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Published: December 1st 2006
Perugia's grand hill
Okay, so it's about time I blog about my last few days in Perugia, Italy - it didn't end in Venice!
It was so great to finally hug Marissa and catch up with her. A little background for the readers: Marissa and I worked at The Daily newspaper at my university as classified ad reps. She left in June and the whole office was sad to see her go but excited for her new adventures. She is studying at the university in Perugia for a whole year!
That night I arrived I basically just collapsed...that is, before exploring the city a bit. Yep, I just had to find out what Perugia had to offer so around 11:30 at night after one heck of a day, Marissa and I went on a walk around the city for a preview. The whole city was completely different than Florence and Venice and I really felt the difference being in another region of Italy. Florence is in the Tuscany region while Perugia is south in the Umbria region.
Perugia is much smaller and has LOTS of hills! There's definitely no way you would be able to ride a non-motorized
bike up any of the hills. The streets are those "typical Italian" streets that are extremely narrow, uneven, and there are even some windows that have potted plants with red flowers! It's a very cute town and quite peaceful as Marissa and I strolled down the deserted streets. Every now and then a vespa would putt past us but other than that the city was sleeping - as I should have been. Marissa was so kind to let me sleep in her bed while she slept on the ground on a deflated air mattress. I owe her one bigtime
I slept so well and woke up around 10:30am. We drank some coffee, had some homemade hazelnut biscotti (one of Marissa's roomate's grandmothers made them) and decided to meet eachother in the city after Marissa was done with her class. I took a lovely shower, got dressed and closed the apartment door behind me - ready to explore a brand new Italian city.
Marissa had warned me that I probably won't find as many English speakers as I did in Florence and Venince. Perugia isn't really a touristy city and that's probably the part I liked best. I didn't see one single person with a fanny pack, digital camera, travel-safe purse, or opened maps. This made me feel like even more of a foreigner, and almost an intruder really. I walked up and down the main road that was extremely wide for just a walking street. Lots of high-end fashion shops and boutiques were the only stores I saw and they seemed intimidating to enter since I didn't even have enough funds to buy a hair elastic from one of the stores. Luckily, there were big bay windows to peek into and I enjoyed the fresh air anyway. Perugia was much colder than Florence and Venice; however, walking up the steep hills countered any cold feeling that I once had.
On my walk I had to walk defensively, watching every step that I took and making sure that I wasn't going to step in a large dog turd. Seriously, for those that went to Amsterdam and thought the doody there was bad, wait till you go to Perugia! The problem is that people step in it and then keep walking, leaving a trail of smaller poop marks all down the sidewalks. ick ick ick!
I met Marissa for lunch and we had some lentil soup and bread. I met her 3 Italian roomates: Ciara, Marcella, and Daniella. None of them really spoke English but they were very kind and seemed like great roomates. Marissa still had class until the evening, so as she went to class, I went to an internet cafe and caught up on emails, blogs, skype, what have you.
For dinner, Marissa and I got pizza. After eating my first Italian pizza, I don't think I could ever enjoy Domino's or Pizza Hut again. One pizza had a variety of vegetables including kalamata olives, red pepper, artichoke, mozarella, mushrooms, and purple onion. The other one had buffalo mozarella, tomatoes, and fresh basil. I asked Marissa where there are buffalos in Italy to make the cheese and she had no idea. It's actually a chewier cheese than regular mozarella and has a stronger taste. Yum! Well, we devoured as much pizza as we could and then prepared ourselves for a night full of smoke, wine, and loud music.
Daniella turned 24 last week and this was the last night of partying for the roommates and their friends. Apparently, Daniella's birthday celebrations just continued from day to day. Marcella did the honors of buying fifteen
one and a half liter bottles of red wine, 4 regular-sized bottles of wine and a few bottles of something else. Around 9 o'clock people started to pour in left right and center and the small living/dining room area soon became very small and crowded.
Marissa and I moved to the steps leading up to the kitchen to allow more of Daniella's friends to crowd around the food table and circle of chairs. They all started smoking and within a half hour the whole room looked dusty and fuzzy. Bleh, that's one thing I really can't stand is cigarette smoke. I've gotten more used to it since moving to The Netherlands, but the Italians, man, they smoke twice as much as the Dutch and German people I know.
We chit-chatted with lots of people and the Marissa's boyfriend, Antonio, arrived. He's so nice and although he can only say a few jumbled words in English, he smiles and laughs a lot which makes him a very pleasant person to talk to. Another nice thing about all of Daniella's friends was that they saw me and Marissa and immediately came up to us said "Ciao," shook our hands and said their names. It's a very proactive thing to do - I'm normally used to the American way where you have to wait for somebody else to introduce you, depending on the social event. We were full from the pizza so our stomachs could only hold one small class of red wine.
We were getting pretty tired (unlike the 25 friends of Daniella) and so I went to sleep in Marissa's bed and she went back to Antonio's house so she would be more comfortable. It took a little bit getting used to the loud chanting of Italian bar songs before I lulled off to sleep.
Marissa returned the next morning, we had breakfast and she was off to class. I decided to make the most of it and head off to a small nearby town called Assisi. I think this deserves it's own blog, so read on to the next installment of my Italian adventures! cheers, or in Italian "salute"
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