (cooked by the owner) in the agriturismo's dining room, then sleep and wake up read to hunt truffles.

So I needed one more place to walk and decided on the Etruscan Arch, built in the 3rd century B.C. by the, you guessed it, Etruscans.  In 40 B.C. the Roman Augustus had the words Augusta Perusia chiseled into the arch facing after Rome had conquered Perugia.  I took many pictures throughout the walk there and back, of course and will start laying them out now.

These first three were on the way down, down, down to the arch. 

Only thing is when I was almost all the way  down to where I needed to be, I saw a flight of stairs going up, up, up and decided to go up there first.  The views were incredible, however, the distance was hazy - I could see it but it doesn't show up well in the photos.

This is one of three flights of stairs to go up to this wonderful lookout point.

After that orgy of gorgeousness, back down I went and finally got myself around the corner and there it was.  huge and very solid and mighty looking.  Back in the day, these walls and especially the portals through them must have really created an impression of invulnerability.  Although apparently not enough of one since Perugia was under attack and conquered more than once.  (Ooh, and my train is just flying past a huge lake with mountains in the background and after pouring rain this morning, the sun is now popping out so aren't I glad to be traveling away from Perugia!?)

This is the arch with the attached walls starting out from it and a loggia area on top of the left side that was added during the Renaissance era (1400's - 1500's).  Behind the black post right in front, you can just make out a fountain that was added in the 17th century which I guess makes it new, right?

 A pigeon ready to take the plunge or maybe just getting a drink...

A closeup of the handsome lion which houses the faucet.

Only the arch area...

And just the wall starting away and up the street.

Down at the bottom across the street from the arch is where the University for Foreigners is located.  This is the sign over their door:

And this is after starting up the street looking back at the long side of the building which is quite elegant, I think.  This is where non-Italians go to learn Italian, Italian culture, Italian history, etc.  A young woman staying at my hotel the first 3 or 4 days I was there was waiting to get the keys to her apartment where she was going to be staying while taking Italian classes at the university.  She'll stay til December and I think she said she would have 27 lessons a week!  I sure wonder if my old and rather scattered brain would be able to learn a language in that type of program...

Walking back up to the historic center, the weather was much clearer so, a few more pictures starting with a nice mama and her little girl who were walking in front of me holding hands.  I asked if I could take their picture and the mama said "yes, but not put in Facebook".  I assured her I'm not a Facebook person!

Then just a few more shots...

And here's a little test here to see if you've been reading.  If you have you should recognize this - I did when I came to it and thought "oh, I've been down there before".

 psst - it's the acqueduct - I bet my sister got it right! :)

I then made a brief attempt to find the Museo de Cattedrale and was successful but it was just time for them to close for 2 hours.  So took a picture of the cathedral's cloister and two of the many coats of arms which are all over the walls, along with various other sculptures.

Three bees...

and the ever-popular griffin.

And, finally, it was late enough that I could go down to the bus station to get my bus.  Another walk through that Rocca Paolini place and really wishing I had managed to get a tour of it.  Down the three escalators and found the bus station with no problems really.  Can you tell I'm building up to something?  Go in the very dead and mostly closed terminal, finally find a ticket place open, go in to buy my ticket, show her which one I want on the schedule I picked up from the Tourist Information office (where they had pointed out the Valfabricca buses to me) and, of course, there were no buses at all to Valfabricca on Sunday, let alone the one I had planned on taking.

I stood around flummoxed for a bit but decided all I could do was call Jane and tell her which I did and told her that at this point I was ready to forget the whole thing because it was all way too complicated for me.  She said they were just getting ready to leave to go to Gubbio and so they could "drop by" and pick me up.  I was getting guiltier by the minute because originally I had thought there had to be a way that I could get myself out there Monday morning, be met by either Jane or the truffle people or something, but I hadn't been able to find a way.  And since the only Monday bus to Valfabricca (which was not where they were staying, just the closest to them) that would work for our schedule left Perugia at 6:30 a.m., we had opted for the Sunday non-existent bus. 

Jane and Betty had come to Perugia earlier in the week and said they could get to the parking lot which was there at the bus station and we could meet there.  So after several more phone calls, as I searched for and found the lot, then found where the entrance was, then checked to see if they were finding it, we finally met up, I hopped in and off we went.  Betty Lou was driving and she did great, but it's almost impossible not to make a few wrong turns, with signs pointing every direction, GPS saying turn right, then turn right, and Italians flying by at who knows what speed.  But finally they got themselves away from Perugia and basically knew where they were going.  Meanwhile, I was really unhappy about the trouble I was causing.

They decided we'd go on to Gubbio as they had planned and that was fine with me.  We arrived and spent some time walking one or two of the streets there, me feeling bad because they could have been there at least two hours before and spending the whole afternoon there.

But I did take a few pictures. :)  Of course, I don't know what they are basically, cause I had no information on Gubbio.  I have to say, I like Perugia better.  Gubbio's storico centro had all old buildings like all of the cities/towns/ villages, but they were mostly crammed full of stuff for tourists to buy which I don't find very attractive.  We had a little glass of wine and some munchies which I think made all of us feel better.

I'll put in some pictures here since it's one more place I've been, but I really have no idea what they're of (except places in Gubbio because since I didn't know I was going there, I wasn't prepared with a guide or anything, so I apologize for that.

Hmmm...I'm thinking maybe I didn't edit these - that's quite a crooked picture...

So there you have a sort of pitiful but picturesque look at Gubbio. :)

And, finally, with periodic "recalculatings" on GPS's part, and Jane studying their map, and a few more little stresses and strains, we got to their agriturismo and wow, what a trek UP!  But beautiful and so quiet.  I only took a couple of pictures there and was so brain dead from worrying about messing things up that I didn't even think to take one of everyone at dinner.  Dinner was good though and part of it was ricotta cheese that Jane and Betty Lou had helped with and watched being made that morning and we also had homemade gnocchi that the other two ladies (a mother and daughter from Arizona and California) had helped make that morning.  All quite delicious and very filling.

One of several cats...

Well, I feel like I've just blathered on forever and I'm sure I've worn you out - I know I've worn myself out, so this is it for Sunday.  Tomorrow is the hunt!


January said...

Oh Mama, maybe some day you'll stop fretting so much and let people be nice to you without feeling guilty about it. Silly Mama.
But, lovely pictures all around, and that arch really is something else! More like a tunnel, I'd say. The dinner sounds tasty, and how fun to have had the people staying there be such a part of the preparation!

Christopher said...

Well, clearly your friends over there had no trouble picking you up---I mean really, how much hassle can one allow oneself to feel, on vacation in Italy, with a car, and the road at your feet, regardless of your plans... Anyone who would have been truly, wildly inconvenienced, would have said they couldn't help you out, and to try for Monday---so I'd say, be grateful and enjoy! :)
Looks like a wonderful excursion despite your worrying over it... I like Perugia better from your pics, but of course, I've seen enough to feel I could almost make it to the aqueduct! (That I did recognize ;)

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