We arrived here the day before yesterday after a bit of a harrowing ride through the first real rain-storm we’ve experienced. Checking out of our Florence digs was a bit problematic as the hotel elevator really only had room for one person and a cup of espresso. It took a few trips to get all of us and our luggage out to the curb for the taxi ride to the car rental. And then we took off. We had downloaded the Italian maps onto our Tom Tom and while the visuals worked it was too bizarre to have this woman in the machine speaking Italian with a robot accent. Besides which none of the roads were marked with street signs so matching robo-voice to street signs was impossible anyway.
We stopped in Cortona along the way for a sandwich and walk-around. We parked on the edge of town and hiked in. It is beautiful and its hard to tell where the medieval ends and the renaissance begins. I have to admit that we’ve reached the point in our sojourn where we’re pretty much done with museums. That of course is subject to change but overall the tenor of our trip has changed slightly.
We’ve checked into an amazing hotel that is really a converted medieval castle that historians speculate was built by the Knights Templar. A few years ago it was renovated into a hotel with only 14 rooms. It’s on a hillside about 5 or 6 miles east of Perugia with nothing much around except beauty. Our room has only slits on one wall facing the exterior so if I get a hankering to pour boiling oil on anyone I’m pretty much set up. That’s not a feeling I got when I stayed at the San Francisco Hilton recently. On the other hand our view out the other window is this:
Very nice. The nice thing about staying in a hotel that is actually a castle is that in your room in addition to the very fluffy white terry bathrobe, you also get a crown to wear. You aren’t allowed to wear the crown outside of the room but that’s OK. As a result of all of this the Fabulous Miss K and I have decided to change our retirement plans. We’ll be liquidating everything and staying here in our castle room looking at the views and laying in bed wearing our white bathrobes. We can get used to this very quickly.
By the way, we’ve received several inquiries as to why we’re not visiting Milan on our trip. The reasons are purely medical. Because the entire city of Milan was recently breaded we decided to steer clear because we’ve learned we are gluten intolerant.
In any case we’re now in the heart of Umbria which geographically is the heart of Italy. The weather has been gusty, showery, and cold, or as the Fabulous Miss K calls it “leather glove buying weather.”
Today, undaunted by the darkening skies we ventured out to Perugia. I had feared it would be a semi-large modern city in a rural and historic area. Instead I learned that it was a beautiful, historic city. Like all the cities in this area it is high on a hilltop with sweeping views. It is also the epicenter of chocolate. They have a chocolate festival here and a chocolate themed hotel for those inclined to stay in a brown room. For about 5 Euros you can tour the Perugina factory which closes with an all-you-eat choco-fest. It is rumored that few actually return to a “normal life” after this experience. We also went on to visit Spello, another hilltop city overlooking Assisi. Again, stunning views, narrow walkways, and a transport as much in time as in place.