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Report 472: Back to Uni to Learn Italian - A Month in Perugia

By Pamela R from Sydney, Australia, Fall 1998

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Page 28 of 31: Monday 28th September

Today was to be a special lunch at Perugia’s ‘plate’ restaurant, in the Hotel Grifone which proved to be well out of town, definitely not within walking distance. After Pamela’s lesson we dressed ‘up’ and headed for Porta Pesa where we just missed a bus and had to wait a quarter of an hour for the next. When we saw the hotel from the bus we were a bit apprehensive but we crossed the road and walked back up from where we’d alighted and went inside. It looked really ordinary, not at all the sort of place where one would expect to find great food – admittedly something of a value judgment but neither of us was keen – so we went out again and started walking back towards town. The day was hot, the hills were steep, but we kept going, knowing we would eventually come to the Botanic Gardens which was on our ‘to visit’ list.

At last we came to the Orto Medioevale just past the Orto Botanico, the entrance to which must have been on the other side. We enjoyed being among the beautiful herb gardens of the Orto Medioevale, especially as the historic centre of Perugia where we’ve spent most of our time is almost devoid of vegetation. This lovely garden surrounds the church of San Pietro whose cloisters we later wandered through and where we were to discover that the camera case was missing. After both dashing back in different directions, Peter found it on a bench after being told by some English tourists that they’d found it back where Pamela had been photographing the zodiac gardens.

Unfortunately the Basilica was closed so we carried on towards town, stopping on the way at a nice-looking shop for a really dreadful slice of pizza (lunch time had well and truly passed for the remaining food they had on offer!). When we reached the pasticceria where we’d eaten yesterday, we topped up with a pastry and coffee.

It had been suggested we attempt a group photo as some people would be leaving early in the morning, so we all gathered at 3.30 and enlisted the help of the Libyan guys in the downstairs apartment to take photos on all our cameras. As he had some doubts about their ability, Peter hurried to take another shot with our camera before the group broke up. He was later proved to be quite right in his judgment! At least we have one clean shot, even though Peter isn’t in it.

The ‘girls’ had decided on a shoe-shopping expedition to downtown Perugia, the big shops, near the station. Roland and Peter were joined by Gary and begged out, opting for a few beers in a small bar in nearby Corso Garibaldi.

The shopping spree was hardly that – Debbie and Joananne each found a pair of shoes at a shop where Debbie had previously bought a very special pair, but the others didn’t find anything to splash out on.

But another kind of spree had been happening in the small bar in Corso Garibaldi, which Gary could barely restrain himself from relating at every possible opportunity. While they were quietly sipping and chatting, a guy walked in and ordered a drink, then asked urgently to use the toilet, the latter request being refused by the padrone.

Almost before Peter, Roland and Gary had time to think, ‘Funny!’ the carabinieri appeared in the doorway and manhandled the guy outside and into a van. The supposition was that he knew they were close behind him and he had wanted to dispose of his drug haul before being apprehended. Gary had even noticed him slip something into his drink and down it quickly before asking to use the toilet.

The shopping group and the drug bust group both arrived back home at the same time, so there was a ready-made audience for the boys’ story, which Gary seemed to have been deputed to tell, and tell, and tell. After a few drinks in Debbie and Roland’s apartment we decided to have a last meal at Brizi which was, as usual, very pleasant. [Peter – pork chop; Pamela – ravioli]

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