15 September, 2012

Italy: Day 4 - Perugia e Massaggia e Mangia

Today, we visited the city of Perugia. This is much more substantial in size, from what I could tell, than Gubbio. Gubbio is quaint. Perugia is impressive. One can walk around Gubbio in an hour, and feel like all of the major sites of the old town have been seen. This is not so in Perugia. Not only did we not cover all of it, it's large enough that one can easily get lost walking or driving around.

Once you get to understand the basic architectural styles of an era, each new town or street or structure starts to become another example of the pattern. But, the details are what makes something beautiful. Sometimes, the most impressive things are the degree of preservation, or the actual layout of things. And the deepest level of beauty doesn't come from the purely physical structures at all. It comes from this representation of the ways things used to be, preserved so amazingly well. Though, I guess that's not entirely true, since much of Europe (and especially Italy) is a hodgepodge of Roman era and newer European style. In some cases, even older elements are seen. And I have no freaking clue what I'm talking about, so you should just skip past this to the part about the massage. The most impressive thing about Perugia, to me, was that there is an ancient Roman Medieval (correction by Sue Jones) city, on top of which the new city has been built. So you can enter these "tunnels" that have completely ancient-looking structure, and then you come out the other end of the tunnel, and you're in "modern" Perugia (which was still built a long, long time ago). I tried to photograph it. I tried to video it. But there was no way to capture it and get the sense of how amazing it was. Unless, of course, you were to use Sue's video camera, which seemed to do a perfect job of capturing how amazing it was.

We went to a couple of shops, and the women tried on shoes. Then we got gelato. Wandered around. Sat on some steps of a cathedral. Watched a wedding. Watched people from all over the world. Then tried to find our way back to the van, which was successful, eventually.

In the afternoon, I had my second massage from a woman who is a visiting masseuse here at Locanda del Gallo. She's originally from London (I think), but mostly lived in California, and then moved to Maui, and sounds like she's from Perth. So there you go. It was my second massage with her. The first one, was a standard "Swedish" relaxation massage, which was great. I decided to give "Deep Tissue" massage a try for the second session, and she spent over an hour working on knots in my upper back and shoulders, and soreness in my low back. 

One thing I have failed to mention much about is the food. Every day, we have three meals at Locanda del Gallo, prepared by the chef, Jimmy, who is from Sri Lanka. He is an incredibly friendly guy, and prepares interesting meals every day. Typically, breakfast consists of a selection of cereals, granola, yogurt, breads to toast, prosciutto, swiss cheese, fruits, coffee, juices, jams, cakes, and eggs (if you request them). Lunches have included salads, pastas (always handmade), bruschettas of various sorts. Today, we even had dal and rice. There are no rules about what's on the menu, and it is definitely not limited to Italian fare. Dinners are always 3 courses, consisting of a handmade pasta dish with some type of interesting sauce, a meat dish, ranging from baked fish, to beef in wine sauce, to eggplant and meat cakes. Finally, a decadent dessert, be it pineapple cake, chocolate cake, or raspberry mousse. One really cannot complain. And, importantly, they have figs. Lots of figs. Fresh ones. Ripe ones. Growing outside where you can pick them at your leisure. Served with every meal. I have never tasted anything like these figs, and honestly didn't know a fresh fig could be this desirable, since I have probably only eaten ones that were sub-par.

So that's the story of today. More tomorrow.

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