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Friday 18 August 2000

(Somewhat unexpectedly — I keep on getting more and more unpredictable — I'm writing this at dinner outdoors on the patio of my hotel in Citerna; 36 hours ago this was about the last conceivable place I could have thought I'd be.)

Yesterday morning of course I slept; I didn't wake up 'til past ten, and I had Mirko's phone numbers to call whenever I felt like checking out: they closed the restaurant yesterday exceptionally since they'd stayed open on Tuesday their normal closing day not to miss out on the Ferragosto business.

I didn't do a blessed thing, finally; lolling about in bed waiting for a newscast, then wandering down to the train station to get the schedules back to Foligno — meeting with Gloria on the way, sitting on the bench near S. Maria Maggiore — then back and sat in the garden near S. Lorenzo and had a cup of ice cream, half melon half hazelnut, which for some reason tasted marvelous; eventually I decided to stay one more night (after all I'd blocked out 2 whole days for Spello) and just relax a bit: the deciding factor was that Gloria'd invited me to dinner at the Molino; I left a note at her hotel that I'd be delighted, at 8.

Well as I told Gloria at the end of dinner, her company was better than the meal. This was their second chance in my book — James has been telling me for three years that I wasn't being fair, it was earthquake day, I should give them a second chance — and I did, and they failed. Two gummy paste (one curious thing with orange and lemon, the other a gruel-like combo of tagliatelle and hashed-up lentils), an extremely salty piece of beef in a wine sauce, sort of a takeoff on palomba alla ghiotta but no excuse at all for all that salt; and although it was less than 24 hours ago I can't for the life of me remember the dessert. A rosso di Monte­falco, Antonelli like the Sagrantino the night before at the Pinturicchio, but served several degrees too warm even for me, and it tasted acid: I'll have to ask Mirko — the beef had a sprig of red currants on the side; the chef, in the cooking class Gloria took from him just a couple of hours before, addressed this, saying that it's for the appearance: which is fine, but whatever is in my plate should be edible and good, and go with the rest.

And that was very low-key yesterday.

This morning I set the alarm and woke up around 7; by 9 — yesterday afternoon I finally checked out in advance with Mirko who treated me to a glass of Muffato di Sala 1997 and talked wine (I took a few notes actually) — I was at the station with a ticket to Perugia, having decided to go to S. Giustino; this odd choice was pretty logical, really: it was a rare opportunity for me to be on the right line, so I went to the farthest place in Umbria on it. That in turn (and a quick consult of my hotel directory) dictated the day: I walked from S. Giustino to Citerna, a very light walk but a very hot day and as it turned out I'm glad I didn't slate a longer walk; I developed a calf cramp just out of Pistrino this evening and climbed the 5 km here to Citerna in some pain, and have doubts about tomorrow, since in theory I have to do 21 km and land in Città di Castello in time for me to get somehow to Costacciaro by say 7 P.M.: a very tall order especially if I can't walk —

So at something-or‑other I was standing around at Ponte S. Giovanni, then the FCU train north, the first time I'd ever taken it north of Perugia despite the maybe hundreds of times I've done the FCU south of Perugia; I've read recently that they're trying to figure out how to make the FCU profitable: well I found out first-hand one idea — we all got off at Umbertide and got on a bus; the bus planted me in front of the Castello Bufalini in S. Giustino at about 11:10, or roughly the train schedule.

S. Giustino is nothing much. Everything revolves around the Castello and the Castello is closed except a bit on weekends. It must be a handsome building and it gets good press in the guides; I've been told this evening by someone at another table that the hydraulic system of the Renaissance gardens is of interest, that it's being restored to work the way it did back then, and that the people who're doing this are on hand to explain it all. Next time, maybe; or come to think of it, maybe tomorrow if I can't walk much: the least walking would be to go right back to S. Giustino, as little as I like doing the same road twice.

[image ALT: A plaster or painted stone model of a small square 2‑story medieval castle in a carved hand. It is a depiction of the Castello Bufalini in S. Giustino, Umbria (central Italy), in the hand of the saint protector of the town.]
Since I couldn't take a good photo of the actual Castello Bufalini,
here's the next best thing:
a faithful model of it in the hand of St. Justin, protector of the town.

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Page updated: 7 Dec 20