22 April 2011

Spello 8/4/11

Feels like more than just 2 weeks ago when we were getting ready to fly back to Belgium and say good bye to Umbria. We had decided to spent the morning in Spello, have lunch and drive to the tiny cute airport of Perugia.

Bought some nice souvenirs, linen and olive wood

Saw some more marvellous churches and such. 

Had lunch at the place where we ate our first dinner

Bye Bye Spello

During the morning I had received a text message from ryanair saying something like: "if you want to change your flight contact..." we thought; strange, but nice of them to think we might want to stay longer. We would have loved too, but the cats were waiting for us at home.

When we arrived at the airport we found out that our flight had been cancelled, hence the strange text message. So we rang ryanair, they have still seats on the flight from Rome later that day. Ok, lets check if we can keep the car and drive there. We could, the clever lady from the car rental also pointed out, but if Charleroi is closed will be able to fly from Rome or just be stuck again. Hey, good point! So we rang back, double checked we would be able to land in Charleroi and booked. The airport of Charleroi had reopened at that point. So off to Rome, to hit the Friday afternoon traffic, but we made it on time.

Pity you can't see anything from Rome driving on the ring road. Like with Paris you at least can catch a glimpse of the Eiffel tower.

So we got a little extra of Italy, some more nice views and even sitting in traffic was not that bad, had our flight not been cancelled, we would have hit the traffic around Brussels, so Rome was a nice change. 
We were home just after midnight, the cats were trilled to see us. Usually Mol, the eldest is cross when we have been away for a few days, but 5 days was enough for her to be just happy as well :-)

21 April 2011

Spello 7/4/11

Thursday 7th of April, our last full day in Italy, so we had to make the most of it. We started with cappuccino and croissants in a local bar.

Than we headed to Assisi, to see the basilica of St Francis. We were overwhelmed by the amount of tourists and nicely surprised to see "our" statue from St Francis again. The interior of the basilica is amazing, one was not allowed to take pictures, so you will just have to go see for yourselves ;-)

On wondering through Assisi, you could find me drooling in front of these shop windows. 
I did get me some nice nougat and meringue, some of it even made it back to Belgium.

This on top of the "dolci" we would have after lunch and dinner. Is it a holiday or is it a holiday ;-)

This nice mural on a ceiling in an alley somewhere in Assisi reminded me of Jeroen Bosch's work, I like the thin lines and that there is so much white in it.

More nice paintings, we saw these in several galleries, paintings with happy monks.by Luigi Silvis

After lunch we drive to Gubbio, another Medieval town. We were recommended by the landlord of our apartment to go here, as it's more authentic than Assisi (were in later century buildings were restored in a mediaeval style). We walked around for a while, just site seeing when we saw a sign for a funivia, a cable way. It was a bit more wobble and just a basket, so I did not think it very fun, but it was worth the views.

Temperatures rose to 27°C that day, so we were happy to find a nice pace with ice cream.

A little shop full of handmade notebooks with leather covers, in all sizes, too much choice.

We left Gubbio behind and continued to make most of our day by driving to lake Trasimeno, the sun had just set as we arrived at the shore. 

Some nice seafood for a change, although the pasta with fresh forest asparagus, we had previous days, is a real treat too.

Tomorrow our last day in Spello, with a little extra, stay tuned!

20 April 2011

Spello 6/4/11

Travelling 2 weeks back in time, the weather today in Belgium is just as gorgeous as it was in Italy than; Sunny and warm. We planned a trip to Dunarobba to see the fossilised forest and than make our way back trought the mountains and visit some more places. When walking to the car, which was parked just outside the old city walls, we found there was a market in Spello, so we had a quick look around. I liked the way they used umbrellas as baskets.

The colors of the trees were just stunning, fresh green mixed with warm browns.

We drove past a large industry producing bricks, just before we found the centre for the fosil forest. Not so strange it turned out as they found the trees in the clay they were mining for the bricks.

If you go to the above link or this one, you'll see what it looked like when they found it. Now all trees are covered with a tin roof to protect them from the elements. 

The wood is still wood, bone dry wood, it has not turned to stone. They date back from the time of the mamoets  and are all  under an angle as the ground has shifted position since. They are huge all over 1 meter in diameter and 1 or more meters tall.

 After all this amazement it was time for lunch with a large coke for a change, instead of wine, as we still had lots of driving to do.

Of course we came across some sheep in the mountains.

We stopped at Gualdo Cattaneo and hoped to climb the tower, unfortunately we were to early in the season and it was not open on Wednesdays yet. 

The views from the tower would have been more spectacular, but from the village we got some great views too.

We spotted a lovely ceiling through an open window, which was closed quickly when they heard us outside, but we got the picture anyway :-)

 We leave the top of the mountain and Gualdo-Cattaneo to drive to our next destination.

Montefalco, famous for it's wines (and oils).

We stepped throught the doors of another old church, Chiesa Sant' Agostina, dating back to the 13th century and were amazed, this was much older than any of the other churches we had seen so far, it had old beams for the ceiling, very few status and sculptures, but lots of wall panitings.

 The church also housed the exceptionally well preserved remains of someone. 
(I now know after reading about the church (see link above) that it is a 14th century unknown pilgrim)
It seriously gave me the creeps as he was suddenly there sitting in a glass box, so unexpected, that I needed some sun ....

....... and famous Montefalco wine to get rid of the chills.

We left Montefalco to have our dinner in Spello, with more local wines :-)
On the way we saw a place with old FIAT cars, the original version of the FIAT 500 we were driving, it's bigger brother the 750 and this tiny bus, isn't it the cutest one you've ever seen.

19 April 2011

Spello 5/4/11

Two weeks ago we were having breakfast on the terrace of our apartment in Spello, planning the day. The weather was a bit grey, so no mountain drives, cause the views would not be there anyway. We decided to drive to Foligno and Bevagna. In Foligno we quickly found this arch after parking our car and thought the centre has to be near.

But alas no luck, we only found it after an hour and a half, turned out we passed the tourist info on our search, but missed it and missed the centre too, we did see some nice houses on our walk though.

 When we finally found the old centre we had a good look around.

And a detailed shot, one can only see these with a zoom or binoculars, so when they were created no one could really see them well, makes you wonder.

A nice surprise was a square with a statue dedicated to 18th centrury architect Giuseppe Piermarini
A man carrying a spike crawling with little man and on each side of the base a plaque with little faces, turtles and sketches of his work

After a nice lunch we set out for Bevagna and hoped to be more lucky and not spend first half looking for everything.

We quickly found a church dedicated to St Francis, it was apparently here that he preached to the birds :-)

 Some nice views, the weather had cleared by now.

Somewhere in June Bevagna is send back in time to the middle ages. During the year several houses are open where one can see mediaeval crafts in progress. There was the paper maker:


Rags were sorted by type, cotton, linen, ... and torn, than meshed up in these stone containers with help of a watermill. The slush was transferred to a bigger vessel, were the paper was made by draining the slush through a screen, leaving the fibers behind. Once dry you would have paper, here some is drying further:

The bell maker, were bells for churches and so are cast, below the kiln were the will heat the bronze and let it flow into the pit were the mould of the bell is waiting to be filled.

Below the bench were the bell mould was made in clay. I would not mind seeing this process in work, so one day we might have to go back in June.

Besides these there was also a place were they make candles form beeswax, a weaver and an atelier where they made pigment, paints and painting. 

More nice views driving back to Spello. 

Were it was high time for a pizza :-) and more local wine.