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Mon. 10 October

Sitting on the 4:10 train to the rink, although it's Monday: James still doesn't feel too well and we had thought to go visit Perugia today, but tomorrow will be better — he seems to be getting better — so I traded skating days; he's in Terni visiting the town.

Yesterday, breakfast and a bout of laundry, and I wanted to go to Izzalini. James though coughing a bit but mostly sore throat and spitting a lot insisted he felt otherwise fine and started to walk with me, but difficult [. . .] — and I was getting very edgy the way I often do but saying nothing: finally, a coupla hundred yards down from the Porta Romana wisdom (his) won out and he turned back; I kept on going — a beauti­ful sunny but cool day perfect for walking —

. . . .

At the rink after my skate; fell on the Thayer elbow, but also (something new!) on my right shoulder, slight bumpy bruise — terrifically better mood after skating, combination of endorphins and I love ice and finally this time I could see some improvement all around for the first time since I started with Giampiero: everything was better; crossovers, back and even forwards, edges, spirals, stroking, and surprisingly even my three-turns, which we basically didn't do, but due to securer edge rolls. I did some comfortable cutbacks almost automatically, too.

As I look down on the rink with some 45 or so pre-Alpha to Gamma skaters, I can see at least that thanks to both [. . .] and Giampiero (both perfectionists) my posture is excellent — even if the moves are still not mastered; but a good base is there and the right attitude.

Train out of S. Maria, on time as usual. Back to a bit better account of my walk yesterday, which disappointingly seems to have been only 24 km.

Out the Romana yes, but down the road no: I've got to remember that to go to Pontecuti — and Izzalini is on a road branching off the road to Pontecuti — I've got to leave via the Consolazione, i.e., turn a sharp right along the walls immediately after exiting the Romana! I did the wrong thing again; except this time I had 2 military maps at 125,000 picked up in a bookstore at 61A via del Tritoneº, so I adjusted, rather than backtracking I went down to Ponte Naia and ultimately to Torregentile, a pleasant southwards rising walk with a nice view sometimes of Todi behind me. I ate lunch (a cheese bread and some sliced capocollo bought at the tavola calda across from the dolphin in Todi) at a nice turn in the road, sitting on a retaining wall facing Todi as well as a line of about 6 cars along the road I'd just come: hunters and one dog.

[image ALT: A clump of five or six more or less detached old 2‑story houses of irregular stone masonry with a single-lane paved street, or country road rather, curving thru them into the background, where several very tall cypresses can be seen. It is a view of Torregentile, a frazione of Todi, Umbria (central Italy).]

Torregentile, a few miles S of Todi.

Torregentile is a nice old town with a sweet little church with one of those open belfries: over the door an early 20th century mosaic of "S. Illuminata" — I wandered around in it (meaning about 4 minutes, it's basically along two roads) then headed up and west across a ridge to Izzalini. I eventually got to my road north, running along the top of the ridge, because it was unavoidable; but in the details of the path I was following the map was old or I misread it, and I was a bit lost. James wouldn't have enjoyed that part at all: walking thru plowed fields and finally getting to the road thru someone's property, open on the side I was coming from but very much fenced in on the side of the road; I finally had to climb not in, but out of, the property over

[image ALT: A very shaded arbor, and under it a padlocked iron gate of about thirty lance-tipped uprights. Beyond, a narrow road and a patch of sky can be seen. It is a view of a private property near Torregentile, a frazione of Todi, Umbria (central Italy).]

an iron gate with spikes sharp enough to do damage if I hadn't managed them.

An unevent­ful walk by 61° weather along the slowly descending ridge around 550 m altitude to the crossroads back to Izzalini which was the mandatory stop because of a guide to the Todi area that said it was medieval and showed an appealing picture. Izzalini, however, is a scam: it is a tower (medieval) full of antique shops, and a bar. The tower over the front door gets the Italian, European Union, and British flags; elsewhere the German, Swiss and Dutch and that's it.

The bar, according to their printed receipt, is called the "Peter Pan" but at least has the grace not to show it otherwise. A barkeeperess sitting outdoors at a table, six local men of varying ages, not one of them drinking anything. I went in and got 2 Oranginas, drank them outdoors while I looked at my map, and went away.

[image ALT: A wide open landscape: in the foreground, flowering broom; in the middleground, a large farm of several old stone buildings and in particular a three- or four-story tower; in the background, a largish town on a hill; and in the very far distance, a range of allow hills. It is a view of an area of Umbria (central Italy) from the area of Fiore, S of Todi, northwards onto Todi and beyond.]

The Torricella farm near Fiore, S of Todi.

The road back to Todi, which I followed slavishly without letting myself get tempted by map shortcuts, was a long zoom onto Todi, dotted with medieval towers, at least six of them, in the foreground. Slow down to Ponte Martino, slightly less slow but still pleasant up the road to Pontecuti — and back at the apartment at 4:30 where I found James having showered or bathed, read and taken a nap.

We went out to the Scalette restaurant, early by Italian standards (a few minutes past seven) and had a good if leisurely dinner, with the unusual feature that although we'd got there pretty much first, when the place crowded up with later diners (it was full, with people waiting, when we left) the desserts were all taken. . . I had a stracciatella (slightlyº salty egg nog basically) then cappelletti? in truffle sauce, and a bit of James's braciole all' etrusca (lamb with capers, olives, and green peppercorns, very good) and my 3d choice dessert, a torta ai frutti dei boschi. James seemed to be getting better — which was confirmed today. I made a fuss asking for aspirin — they came up with something — nice waitress — but you shouldn't have any booze with it, and James preferred the wine: we had a Rubesco Torgiano by Lungarotti which was pleasant if no stars; it did go well with the lamb. And so to bed.

Terni, 9:50 P.M., at the little restaurant a block from the train station — having first called James to check that he wasn't here (he isn't, he'll leave the doors ajar for me: in fact, I'll bet 2.5:1 he doesn't).​1 Ordered an antipasto misto and a pizza, washed down with a half bottle of Galestro, a table wine from "i colli della Toscana centrale" — no DOC, but pretty good.

Note in the Diary:

1 I would have lost.

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