It's been a while I last updated, mainly because the places I stayed are pretty remote.
Right now I'm in Assisi
, another hill town in the Umbria
region. It was a pretty big town, comparing to Civita, the one I stayed at last night. Somehow I guess I have stayed too much in these hill towns: from Siena to Cortona; from Cortona to Orvieta; from Orvieta to Civita; and then finally I end up here in Assisi.
I planned to drive around from place to place, but I messed up with the reservation schedule and the car was rented out already. Most of the other rental companies have only stick cars, so I have to opt for taking trains and buses--which means, it's quite a lot of walking with my two heavy luggages. And may be because of this, I lost my tripod..... :( Hum, or was it stolen?? For some reasons, my luggages are feeling ligther and ligther day after day!
Anyways, I did have a good time though. As I said, I went to Civita di Bagnoregio
yesterday. It is one of the towns in central Italy that were built on tufa, the soft volcanic rock that distinguishes the region's landscape. It is a small town that has less than 20 residents, but receives as many as 3000 visitors on a good day. Because the soft rock it was built on, and the uncontrolled tourists, a large section of the NW bluff of the site is in danger of collapse... The hostel I stayed at was pretty small too, but they served good food at a good price--for 15 EUR that includes all courses (which usually includes an appetizer, a bowl of pasta, an entree with meat, and coffee/dessert. Of course, you'll for sure get 1/2 liter wine!) I hiked up the hill (a very steep hill) before dawn to catch the sunrise--which was intoxicating. It's well worth all the troubles for the experience.
Before I went to Civita, I passed by Orvieto
. Since I discovered my tripod was gone in this place, I had no mood at all--not even wandering around. So I spent most of the day waiting for the bus that goes to Civita. Fortunately, whenver I need direction, there was always people along the way that can help. No wonder people say catching buses and trains in Italy is quite an experience in itself.
And then I was lucky enough to catch a beautiful sunset in a town I stayed earlier, Cortona
. Funny enough, the place I stayed is labeled by the Tourist Information as a "religious place", and they asked if I am sure I am going to stay there, and if needed, book a hotel somewhere else. I ended up staying there anyway, and found out that it was a church that wasn't in use anymore. I saw the sister, and she was pretty old. Taking care by the monks means you're in good hands and a quiet environment--so quiet and dark that it was actually quite scary. I went back to the place at 10ish after dinner, and found out that the place, this church, had all lights out. Since I had no idea where the light switches are, I had to guess the way using my hands.... and there was one firefly doing all these with me... but hey, it's only 30 EUR, so no complain at all. The next morning I found out that there were only four people staying in this large church... Having breakfast at their huge dinning room with the other folks without much talking was quite interesting...
Did I mention anything about Siena? I had very good and huge gelato there--for only 2 UER. Comparing to a 9 EUR gelato I got from Florence, I was happy (and sad that I fell into the trap...)Rick Steve
is right, you have to be alert all the time no matter where you stay in Italy (I just got a former European coin that is no longer in use... it has a very similar look and feel of a 10 cent EUR coin..... )