Mom brought her netbook and the apartment has hardwire internet. Yay – I can save my euro and avoid the internet cafes!
The eight-hour plane ride from Detroit to Rome was sucky just because I couldn’t fall asleep and I was too tired to watch movies or read. But the ride itself was very nice. The 747 had taller ceilings, wider aisles, bigger chairs and more space between seats that I have ever had for my intranational flights. We were served free alcohol, hot dinner and breakfast (I skipped the egg muffins, but it’s nice that they were available), and there were nine flight attendants for the whole plane, so it was easy to get assistance or information when it was needed.
Arrival at Fiumicino Airport, Rome
Okay, I was very excited to be in a foreign land where a different language is spoken, but damn is it intimidating! A lot of people speak un poco English – perhaps a little more than I speak Italian! So far I’ve had one guy at the biglietto (ticket) booth at the ferroviaria (railroad) pull the “if I speak loudly and slowly in Italian she’ll understand me” routine ( and I might have, if he hadn’t been behind four inches of protective plexiglass). The guy at the Perugia bus station gave me a disgusted look and an emphatic “no” replete with hand waving when I asked parla inglese?, and I had a really hard time communicating with the landlord; I wanted her to tell me what apartment number mi madre was in so I could ring the bell to let her know we had arrived, but she thought I wanted to make una prenotazione (a reservation) and kept telling me in broken english “we are full, no vacancy”. Luckily I’m stubborn, have thick skin and don’t mind pestering people to get the information I need!
We made our transfer to Perugia alright, but we did get off at the wrong station once. Happily, the train hadn’t left the station by the time we realized our mistake and we were able to get back on!
Sign over the ferroviaria tracks – I think it translates to “Danger – pirates!“
Once in Perugia the Hubby and I had a harrowing taxi ride up to the Centro Storico (Historic Center) where we are staying. There aren’t lines per se on the road, and all vehicles drive in whatever open space they can find. Forget about turn signals – I don’t think the cab we were in had them. Car horns they have, and use abundantly, but without (much) malice (usually). In the small alley-like streets of the old town, people squish against the walls when cars come by. Our driver actually tagged a guy’s arm with the passenger-side mirror. They both swore at each other in minor irritation and then appeared to forget about it.
Perugia is beautiful. Everything is stone, the tiles on the roofs are all the same reddish, lichen-stained colors and patterns, and there are stone arches everywhere. We went for dinner at Da Peppone last night and learned that scaloppe is not a seafood when listed under carne on a menu. I took a couple of photographs on the point-and-shoot as we walked through town – this place is like the MC Escher stairs from The Labyrinth, except without the upside down stairs. The alley/streets are very steep in some cases, and little alleys criss-cross and connect through, between and under different commercial and residential structures.
More Perugia today – we’ll be exploring the Porta San Pietro area. Ciao!