Thursday, July 5, 2007


As usual we started the day fairly late. The boys has stayed up late so I let them sleep in. By the time they all had a shower and breakfast it was almost noon. We headed towards Assisi and found the road to Monte Subasio, one of the highest peaks in the Appenines at 1290m. It is a bit like Kosciusko in that it is just another hill among many, if slightly higher, and there is a dirt road that winds its way quite close to the summit. It happened that we were of like mind as another family of tourists and every time we stopped so did they and we ended up walking to the peak of the mountain with them. It was a bit sound-of-music-ish. They were from Vancouver so I had to tell them the last mountain I climbed was Whistler.

I don't need to describe the views we had today as you can see them from the photos. We stopped in the small medieval hill-town of Spello on the way back. Like Assisi and Perugia it is walled and perched atop a hill, and you park your car outside one of the gates and walk about the town. I think one of the aspects of these towns that gives them such a peaceful feel is the absence of cars as you walk about.

We returned to Santa Maria degli Angeli for a fix at an internet cafe, some grocery shopping then the hunt for a video store. I was not prepared to help in any way except to drive the car wherever I was told as I didn't feel the need to watch a movie. After more failed attempts from poorly expressed (or understood) directions we found a supermarket on the highway that also sold books and DVDs. They bought Madagascar and Casino Royale which we watched tonight.

It's actually 4:30 am in the morning. I woke up and couldn't get back to sleep so I decided to write while listening to some Quebecois folk music courtesy of Mathieu who burnt a CD with lots of music on it for me before I left. When it gets light I'll take a sunrise photo from my bedroom window. I picked up a CD/DVD "Ricky Martin Unplugged" at a service station on the Autostrada out of Rome the other day. We have been listening to it in the car and watching it on the screen also. It is just the right sort of music to set us in a Latin frame of mind and watching Ricky strut his stuff is not too hard on the eye. Even the boys agree!

So if 'Hymns of the 49th Parallel' is the soundtrack to my last few days in Canada, Ricky Martin is providing the soundtrack to our Italian holiday. I already have a soundtrack from my tour of Italy with Dannii which was 'Born to it' by Craig David.

One thing that is different from the other times that I have visited Italy is that this time I have a car to drive around. It is quite liberating but also provides more adrenalin rushes than downhill skiing. The roads in the Umbrian hills and towns are so winding and narrow and at many points only one car can fit. You really have to know exactly how wide your car is - a challenge when driving a hire car. Italians also beep their horns at the slightest thing and any hesitation produces the inevitable honk.

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