So it’s my second time travelling to Italy and I’m so excited just to be in my favourite Italian city, Florence.
Today we have time to explore at our own pace. Yesterday we had a free day and I’m still recovering from the hauntingly breathtaking climb of the Duomo and the huge five course dinner that was included the night before – bruschetta, prosciutto, fusilli with creamy spinach sauce, rare lamb salad and the most amazing tiramisu, all accompanied by the local wine of course.
So this morning I get up early, not to do anything in particular, but just to take in my last moments in this lively city. I wander the streets as the sun rises over the buildings and hits the corners of the square as it wakes.
“Buon giorno” the local shop keepers call, smiling as they open their doors. I stop for an espresso – I don’t normally drink coffee, but when in Rome, or Florence, as the case may be. My Italian is pretty basic, but I know enough to converse with the waiter and share my enthusiasm for the beautiful day.
On my way back to meet my group I stop by the leather markets and select a few last-minute souvenirs, a small wallet and a card holder – I only wish I could fit more leather in the luggage. I also stop quickly at the local food markets to pick up a slice of pizza and some grapes to take with me for lunch.
It’s so easy travelling on an Intrepid Comfort trip, the hotel is close by, the train tickets are already purchased and so we meet and walk to the train station where we board our train for the short trip to Perugia. I haven’t been there before and I have to admit I don’t know much about the town.
We arrive, jump on a local bus, juggling our luggage, and are dropped right at the front door of our four star hotel. After some time to settle in we meet to explore this beautiful town.
Perugia proves to be a little gem. There are actually elevators throughout the town so you don’t have to climb steps to the town centre and a great mini metro rail system.
After exploring the streets framed by buildings that could be the set of a Shakespeare play, the group decides to have dinner together and I try the specialty of the region as it is in season, wild boar sauce over fresh linguine. Our tour leader has the same, but over gnocchi and she lets me try some which melts in my mouth – belissimo!
We decide to pass on dessert and instead stop for gelato on the walk back to our hotel. The town is lit up like a stage, just magical. Tomorrow will bring another day, a different town to explore and more local specialties to try – I can’t wait!
Feature image c/o Lauren McLean, Flickr