Matt’s sister and brother-in-law are visiting until the end of the week, and my aunt and uncle are here for almost a month. We’ve filled our days with short trips to nearby cities and lots of time here in town. We been both tourists and residents in Perugia, and it’s been so much fun. It’s different having such close family here. There is so much understanding each other.
Everything is more detailed with eight people. With everyone’s background and perspective, we notice more. Take beer, for example. I think Umbria makes good beer. I can appreciate the labels and pretty bottles. But with the help of Tom and Heidi, who grow hops and make their own IPA, we are learning to recognize the subtleties of each Umbrian brew. For the first time, the local beer is more than just “good.” It’s complex and colorful. Some even have hints of coriander (which I never would have detected in a hundred years).
Grocery shopping and dinner is more interesting too. Since we are twice as big, we get to eat more. The other day for lunch, we bought eleven types of cured meats, five types of cheeses, three different breads and four Christmas desserts.
Some other highlights this week included a day trip to Assisi. All eight of us squished in the car and drove to the woods high above the town to see where St. Francis lived and prayed. Later we had lunch, walked to the famous cathedral, saw St. Clare’s entire preserved body, and visited the 2000-year-old Roman temple.
Yesterday, while the boys were at school, the adults visited the nearby city of Deruta. We talked with the ceramic craftsmen and bought more plates. We toured a three-story nativity display that featured the works of 40 artists. On the way home, we got stuck in traffic and were a half hour late to get the boys from school. I had to call the landlady of Tom and Heidi’s apartment to ask her to pick them up. She made sure they got home okay. It was a little embarrassing.
This morning we went shoe shopping. Deanne, Heidi and I looked at a pair of plastic high heals that cost about 160 dollars. The salesman pointed out that they smell like Starbursts when you wear them. We tried them on (just for fun).
We have two more days before Richard and Deanne leave and about two weeks of plans to fit into that time. Richard is throwing an Italian wine tasting tomorrow night. Uncle Tom’s going to make beef tongue. There’s an ancient well down the street we need to see. Plus a Raphael fresco. Then a castle. And some Etruscan tombs just outside the city wall. And if there is time, we are going to try and cook black truffle pasta for dinner tomorrow.