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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 31 of 31: Thursday 1st October

Despite the fact that our booking confirmation had specified a 9 o’clock departure from the apartment, we’d been told by our landlady that we were to be out by 7 o’clock to assist them with cleaning for the next arrivals (funny, we thought, as they didn’t seem to have been all that well cleaned when we moved in!). On the basis of our understanding of the arrangement, we’d booked our rental car for 10 o’clock and we didn’t relish having to sit around for 3 hours waiting for it.

We were up at the crack of dawn anyway for the final packing, and we dragged our bags up the cobbled lane (where on other recent days we’d heard the hollow sound of bags being wheeled past our window in the early hours as other people departed to various corners of the globe). Gathered for a last breakfast in Milano were the usual suspects – Pamela, Ellie, Suzanna, Debbie and Roland – we were now down to seven, and within the next half hour we’d all be leaving in cabs to station or bus terminus or Avis on the next stage of our respective journeys. All except Suzanna who had decided to stay on in Perugia a bit longer before her Turkey tour. We said our goodbyes as our taxi pulled up, having made final plans to meet up with Debbie and Roland much later in Paris where our itineraries would overlap by one day.

We’d hoped our earlier-than-intended departure would give us some extra time for our first day on the road, but unfortunately the Avis office, beside the railway station, wasn’t open when we arrived. We put the time to good use by walking back towards the shops where we found a barber. As we walked in Peter began to tell the chap (who had just taken off his jacket and hung it in the cupboard) how he would like his hair done, then amid some confusion and embarrassment, we realised that he was actually the next customer when the appearance of the ‘real’ barber explained the situation.

Nevertheless when it was Peter’s turn, and with the help of the dictionary, we asked him to (tagliare i ricci) cut off the curls and, as it transpired, he did a really good job. A pity it’s too far to go back for future haircuts!

Eventually we were on our way in our silvery-green Citröen Saxo, a great little car, ready to unleash ourselves and our newly-found Italian language skills on whatever unsuspecting Italians we would encounter during the next month.

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