Sunday, February 28, 2010

A Must Read Weekend

So, I don’t think I could make the sequence of events from this weekend up if I tried. On Friday morning, my five roommates and I took an early train to Perugia, where we stayed in a hostel for the weekend. When the guy came around to check our tickets on the train, I went to get mine out of my pocket and flung my credit card out by mistake. Obviously, the credit card landed in between the seat and the wall to which the seat was bolted. I thought, “Oh that’s okay, I’ll get it in a second when the TrenItalia man goes away.” However, when I went to get the card out of the crack, I couldn’t find it. We searched for the duration of the ride, but still no luck. There was literally a 4x4 inch space where it could have gotten wedged. One of the train attendants even tried to leverage the armrest away so that we could at least get a piece of paper down into the space. Unfortunately, the only thing that was accomplished was the poor man puncturing a hole in the side of the cheap plastic wall. When it finally came time to get off in Perugia, I still had no credit card and my sense of humor was headed downhill.

You can imagine that when we got on the wrong bus that took “the long way” to our stop, I was not pleased. And when we found ourselves out in the middle of the countryside and walking a mile down a dirt road to our “hostel”, both my language and thoughts were not very friendly. Lets just say there would have been a lot of “beeps” if they were played on TV. At the end of the “road”, this is the sight we were greeted with.

Jenn, who planned the whole thing, told us the hostel was a little away from the city, but I never imagined it was this far away. After the initial shock of realizing we were going to spend two days in farmhouse wore off, we actually had a really enjoyable time. There were two other people staying there with us, plus the two owners. One of the girls was from the Netherlands and was staying in Italy to study Italian. We made good friends with her and, for some reason, we thought it was a super duper good idea to sign up for a wine testing at 11am the next morning, which was… I bet you can’t guess… a good three-mile walk from the “Perugia Farmhouse”. Nevertheless, it was a gorgeous day and the scenery was breathtaking.







The small farm where we tested at least five different wines and three different types of grappa had this service where people could bring their four gallon jugs and have them filled with their preferred wine. It was a very strange sight, sort of like a wine gas station. The specialty wine of this particular farm was called “L’arringatore” (which means speaker or orator) because, as our guide said, “If you drink a lot, you talk a lot.”

When we wandered back to the farmhouse, the sun was hot, so we laid out on the grass and took naps. That night (last night) everybody just hung around talking and making dinner.

Today was our final morning and I decided to go off to a farm to go horseback riding. For me, who rides nearly every day when I’m home, it’s really hard to be without horses for as long a period of time as four months. Seriously, I tear up every time I see a horse or talk about riding because it’s an activity that consumes nearly ¼ of my life. So, when the opportunity to go riding came up, I took it. Let me say, it was about as unpredictable as the rest of the weekend.

When I got to the farm/ barn to ride, no one spoke English, but they did ask me if I was a good rider and I was able to communicate back to them, in Italian, that I was. Good thing I wasn’t lying because they literally threw a horse my way and off we went, me and two good old Italian cowboys. They asked me if I wanted to “run” and I said, “Sure, let’s canter (which would be the appropriate word in English).” Well, scratch that. We were flat out “running”/ galloping across the rolling Umbrian farmland. I was having a lot of fun and was only moderately alarmed at how this was all going down, until my horse gave a particularly hard flick of the head and snapped one rein (you know, the part that attaches to the horse’s head, sort of important for steering and stopping and minor things of that nature). I really didn’t panic because I’ve been riding since I could walk and have seen worse (I think). Once I was able to bring the horse to a stop, the guys were pale faced, but yelling, “Brava! Brava!” We did a makeshift fix and carried on. Looking back to 8 hours ago, I’m happy that I made it back to Florence in one piece.

Nonetheless, our time in Perugia was very enjoyable, though not in the way we had expected. I’m happy to think that no one will ever have quite the same experience as we did.

Ciao Ciao,

Lindsey

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