A young Italian lass today, while activating my new Italian SIM card, said that Umbria was the green heart of Italy. And today, driving through the magnificent countryside, I could see why.
After getting SIM cards we drove to a hilltop town – Monterchi – to have lunch, but the restaurant was closed, Disappointing. I’d eaten there on the previous trip and it had been a lunch I will never forget.
Undaunted, I set my Garmin to find the nearest restaurant, which was only 1.5kms away. 12 kms later, and the Garmin was still dicking around, so I shut it down and used my own PGS to find a place to eat.
This involves “feeling” the right way to go. It’s a sense which I’ve developed, and it rarely lets me down. It doesn’t follow rational thinking. I see a lane and I ignore it and keep driving. I see another lane and I turn and drive down it, not knowing where it’s heading, but just trusting that the feeling I’m getting is leading me to the perfect lunch spot.
Invariably it does, and today it didn’t let me down.
We ended up in what turned out to be one of the great historic towns of Umbria – Anghiari. This time of the year all these towns are virtually deserted. It’s wonderful. You wander through cobblestone alley ways and under medieval arches and you’re the only one there.
I found us a restaurant that was sublime. Buffalo mozzarella that was so fresh – followed by grilled chicken with white truffles. The mozzarella was €5 and the chicken with truffles was €9. Plus a 750cl of a carafe wine – a Montepulciano – that was unbelievable, and cost €10, but would have cost $80 in Australia.
After lunch we drove to Sansepulcro, which is a town on our tour. Another beautiful historic medieval Umbrian town. We checked out the hotel we’re staying in – and the restaurant – both of which are in the heart of the historic centre.
In the evening we went for a walk around the town, and later outside the old gates of the town we found a local bar where we sat and watched the sun go down and had a plate of hams, salamis and local cheeses, with a glass of red wine each.
Tomorrow we go for a walk along our route – maybe 10kms or so. We want to test out our GPX coordinates on our iPhone maps, to make sure they all work ok.
You might think from all this that we have it easy, but hey, this is work…