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Report 678: Italia - Umbria, Lago di Garda, Lago di Como & Visits with Friends in Empoli and Coccaglio

By girasoli from Hawaii, Spring 2005

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Page 6 of 24: Monday - On to Perugia

photo by girasoli

part of the ancient city below Perugia

Woke up to blue skies!! Wandered around Spello for a few more minutes before packing up and heading to the train station. The walk down to the station with my luggage (all down hill) was much easier than the walk up.

I arrived at an empty train station where I waited about 15 minutes for my train to arrive. That mysterious woman again announced that the train would be 5 minutes in ritardo. The train was pretty empty and the ride to Perugia was very pleasant. The scenery was wonderful. Only thing missing are the sunflowers! I remembered my friends telling me two years ago that many of the farmers rotate every other year with sunflowers and wheat and this is the year for wheat. I love sunflowers and this was one think I missed on this trip. I will just have to return next year during a "sunflower year".

When I arrived in Perugia, I decided to purchase my ticket for my next train on Friday to Empoli while at the train station. Although there were self-service ticket machines at the station, the line was empty and so I decided to purchase my ticket at the window. The man was extremely nice and my purchase only took a couple of minutes.

Outside, there were many taxis waiting. The cost to the (historical center) was 10 euros. I could have taken the bus as there was a stop right near my hotel, but because this was my first time visiting Perugia and I did not have my bearings, the taxi ride seemed much more convenient.

Hotel Fortuna was located in a perfect location right near the famous Corso Vannucci, the pedestrian street in the middle of the centro. The hotel was a maze of corridors and my room was located in a corner up a few stairs by itself. The room was pretty small (and I reserved the standard room instead of the economy room; I wonder what the economy room was like!). The bathroom was quite tiny. It was a good thing that I am skinny as it was quite a task to try to fit into the shower, which was wedged up against the sink and then move around once inside. The best thing I would say about this hotel was the hair dryer. Most hotels (even the one I stayed at in Spello which was a four star hotel) had hairdryers with hoses that look similar to vacuum cleaners and to quote someone's description, which I read on a travel discussion board of the typical hairdryers you will find in most hotels, as "not able to even blow a cotton ball across a nonexistent counter." I was glad to have a "regular" hair dryer.

Once settled in, I decided to walk around the city and take pictures since the skies were blue and rain was in the immediate forecast.

Perugia is yet another city with many steep hills. The unique thing about Perugia were the escalators that reduce the need to walk up/down some of the steep hills. These escalators were called Scala Mobile. The main Scala Mobile went underneath the city where there once was an an ancient city built below the main city of Perugia. When you go down into this underground area, you will find many tunnels to walk through and also a door at one end of the tunnels called Porta Paolina.

For dinner, I ate at a restaurant that was recommended in many travel books and also here on Slow Travel called da Cesarino. The waiter was a very kind older man. I asked him which pasta dishes did not include meat. He rapidly described the choices and I was pretty sure that I ordered a ravioli dish. The reason I say this is when he brought me my dinner, it was a plate of rigatoni with fresh tomatoes and cheese. I took a couple of bites of this very delicious dish or pasta and then decided to take a picture of the pasta before eating any more since it was so colorful. Just as I was ready to take the picture, the waiter came back and announced that he brought me the wrong dish, grabbed the dish and replaced it with the ravioli dish that I ordered. The ravioli dish was also delicious! Although the waiter seemed very forgetful as earlier while I was eating my bruschetta, I had to remind him to bring me my water that I ordered, the meal was delicious and I planned to return there later in the week to have the rigatoni dish that I had a few bites of.

The weather was still cold at night...temperatures have been from 9 (48 degrees) to 12 (53 degrees) at night. brrrrr!!!

photo - view of tunnel/ancient city once built below Perugia reached by Scala Mobile.

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