Tuesday 30 September 2014

Some thoughts on gelati and other less tasty things

These are some thoughts that have come into my mind in the last few days. Some might interest you, others I just wish to record.

We have now spent a total of 47 days in Rome and 32.3 weeks in Italy. Those times have been spread over eight different months, those not experienced are April, November, December and January.

We did not watch any television at all, far too many other things to do. Before leaving home we did think we would watch t.v. to help improve our language skills.

We saw Bob Geldof at Dubai airport on the way over and our friend Barb, ex Norfolk Island, on the return trip.

There were 61 days when we could have had gelati in Italy. We actually had gelati 49 times and I tasted 47 different flavours. On every occasion you can have two or three 'gusti' (flavours) depending on the size you buy. Pistachio is the favourite of Sicilians. My favourites were Malaga, white chocolate, pineapple and ginger, salted caramel, cherry & amaretto, Costa Morena ... o.k, I liked them all!
Our favourite gelateria was Cafe Alise in Castiglione del Lago, closely followed by Fatamorgana Gelato in Trastevere.

The size of the serve is not relative to the size of the consumer!

Saturday 27 September 2014

Forty hours later we are home

We are home after a marathon 40 hours of travel, including waiting time between legs of the trip. This trip started in a rental car from Panicale to Chiusi then we went by train to Rome. Another train to the airport then a flight to Dubai followed by the flight to Melbourne. From there we went by bus to the train station then a train to Benalla where our neighbour drove us home. The plane was 30 minutes early, the train was two hours late. A shower never felt so good!

Thanks to our very kind neighbours, we returned to a neat and tidy garden. It is also spring so the garden is looking pretty with a variety of flowers.

We never return from a trip without having some plans for the next trip. The planning is part of the fun of travel. It takes the stress away and allows us to really make the most of the wonderful opportunities that we have when we travel.

There is an Italian saying: 'La vita รจ troppo breve per bere del vino cattivo' - life is too short to drink bad wine. Life is also too short to just sit and wonder.

Thursday 25 September 2014

Arrivederci Panicale

Leaving Italy is always a little sad but today was worse. We did a lap around town and said some farewells, some hugs and little gifts, a few tears, then we took the long route to return the car to Chiusi. It is interesting to see how the landscape has changed in five weeks.

We are in a bar at Fiumicino airport at present as it isn't check in time yet. Before that we had our last gelati at Termini Station. We thought you might enjoy the quick photo Kel took whilst we were enjoying them

The down side of travel (which we usually cope with well) is that we left Panicale about 11 am, caught at train to Rome at 1.45 pm, a train to the airport at 4.20 pm, will check in at 7.10 pm and fly out at 10.10 pm, 22 hours in planes and airports and we arrive back in Melbourne on Saturday. Another train trip and with good fortune we should be home by lunch time!

Wednesday 24 September 2014

Last day in Panicale and it is raining

Why is it that the last day of a holiday is very often wet? Is it to make you realise that your holiday location isn't always perfect, or is it to make life difficult? Our lunch plans were cancelled because the mist is so thick that we wouldn't be able to see the view even if we could find our way to the lake.

Kel has been enjoying a cappuccino or caffe latte with cornetto for breakfast at Aldo's bar most days. I had never been, preferring a more conventional breakfast at home, but today I decided to join him.

They serve a delicious hot chocolate in Italy, so thick you need a spoon to eat it

Tuesday 23 September 2014

Colle San Paolo and suit cases

The time comes when you just have to make those big decisions; who will carry the ceramics in their suitcase, do we really need those souvenir brochures and maps, can we do this without crying. Kel's big decision is will he drink one bottle of wine tomorrow or can he take two home in the case!

Left-overs never tasted so good. Prosciutto (o.k. so we bought some more!), pecorino and honey, sweet little tomatoes, olives and my favourite croccanti.

Every hill seems have some sort of ancient fortification or monastery and one in particular has been capturing our imagination. On Sunday we had a conversation with an old man named Mario (conversation might be too strong a word) and Kel asked about that particular hill. From his reply we caught the names Colle San Paolo and Colle Calzolaro. Today we drove through Tavernelle to Colle San Paolo where the old fortress is now part of a farm and close by is a very interesting church. It is historically interesting with artworks and a crypt, it also has three nuns who live there, but most interesting was that this little church in a relatively remote rural community should have such restoration works. A young priest was preparing to paint a Madonna on the ambo frontal, we wondered if he had done all the paintings on the ceiling.

The views from up on the Colle were superb.

Colle Calzolaro is a very small hamlet but so cute. Amongst the very old buildings that were falling into ruin were homes proudly displaying a fiesta of flowers at their doors.

We had planned to go to our favourite restaurant Il Gallo nel Pozzo on our last night but they will not be open so we went tonight. Simone and Lorena have a wonderful restaurant, the food is so good - I will never forget the gigli pasta with truffles. I have had it three times and it has been magnificent every time.

Monday 22 September 2014

Monte Petrarvella

Today we climbed Monte Petrarvella, descended to Missiano and walked back to Panicale. We were following a route designated as no. M23 walking track marked with red and white paint daubs . In all, we walked 15 kilometres. 

The path started out very steep but paved in concrete.

We initially passed some very pretty properties.

The road changed to a typical white road and the forest became denser, the climb was challenging. Then we spotted the top of Monte Petrarvella with its pine trees.

Now the track was rocky, very rough and steep. My trekking pole saved me several times.

But it got rougher and tougher!

When we reached the top we found there was no view. But no matter, time for a selfie.

We set off down the other side along a track that was narrow and a little overgrown in places. At times there were views, meadows with flowers, the occasional ruin, but the track was so rough that we dared not take our eyes off the rocks to take photos. 

We arrived in Missiano and eagerly opened our picnic lunch on the rocks by the cemetery.

The walk back from Missiano to Panicale was along the asphalt road and through olive groves. I just can't get enough of rock walls and old olive trees.

Sunday 21 September 2014

The lace and embroidery exhibition continues

I have never seen such exquisite hand work as has been on display this weekend. This large table cloth was my favourite as it included several different types of embroidery and lace making and it was absolutely faultless. Spectacular!

Can you believe the fine work here? 

If you think macrame is 1970s then think again, this very fine cotton knotted lace is macrame! 

In the afternoon we did the art and photography exhibitions. 

International award winning photojournalist Steve McCurry had a small but stunning collection of photos entitled, correctly,'Sensational Umbria'. To have seen one of these photos would have been a delight but to see several was wonderful.

Opera 'Don Giovanni' at the Teatro Caporali in Panicale

The experiences never stop in Panicale. Last night we had excellent seats at the Teatro Cesare Caporali to see the opera 'Don Giovanni', a tragi-comedy with music by Mozart.

This tiny theatre is gorgeous and it amazed me that they had an orchestra pit, a lighting box and all the necessities for producing an opera of real quality. No sound box needed!
The orchestra was excellent and the singers amazing. They told the story absolutely with their singing and dramatic actions. We loved it!

At interval we were invited to make a small donation for a vino Marzemino or a semifreddo, served in a hand made goblet or bowl inscribed 'Don Giovanni 2014 Panicale.'... to keep as a memory of the night. What a good idea!

Saturday 20 September 2014

Fili in Trama - 2nd International Exhibition of Lace and Embroidery in Panicale

Another huge weekend in this little village of Panicale. This is the second year of this international exhibition of lace and embroidery and the village is dressed to please. 

The fountain looks gorgeous with lawn and flowers decorating its steps and rim.

The shops all have a little display of the local lacemakers' talents.

The Mayor cut the ribbon and opened the festival.

Those small rooms that appeared from behind closed doors for the grape festival have reappeared as exhibition spaces and sales points. Other larger spaces have opened in the castle and along lane ways. Additionally marquees have been set up, art works hang on the 1000 year old walls and people demonstrating their crafts are seated all about town.

The hand work is exquisite and the many uses for these amazing talents is incredible - lace ear rings, mediaeval costumes for parades, clothing that must take years to make and be beyond value.