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The adventures of the Mel

A day trip to Perugia

ITALY | Saturday, 2 October 2010 | Views [780] | Comments [2]

It has just occurred to me that I haven’t mentioned our new travel buddy! We met him in Rome and as fate would have it, he also turned up in Assisi and has decided to accompany us for what I hope to be the rest of our trip. He may even come home with us, if we’re lucky. His name is Octavius and I can’t tell you how funny he is. He has Tess and me in stitches every day. The photos I put up shortly will show you how gorgeous he is (don’t tell him I told you that). We have nicknamed him Mr. Quacky because a) we think he looks like a duck and b) he quacks from time to time. It’s his cheer-up noise. Kinda reminds me of Dane a little. That’s a bit scary! Any time when we’re feeling a bit down or overwhelmed by the travelling life, he will always interject with a few quacks and have us at smiling at the very least.

So anyway, we caught up with Mr. Quacky later that night (from my last post) and pretty much decided that the next day we would go to Perugia, or that we would at least all go somewhere together. Tess and I are thinking that we might come back to go to Perugia towards the end of our trip because there is a chocolate festival on at that point, and so we thought we might go check out the town before it is inundated with around 1 million people. Talk about crazy!!

Anyway, we all made our way to the train station, but not before seeing the most beautiful (and timid) boxer dog along the way. He wanted to be patted but was so uncertain, the poor thing. We gave him lots of love.

It was about a half hour trip to Perugia...well, it should have been if I had remembered the golden rule about train stations in Italy – not to jump off at the first one that says ‘Perugia’. D’oh! So we ended up on the outskirts of Perugia. The next train was not due for another hour. Sad face. Oh well.......ADVENTURE!!!!! Thankfully there was a bus that took us into the city centre, though we weren’t sure if we would arrive in one piece. It hurtled itself around perilously tight corners and you had to hold on for life even if you were sitting down. At least we got to see a different view of the city – it was quite pretty when you could afford to look out the window.

So...Perugia. It’s quite pretty. Not too dissimilar to Assisi – a hilltop city with steep, winding streets and beautiful old stone buildings ushering you along. There were a stack of people here, though mostly local it seemed. They rush and meander along the main drag, Corso Vannucci, going about their lives in this beautiful old town. The main square, Piazza IV Novembre, is a hub of activity – university students sprawl across the steps of the main cathedral (of San Lorenzo) to the north, gather around the Fontana Maggiore (the great fountain) in the centre and move in and out of Palazzo dei Priori to the south.

One of the first things we noticed about the fountain and the surrounding buildings is the ubiquitous presence of griffins. Well, statues of griffins. It would be cool though, right? Anyway, the griffin is the city’s symbol and is often accompanied by a lion – the symbol for the Guelphs, a faction that existed in the middle ages. We didn’t go inside the cathedral because it was closed when we were there, but one entrance to it was decidedly temple–y; pillars lined the door and it loomed out, beckoning you inside.

On the outside of Palazzo dei Priori is a couple of statues with griffins....um....holding down some cows? It just screamed ‘Things that are doing it fail’ to me. But moving on to the inside – the Galleria Nazionale dell’Umbria is here, which turned out to be a bit of a disappointment because the only art it contained was Jeebus art, and there’s only so much that you can look at before your brain melts. There were a few paintings towards the end that were more ‘modern’ that I didn’t mind so much, but we were very ready to be out of there. Probably didn’t help that we first visited an exhibition they were holding there that was full of art from more recent artists that were not religious. It was a conglomeration of artists and various works – they even had a couple of Dali’s in there.

We made our way down Corso Vanucci and to its end at Giardini Carducci, where we had a nice view of the rest of the city and countryside. We got a few pictures with Octavius and ventured onward. There was supposed to be an English book store somewhere, but when we finally located it, it was closed. Gah! We just wandered around a bit and found a colourful church (the name of which I have no idea) which had a few carvings on the outside, one that was missing a nose, which clearly prompted me to come out with lines like, ‘Nobody knows noses like Sudafed’, ‘I nose what you are doing’, ‘Nose the answer you are getting’ whispered in Tess’s ear as she was trying to take photos. Mwahahaha. Okay, it was really damn funny. The three of us were in stitches. Perhaps it was a situational thing. Shaddup.

There was also a nice green lawn on which the three of us lay down under the sun. Mmmmm.....sun. You will be pleased to know that I won’t be coming home with a tan – it is just not warm enough to be baring that much skin. So, 1 point for you. And may God have mercy on your soul. Soon enough it was time to head back. In what appeared to be good timing, the sun went behind some clouds, so we got up.

We managed to find another bookstore that sold English books along the way, total win. I got a book (which I have already finished, fail) and we moved back to the train station and back to Santa Maria degli Angeli. Here we had to pick up our bus tickets to Siena, which oddly enough we bought in a store that sells pasta, wine and cured meats. Crazy Italians. We got that figured and headed home. The next day we were going to Siena.

Perugia photos.




That's odd, we bought all our bus tickets in places like that - I don't think they have places that just sell bus tickets

  Peter Oct 6, 2010 6:15 PM


Griffins. There are not enough Griffins in this country. Sudafed eh, I just took some of that because my nose is trying to abscond.

  Sally Oct 11, 2010 6:48 PM

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