Umbrian Idyll

We’re off on holiday – a rented farmhouse in Umbria.

We exit the train at Perugia clutching our instructions.

‘Take the autostrada from Perugia and head towards Assisi.’ That seems simple.

After picking up the hire car in ‘rush hour’ we head for the Autostrada. Soon after leaving the city the road signs for our destination disappear. How many kilometers before we take the slip road? No idea. The. Instructions don’t say!

I keep driving. After what seems like 20 kilometres we decide we must have overshot it or failed to see it in the heavy traffic. We decide to turn around and then when we exit from three tunnels ‘Hey Presto’ there is the sign.

Back to the instructions – ‘Take the exit and at the small roundabout head up the country road towards Monte Verde’. The road looks distinctly promising; a winding country road with plenty of shady trees making archways for us to drive through. It all looks lusciously green after the big storm last week.

The instructions don’t exactly improve with distance or rather the lack of information about distance. Note to owner put down kilometres for future reference for visitors.

So we drive on…. ‘Look out for Casa X and turn after that. Proceed until the third lane on the right.’ We drive onwards and upwards, finally take a left turn sharply back on ourselves and drive in first gear up a severely rutted entry (oh for a four wheel drive and thank goodness we weren’t here in the torrential storms) Eventually the ‘drive’ widens out and we arrive at the top of a steep hill where the farmhouse awaits us.

Finally we are safely hidden away on a hillside in deepest Umbria. The sun shines, the birds sing, the cicadas rub their legs together in glee and we have collapsed into the arms of this characterful Umbrian farmhouse. A local man meets us with keys and a smile and opens the doors. A quick tour and he departs We are alone. The silence is golden.The sunset equally so.

Fortunately the weather is balmy and has settled after the storms. However, the devastation of a cherry tree struck by the recent lightning is evident in front of the house. Cherries appear to be clinging on for dear life with blobs of cherry blood scattered beneath. It’s quite a dramatic and beautiful picture. That lovely fruit may need some help

Shortly afterwards, with a refreshing glass of wine, we stand on the terrace overlooking the valley and the village far below. We breathe gently in anticipation of the week ahead.

Soon the idiosyncrasies of other people’s houses will become apparent and amusing……

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