(Written: 1/17/09, 21:54)
Yesterday Stacy, her friend Adam, Abbie, and I stopped into Shamrock, the Irish bar pretty early in the evening before going to dinner at our friends’ apartment. Chris, the bartender, was super excited because he just got a ton of new ingredients so they were testing out a bunch of new cocktails. We each got to taste a practice mix of a Long Island Iced Tea, a Sex on the Beach, and a White Russian which was a fun little taste test for all of us especially because I have never tried any of those drinks before. The new cocktails were accompanied by live Irish music around 10pm which was really enjoyable, though the company was a little too intoxicated for my taste. Because of that Stacy, Abbie, and I also stopped into a cool Italian bar/restaurant called Joyce’s which serves burgers and really really excellent cocktails. We did a lot of talking there so that was some good bonding. We got home later then I really have so far on this trip but even so, Stacy and I met up with Adam at 9am so we could take the MiniMetro to the Saturday market.
The MiniMetro is tiny tiny train system. It is a one car unmanned train on a single track which arrives every minute (though it seems even more frequent to me). It travels from the heart of Perugia on the mountaintop where I live (Il Centro) to various stops in the downtown area including the train station, stadium, market, and the biggest grocery store around. It is €1 for a 70 minute pass so it’s comparable to the price of the T (with a bit less range of travel). The market is basically a big free swap meet with lots of produce, kitchen supplies, and clothes. The last row also has eggs and live chickens for sale (pictured above). Stacy cringed a little at this but Adam and I actually preferred this situation to the industrialized one in the US. I bought a hat there for only €3.
After that Stacy, Adam, and I went on a walking adventure for well over an hour with the aim of getting lost in a completely new part of town. We got to see beautiful fog-drenched hillside views and walked into an intimate church and surprisingly, ended up right where we had started. We then ate traditional Umbrian flatbread sandwiches (tutto al testo) and mine had truffle cheese on it because Umbria is known for their truffles (I was so traditional!) and did a little bit of shopping on the main streets with Abbie.
We met up with Beth in the main piazza and I saw a band taking a picture on the steps of the city hall. Beth and Abbie weren’t too interested but Adam, Stacy, and I were thrilled to find out that the Societa Filarmonica Selci Umbra would be performing for free inside city hall in about 10 minutes. We watched the hour and a half long concert which included what seemed to be the Italian national anthem (we had to stand) as well as a medley from the ABBA Gold cd which they played twice! We loved that and by the time we got out it was dark outside.
We headed back to our apartment, picking up Adam’s roommate Jim along the way, and made a delicious and hearty minestrone dinner together with Abbie and Beth (which I orchestrated). It was so nice because we just listened to music and all cooked together and drank wine and the food and company and music were all so nice… We then went out for some gelato and headed to our respective homes. Essentially, Adam, Stacy, and I spent 13 hours together having exactly the kind of Italian experiences we wanted. From the exploration, to the music, to the food, it was just a lovely day.
There are things I miss for sure, and I miss them every day. But I am here to do exactly what I did today so that makes it worth it to me.