Published: August 13th 2012August 6th 2012
Toby returned from his morning run almost bursting over with the news he wanted to share. He had been chatting at the pool with James, the villa owners son, who had informed him that a wolf had been to visit last night. His mother had caught it eyeing up the ducks. A shout was enough to see it off. When asked how big it was, he told Toby that mum said it was big enough. A trip to Perugia seemed a good idea away from the forests where a wolf could hide.
We programmed the GPS to take us to a car park that the guide book recommended, but it was a little scary getting there. The route was partly through the walled town and involved very small roads and tight turns as well as one way streets and diversions. Eventually we parked in the first car park we found and lazily went into town. It was lazy as there are escalators from the car parks so that you don't have to climb any steps.
Fiona sat on the steps in the piazza surrounded by confetti, a reminder of happy celebrations full of hope. The piazza was eerily deserted
except for hardy tourists cramming their vacation hours with continuous sightseeing. The gentle murmur of the fountain combined with the summer heat and recently finished gelato was soporific, but she fought the urge.The town was not as pretty as many in the region, but it exuded a certain charm. The charm however was curtailed by the lack of friendliness, even at the tourist office. The main building in the piazza was the cathedral where we had been turned away for not wearing enough clothes. Although the expected temperature this time of year is well over 30 degrees, shorts and singlets were not considered appropriate attire to enter. The refusal came with no apology, only a gentle ushering towards the door. Harriet was affronted and only the thought of superlative gelato would appease her mood. Gelato stores surrounded the piazza, but we were on the hunt for the best.
We left the piazza and headed to a quiter part of town out through the third century gate. The store was devoid of tourists but packed with delicious delights - gelato and chocolate. Perugia is home to the Purugina chocolate factory where Augustus learned his craft before setting up on his
own. Harriet's rum chocolate was one of the very best gelatos we had all ever tasted, even Fiona who is not keen on chocolate. The choice of flavours was almost overwhelming, but Toby made a perfect choice with basil. It was refreshing and different.
Back at the piazza, Fiona ended up on the stairs whilst Toby and Harriet shopped. After regrouping, a spot more shopping, due espressi and a granita the pool at the villa was too enticing. We stopped at the supermarket out of necessity and headed back. We caused a large line at the supermarket by not weighing and pricing our vegetables before we got to the checkout. But we didn't care. Being dumb tourists gave us an advantage and anyway everyone knows that embarrassment is a choice.
After cooling in the pool, Harriet diligently settled down to some homework. Although she is missing a term of school, she still has to keep up with her lessons. Se has been keeping a journal for english and whilst we are in Italy the plan is to complete the work for the three other subjects she has been assigned. It is hard to be focused on maths
at home, never mind in the Umbrian countryside, but she was further hampered by trumpets. There is a festival in the village next week and the trumpeters chose the same time as Harriet chose to do maths probabilities to practice. Whats the chance of that?
We went to the cafe in Montone for our aperitivi again this evening. We had found out that this is a true Italian custom that we have stumbled upon. Italians like to have a drink before dinner and it is served with snacks. The traditional drink is a campari spritz so that is what we - well Harriet because she needs to practice speaking Italian - ordered this evening . Looking around everyone else seemed to have a much longer drink though. Ours were really strong and we think we will have to do some more research in to what to order.
We sat in the village square with the rest of the village and enjoyed the ambience. Old men were playing cards, women were gossiping and kids were playing, having fun. The cafe staff are friendly and even if there are wolves, we would rather be here than Perugia.
There are more photos below