Italy, November 2002

Rieti

I managed to take 10 days in Italy between the 1st and 11th of November. The first weekend was spent with friends of Rosa in Rieti. It was one of the strangest weekends I've spent visiting - a nice location in central Italy, but somewhat spoilt by my not understanding Italian, the house having no hot water, and the amount of smoking that went on by Marco and his friends.

Cool showers in summer in Italy were a must, but frigid water in November is something that I won't forget soon! Brrrrr!

On the first afternoon Marco collected us from the train station, and drove us to the house in the hills outside Rieti. It seemed the house was in the middle of nowhere, and Marco was joking about taking us to a haunted house! We spent the evening at the house as he had invited friends over for a meal. We had a good time, even with my language barrier, with 'Horo Horo Chow' served after two pasta courses.

On the Saturday we had planned to visit 3 or 4 towns in the locality, but a late start meant we only did a little sightseeing in the immediate area around Rieti when Marco arrived to chauffeur us around. It was pretty nice to see some of the landscapes and churches in the area, and some pictures are below.

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Assisi

The Sunday came, and mostly went again at the house. We spent an hour eating a nice meal in Assisi in the late afternoon, then very hurried 60 minutes sight-seeing without being able to really take in the atmosphere of the town.

The last of the daylight saw Rosa, Nicola and I saying farewell to Rika at the Assisi train station. She headed north back to Perugia, and we headed south to Naples at the end of the long weekend spent mostly at the 'house in the hills'.

Marco and his friends stayed at the station to see us off and I trust they got home safely from Assisi after our trains had departed.

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Perugia

The weekdays passed quickly in Naples, with Nicola working until 5pm. I settled into a routine of a few hours work in the mornings, a leisurely lunch with the family around 1pm, and a little more work from 3-5pm, when Nicola rolled by the hotel to collect me. We spent the evenings in and around Aversa, bowling, meeting friends, eating and generally just relaxing.

Nicola and I also decided that after the less than perfect time in Rieti, we would go back to that part of Italy on the following weekend, and just see some of the country by ourselves, without having to worry about anything else.

We took the Eurostar from Rome to Perugia on Friday evening, and by 10:30pm we were settled into the Casa del Sacro Cuore - a hotel in a splendid location 4km outside the town itself.

We spent Saturday in Perugia, taking in the architechture and tourist sights of small-town central Italy, and with consciences twitching slightly, we did not get in touch with Rika while we were there. We knew she had to study, she'd been living in Perugia for a few months and had seen the sights already, and somewhat selfishly that we'd like to just 'do our own thing' without worrying about anyone else for a while.

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Gubbio

Sunday came all too quickly, and we took a bus to the small town of Gubbio, to the north west of Perugia. Another fine example of a historic town, and after a tense 3 hours Nicola's phone turned up safely again after it had fallen out of his pocket on the bus. The day flew by, and after taking the bus back to Perugia, we ate, then retired to the hotel for another night's rest.

All too soon it was Monday morning, and time to check out of the hotel to start the trip back to Rome, and then Aversa / England for Nicola and I respectively.

After a perfect weekend, I did my best to end up spoiling it by slipping off a metal step at the hotel and severely twisting my ankle. I became 'hobbling boy' for the rest of the day, but thankfully there were no broken bones, and the pain eased after a few days wearing an ankle support.

The trains were all on time, and it was with a heavy heart that I took the train to the airport after a good meal with Nicola in Rome. It is becoming progressively harder to leave Italy after each trip, and one day soon, I might just tear up my return ticket and settle there.

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