Thursday, August 25, 2011

Assisi or Bust

Apple tart with cappuccino on the way to the fabrica.

We got up late. DRATS! My plan was to get up early, but, it didn't happen. Afterall, we didn't go swimming until 10:30pm. And I said I was going straight to bed, but I did the blog last night. Susie said she was up at 4:30am doing email, and then back to bed at 6:30 and she got up when I did.

We had some cereal, cashew nuts, I had yogurt and she gave us each a half a fig and half a red plum for breakfast. We have no coffee here, and we usully get it at the fabricca when someone offers it. But today, I said I was taking her to the place that I stopped at on the way to paint a pear orchard.

Here is yesterday's cappuccino, after two sips.
I knew there was writing in that cup.

I ordered, "Due cappuccino, per favore." in my best Italiano! Yeah right.
Susie spied the apple tart; I dare not look at those things.
She asked if I'd eat half of one of those if she got it.

I ate my apple thingy, and took my coffee in hand to look at the other pasties.
You can do the translating on this one and the next.

This one is a mystery, so if anyone knows what it is, please let me know.

I dropped Susie at the fabricca to do what she came here to do, work on her pottery line. I decided I needed to do what I came here to do, landscape painting.

I headed in the direction of Bettona, where Susie had taken me the afternoon we arrived in Deruta. You can see Assisi from there, and the hills are covered in olive trees. There is an Etrusca tomb on one bend that I'd like to stop and see, but I can't figure where to stop to see it. There's also 'old stuff'' like Roman mosaics in the town itself.

There are some safe pull offs at the edge of an olive orchard,
and that was where I decided to set up and paint.

This is what I attempted to paint. It looks so simple in this photo, but it wasn't.
I wasn't totally dissatisfied with my painting. I sure did do battle with it. I will have a look see tomorrow and decide if I think it's got any of the character of this place.

It was shady and cool where I stood to paint, but I was extremely thirsty at the end of the painting. I downed my small bottle of water fast on the short drive uphill to Bettona. Instead on going inside the walls of the town, I drove around the outside of the wall. There was a lot of parking available, and several spaces directly across for a view I admired. I parked and got out with my sketchbook. I decided to paint, but I felt tired.
I should have had an espresso! But I didn't think about it.

It was all there: parking, shade, and a view; yet, Assisi was calling me, and I wanted to see if I could actually get there and back. I got back in the car, thought about it, got back out of the car, and in the end, got back into the car, and started the drive to Assisi by the back roads.

Susie said she didn't think it would be good for me to go there by myself. But I did it. The trip there was easy, all roads lead to Assisi, or to Rome or to Perugia. I navigated the roundabouts easily to Assisi.

The parking was a different story. I actually was motioned into the 'smart parking lot', the first one I came to, downhill, or below the church. I actually went into that parking lot, got my ticket, and decided that wasn't the one that I needed. It was indoors, with elevators, and I was unsure. So I left that lot. It didn't take any of my money, maybe because I was in there a minute or so. Now I was switch-backing up the hill to the top of Assisi. Little did I realize I would end up at the wrong end of the town.

I parked with no problem,
and had to walk all the way downhill to the
Basilica San Francesco.
Centro of Assisi, with the fountain!

Before I reached the 'centro' of Assisi, I stopped to ask a man how far to the basilica. He said it was straight ahead, only one way, about 12 minutes. I kept my mind on the time as I had to get back to get Susie no later than 6pm.

Yes, downhill and sometimes steep. (Thank heavens Brad, our old trainer, had made us do so many stairs! It sure did help me today.) When I reached the centro, I looked around to make sure which corner I'd come out of for my return trip.

There was a medieval fair going on.
Here's what I found interesting there:
Leather masks!
this Rembrant-like artist.
Had I known, I'd have brought down my easel
and joined him as he painted.

I followed the signs and finally came out at the other side, and there she was!

No photos are allowed inside the basilica. No entry fees either! I entered and found myself taken back to my first visit here, walking around with a graduating senior, and ancient studies major. She was a Giotto fan, and we walked around the murals together and I listened to the passion in her voice as she talked about these masterpieces.

I visited the tomb, and viewed the relics. St. Francis died in the 1200's, and they have his habit in a glass case. It's in pretty good shape, with lots of patches. There are several other items there, one that I found an oddity. It looked to be a piece of skin, like someone had cut it from aorund the eye socket of someone, and included some of the cheek skin. I haven't yet read the phamphlet that will tell me what this was.

I left the basilica satisfied that I'd seen the Giotto murals,
and that I'd driven there without problems.
I took this photo just outside the church.
Call or visit this website.

I climbed back up the hills, some harder than others. Along the way there was a screaming little boy. He was Asian in decent and the way he was crying I am sure that most everyone thought that he was lost. However, his Mother, or guardian was standing right next to him.

A passerby woman tried to comfort him, and he reached out for the woman standing there with her arms folded. I could only see the back of her, but her body language was of disgust, and when he reached for her in fear of the stranger, she backed away from him. She was showing no mercy in the shadow of the basilica.
I wondered what the story was, but I didn't want to watch it.

I took two photos of them and continued my climb to the parking lot.

Once there, I got out my parking ticket and tried to insert it in the macine to open the gate. I figured it would show me how much i had to pay, and I'll put the money in the slot. NO! I had to ask someone that was coming in. He was very sympoathetic to my cause and tried to help, but in the end he asked the car behind me to help. Two young men, and after a little discussion, they said I had to go to the kiosk at the other end of the lot and pay and then come back with my stamped ticket. That was a small price to pay to have them help me figure this out.

I was driving the route I'd come in reverse now.
Things were moving along fine, but I wasn't seeing the signs for Bettona at the round abouts. I got off into a town where I didn't want to be, and finally asked a young man how to get there. Simple he said. he pointed and explained in limited English.

I found the roundabout and it said Bettona, it was straign ahead, but so many roundabouts and none of them from then on saying Bettona. I floundered thinking that I was missing the sign somewhere, and so I found a man in his garden and stopped to ask.

My opening line is, "No Italiano." If they speak English, they do as best as they can. I just show the map and say with a question in my voice, "Bettona?"

He motioned to go straight ahead, about 2k, and pointed to the mountain, mentioned a bridge and he was correct on all accounts. Nice little man.

So I was back to get
Susie at 5:30pm.

Whew! I am not proof reading.

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