Happy Bday to ME!

Trip Start Jun 01, 2010
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Trip End Mar 11, 2011


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Flag of Italy  , Umbria,
Friday, September 3, 2010

We packed our suitcases, loaded up our little blue Lancia and headed out into the countryside. We were heading out to Perugia. The route that we planned will lead us straight through the Chianti hills and vineyards. It will bring us past Radda and the Lago Tarisemeno, the largest lake of the Italian Peninsula. The road is windy and the views of the vineyards are amazing.

We arrived, stopped for a short bit and of course had an espresso in Radda. The town is on Ben's list and marked as the prettiest town in Chianti. It is indeed a very pretty but very small hilltop town. As we continue towards Lago Tarisemeno the route takes us to the highway (autostrada). But only for a short bit as we soon see the lake and turn off to the country roads. In Castiglione del Lago we stop for a lunch at a small restaurant by the shore. The place is recommended in the travel guide book but actually it does not look like much. It looks like a touristic eatery with plastic signs and a menu in six different languages.

But the food was indeed very nice. Unfortunately they did not serve Chianina beef anymore as the word Chianina was discretely crossed out of the menu with a black marker. So we ordered a fishcake to share, and some grilled fish from the lake. The food was good and unpretentious. A house cat circled around our legs begging for little bites so we could not resist. But when some Germans with their German sheppard dog were seated at the table next to us, the house cat sought safe distance.

After our lunch we walked a bit around the lake. The water is greenish and has a fishy smell, so not really a place where one would swim. We did see quite some people sunbathing along the waterside though.

As we continued our journey we quickly reached the town of Perugia. We dropped off our little car at the train station. While we were at the station already, we also booked our ticket to Rome on the Eurostar train for Sunday. After taking care of business we took a taxi to Brufani Palace Hotel, our hotel for the coming days on the top of the hill in the historic center of Perugia. It was a lovely hotel, and as much as we enjoyed the countryside, it felt great to be back in a city again.

We relaxed in the room for a bit as I had to do some work. In the evening we headed out into the buzzling center of Perugia. We were surprised by the size of the metropolis as we walked from one end of the historic center to the other in less than 2 minutes. The town is big enough, but the hilltop that is called the city center is no bigger than any other hilltop town. Of course not, as it can only be as big as the top of the hill. But this size made it easier for Linda to find the restaurant 'La Taverna'. This restaurant is the highest rated restaurant on tripadvisor for Perugia and the reviews are raving. She secretly made reservations here for my birthday.

When we arrived at the restaurant we were welcomed with a glass of Prosecco, and the Maitre D was very friendly and welcoming, A bit later Claudio, the cheerful owner and head chef arrived. We immediately felt like we were part of the family. Claudio shared his stories about his work abroad with us, and asked us about our plans and travels. Later he came to the table to show off some hand made butter and his newly acquired stash of white truffles, bragging that he made himself a perfect steak with cognac and white truffles yesterday evening.

This sounded like the most perfect dish in the world, so we asked him if he would want to make that for us tomorrow. He gladly accepted so we booked a table for the next day as well. Oh yes we did eat something this evening as well, and it was perfect. Thanks to my Lopoppie I had a wonderful birthday.
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