Monday, October 8, 2012

Assisi....Oct 1..........! Updated!

Assisi....October 1, 2011

Up on Monday morning, the first of October, to a glorious day full of sunshine and crisp breezes. It rained the night hard that I chose to stay in my room and catch up on the news channels....hadn't seen anything political or in the entertainment world in 2 weeks. Actually kind of nice....I figure the best time to be away from the campaign is the time that the opponents are bashing one another on a daily basis! But guess what? at night...when I'm ready for's only 1-2 in the afternoon and on a Sunday, there is not much to hear about. My bus didn't leave for Poggibonsi until noon on Monday, so I walked to the piazza, found an empty step to sit on and just watched the people. One of my fave things to do. Caught the bus to us locals tend to call it!!...and then a train to Florence. Had to change trains there for the train to Assisi. Only problem? I unloaded on track 2 and my next train was on track 16 and I had 8 minutes to make it. Now running thru airports is one thing but running thru a train station crossing tracks, going up and down, is a wee bit different. But alas.....with all my crap...I made it. Poor girl that I grabbed with sheer panic to ask if this was the right hair, piercings all over, black lipstick...........said in broken english....."hey lady.....slow down, relax. you'll get there sooner or later", ok. I jumped on the train. Only to find out that the car I jumped into was first class and I didn't have a first class ticket. So, after train guy tells me I have to move and all my crap gets caught in the closing doors....again.....I finally find a seat and sigh a sigh of relief. I had no water, planned to get it in train station but didn't have time and hadn't eaten breakfast. But I had 2 hrs 45 min to rest and sleep. Sleep? R you kidding me? We stopped in no less than 13 towns, each time, me craning my neck to make sure each stop wasn't my own. Finally, we get to Assisi and I get a cab to the old city where I have a spot to meet Anne, the woman I'm renting apt from. The very first thing I see when my foot touches the ground out of the cab is friars, nuns, monks............everywhere! Dressed in old time habits. Been a very long time since I've seen that. I'm amazed. So what do I do? Get a beer! Isn't that what us catholics do? Meet up with Anne, who by the way is a hoot....with more energy than the bunny...we have some wine, she introduces me to every person in the piazza and then we go to the apt. It's right in the center of town, on a back street, and such a charm! Very small with slanted ceilings but it's everything I need. She's only had it for a yr and has completely redecorated in Umbriam style. It makes me very happy everytime I walk in the door. Take a look!

Anne was worried that I would think the bathroom was too small but I told her...girrrrrrl, I've been taking showers on a boat...there is no problem here!!  And how bout that washing machine right next to the fridge??  You have NO idea how much I love that washing machine!
There is a pizzeria right around the corner so I got a bite to eat and called it a day. Slept like a baby. The skylight right over the bed shows me the stars each my lil safety net and security blanket!
 Promised myself that I was going to rest on Tuesday.....cuz really? Been busting it every single day for over 2 weeks..........did I? um....nada. Who could stay inside when there is so much to see in a city that is thousands of years old?!!! And is famous for its hometown boy, St. Francis of Assisi! To quote Rick Steves: "about the year 1200, this simple friar from Assisi countered the decadence of Church government and society in general with a powerful message of non-materialism and a 'slow down and smell God's roses' lifestyle". Gotta love a guy like that! The holiness one feels in this town is awesome. The churches, the flowers, the smells, the people.....all bind together to make a quaint village.
Going to stop talking now and just show you some of the things I discovered on my first day of exploring on Tuesday!

First thing onTuesday morning was cappucino and canoli from what has become my first stop every's right outside my apt.
Next??  to the grocery store to stock up on what was needed...paper towels, t paper, eggs, pasta, butter, bread, olives, know?  the neccesary things in life!
and back to unload
then to the pharmacia to re-stock on advil and zantac....pasta sauce has lotsa garlic!!
The first church I visit in Assisi!!  Church of San Ruffino. Well.......lemme just say it like this....WOW!  I was at a loss for words. And the funny thing is that I'm, of course...lost, cuz you all know I cannot follow a map....and I'm just walking and walking and voila...this appears!  I actually lost it a bit inside....all my catholic upbringing finally came full circle back to me here..
and just when I think it can't get any better??  It's Grandparents Day on this day!!!
I'm YaYa to my grandbabies...that's greek for grandma, but in Italia, I would be their Nonni!!
to be continued..... walk and walk some more I did. Next church I found was the Basilica of St. Clare (di Santa Chiara). It was dedicated to the Order of the Poor Clares. The story of St. Clare is fascinating but I won't bore you with words here. But any of you who may be interested...Elaine?!... look up the story of St. Clare and St Francis.

No way can I ever explain the magnificence of these churches. I try to capture it thru images but I'm afraid I can't do them justice. And alot of them won't let you take pics inside....mamma mia.....they are gorgeous. I try to sneak a few every now and then if there is enough light, but even "I" a bit guilty being sneaky in these surroundings.
The architecture...the Umbrian sky - always the color of the most azure gem in the world - has just amazed me. It's true beauty that will never leave my memory! Not only are the churches beautiful, but just look at the landscapes you see when you walk outside the church in the piazza!
One of the things you learn in every photography class is to always turn around. Whatever you're shooting, turn around and see what's behind you. Usually the shot is there. So, when I turned around after getting the landscape shots, I turned around to find a scape of a part of the city of Assisi from a lower vantage point!

Anne was hosting a tour this day and asked if I would like to meet them for lunch at La Fontanella. Sure, I said....I'll meet ya'll there, cuz afterall I did have a street map. Heheheh. After walking two more hours, getting lost trying to find them, I went home. She called and said, It's right around the corner from the off I go again, finally finding them! And this is my internet site....

Franca is the owner and she cooks the best food in the world....including her renowned mushroom dishes that she goes out and picks in the afternoons. I go there often late afternoons for a sunset and to check email. But I ALWAYS eat some of what she's cooked. Last night? grilled pork chop, some type of fresh spinach and grilled huge night she did rabbit....another a tomato pasta that would make you slap yo mama....cost? usually about 13 euros! Cannot get food like that from the fine dining restaurants and certainly not for that cost. She's a sweetie and she's asked me if I'd like to go with her to find mushrooms next cool is that?

and this is the view from her place where I watch sunsets! that was day one!!! Do you see why it's going to take me forever to blog about this whole trip?? But I am....just may a while before I get it all done! Tomorrow? the story of the rural tour I went on..............3 farms in the mountains with Peppa, Carita and Pepe.....oh....Pepe!! Then dinner at Olga's house where Olga's husband played the accordian of Umbrian music for all of us and showed us his hand carved guns!



  1. oooooh wow yaya! what a story of running through the train station! Can't wait to hear this in person!! The lil apartment looks perfect and your breakfast spot--amaze-balls! The pics of the church are truly moving! Can't wait for more! Miss you more than dirt ;)

  2. Franca is a true gem. We miss her!