I have been putting off this blog I guess. Well, mostly putting off posting it. I’ve written parts of it over the last few days but always got distracted or over it or on Thursday when I finished it, it wouldn’t post.
Jenna, Jamie, and our other friends Megan and Brittany met me at the train station around 13:30 on Saturday. I was coming straight from the agriturismo but Beth kindly took most of my stuff back to the apartment. We headed out to Cortona (about one hour from Perugia), took a bus up to the town center, and did the Rick Steve’s tour of the town. It was super short but it explained the excess of family crests in the city walls (above) and led us into one of the duomi (below).
After that we just wandered around a lot, checking out a neat chocolate shop and the gorgeous views and creeping fog. Megan and Brittany had night plans so they headed home around 5 as Jamie, Jenna, and I continued to walk around. We climbed high up the hills into a more residential area and found a great little thrift store where I bought a book of Italian fairy tales for €1 to practice my comprehension. Pretty excited about that!
When it was finally 19:00 we headed to a restaurant Jenna had previously found online called La Bucaccia. We then proceeded to have a 2.5 hour life changing culinary experience. If you don’t want to read about food, skip down to the ***.
The owner of the small, stone and wood family-owned restaurant took complete control of our meal the moment I asked him for a wine recommendation. I asked him for the best sangiovese on the menu. He pointed to the cheapest bottle, €16. “You like this price?” He asked us. “I give you this bottle (€24) for this price.”
“Okay!” We said eagerly.
And everything got even better from there. He proceeded to take our picture, feed us his homemade salami of rib, shoulder, and back (lard) and huge plates of meats and cheeses.
These dishes were followed by three different homemade pastas (one for each of us) including a spicy spaghetti, a thick papardelle noodle with wild boar, and spinach ravioli with meat sauce. The restaurant owner asked us if we still had room for meat. We did, so he brought out two beef dishes and one pork (all of which we shared) and then, as if we could take anymore, he asked if we wanted dessert. We decided to have one to share and it was this fantastically amazing ice cream-y type cake with crumbly rice-y crust-like stuff, smothered in rich chocolate sauce. I have no idea what it was but it was fantastically amazing. He also brought us some sweet wine (port?) and we weren’t sure how to drink it so we used motions of sipping and taking a shot to ask his daughter (approximately 11 years old) who was helping to waitress. She laughed out loud at us and proceeded to tell her father what we had asked. He quickly told us a little Italian rhyme which essentially means, “The slower you go, the better it is” which I find to be a nice philosophy and incredibly Italian. I should also mention that not only was tiny daughter the waitress/helper, but mother was in the kitchen cooking all the food. It was a pretty amazing family affair!
***2.5-3 hours after our arrival and pleasantly but not overly stuffed and our pockets only slightly lighter, we set out to catch our train. The station was located 5km downhill and it was quite dark out. The bus had stopped running and the restaurant owner promised to call us a taxi so he set his daughter at the task. After about 20 minutes, 5 different phone calls to various taxi companies, and much frustrated muttering from the daughter, we found ourselves stranded in the restaurant with only half an hour left to catch our train. The incredibly kind restaurant owner began asking friends and patrons if they had a car with which to give us a ride which made us feel a little bit terrible but he had no luck with that either. Having no other options, we set out to walk to the station.
Feeling pretty uncomfortable walking down a strange highway at night, the three of us didn’t get too far. We called some friends with internet to try to find a later train, another bus, or any other form of transportation but nothing worked out. Discouraged and a little nervous, we walked back up the hill resigned to find a place to stay for the night.
We ended up talking to a few different B&B owners and got one of the less absurdly priced rooms. It was gorgeous. My bed (above) was huge and there were two smaller beds (Jamie & Jenna took those), a table, a tv, a nice bathroom, and a great breakfast in the morning. Even though the room was a little bit expensive (not too bad between three people), we felt that our five course meal was such a good deal that we were willing to pay a little extra for a place to sleep and a good adventure.
In the morning we got to the bus station and found that because it was a Sunday, no buses were leaving for another 2 hours! As opposed to walking around the small town center (an activity we had pretty much exhausted), we decided to do the walk we had foregone the night before- the 5km down to the train station. It was a beautiful hike along a highway with olive groves and gorgeous views of the Tuscan countryside. However I had only brought one pair of shoes, my new black leather boots so by the end of it, my pinky toes had turned into giant blisters (below).