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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 29 of 31: Tuesday 29th September

After Pamela’s morning class, we stopped by the Internet centre for mail, then went up to CIT looking for possible hotels for Venice and Florence. Their hotels were all three stars plus, but they said we could come back another time and look through their directories.

Pamela bought some lovely printed paper in the stationery shop and then we found a place where we were able to buy a tube in which to transport it safely.

The CO-OP was too busy so we bought panini in the bread shop next door and some salami and drinks at the alimentari at the top of the stepped lane leading back to Piazza Fortebraccio. We’d barely finished lunch when Suzanna arrived to collect Pamela for their final class with Giuseppe (Uno) at Prosciutti. (Peter had already made Friday his last class.) It was a nice last class and was somewhat enlivened when Annie and Helen rolled in (much the worse for wear) just as it was drawing to a close. They’d been out for a very long lunch and the necessarily extended lesson was something of a riot.

As the class was leaving the building, departure from the campus was further delayed because a car had caught fire and was causing some concern as people ran around with fire extinguishers and worried expressions. The students were all advised to stay behind the building, but finally Pamela decided to make a run for it, knowing that Peter was waiting, as arranged, on a corner for three quarters of an hour, undoubtedly wondering what had happened.

We’d planned to make a return visit to the church of San Pietro which had been closed yesterday. It’s a lovely church which has maintained its 10th century basilica form. Suzanna had mentioned a room with manuscripts which Pamela was keen to see, but we could find no such room open. A priest was pacing the floor so we asked him but he said it wasn’t possible to get into the room.

Disappointed, though not easily daunted, Pamela got talking to the girl behind the counter of the erboristeria in a room within the church – a rather strange arrangement we thought – and she was quite positive that we should be able to go in, suggesting that we be a bit more insistent with the priest. We tried again, but he said he didn’t have a key.

Back in the erboristeria, Pamela relayed the conversation and the girl jumped up, strode out and had some words with the priest who suddenly managed to find the key and then became quite pleasant as he led us towards the room. The beautiful manuscripts, in glass cases around the wall, were unfortunately not sympathetically placed for comfortable viewing and were rather poorly lit but we spent as long as we thought reasonable poring over them.

At last we walked back to Corso Vannucci where we had a final drink in Sandri with Krystyna who had turned up at the same time for a final tiramisu. She too was intending to watch the open air concert in Piazza IV Novembre in memory of Lucio Battisti, a popular singer who had died a few weeks before.

We mingled on the steps in sight of the stage, with Jason and Andrea, then Pam and Joananne, but we failed to spot Pamela’s class members who had arranged to meet for the concert prior to having a farewell dinner together. We enjoyed the experience, and stayed for quite a while but then decided it was time to move on. We couldn’t cut through the throng so walked the long way around and came back up through Piazza Danti to look again for the class group. Debbie and Roland were sitting on the steps of the duomo so we joined them for a while, then we saw Suzanna, and then Giuseppe and Edmund (the only ones of the class group who seemed to be there). Annie and Helen had apparently not been able to last the distance after their long lunch, Suzanna having helped Helen safely back home and put her to bed.

We decided it was time to eat and Giuseppe and Edmond suggested the Irish Pub. It wouldn’t have been our choice, but we had a pleasant interlude there nonetheless, surprisingly finding some of the missing classmates already there with other friends. Also sitting opposite our table was Sarah and her fiancé. We ordered some food and had several drinks while we did our best to converse in Italian, but eventually, and fortunately, things switched to English (no doubt Giuseppe decided he was no longer responsible for our progress by insisting on speaking only in Italian). When we left, the concert was still going but we were definitely ready to hit the sack.

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