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Off the Beaten Path

Off the Beaten Path

This weekend we went to visit the beautiful Umbria. Despite the fact that we had to get up at 7am every day, the trip was overall a good introduction to the Italian countryside. On the two hour bus ride there, it was captivating to see the scenery change from urban to less urban, and then to flowing fields and mountains. Everyone did a lot of napping on the trip, which was much needed after going to sleep around 12am and rising at 6am.

Our first stop was the quaint town of Narni. We met up with our tour guides, and then split into groups for a walking tour. The town is beautiful, with little shops and houses. It offered gorgeous views of the valley, and we got to visit a underground place where prisoners were held. After that we boarded the buses again and headed out for lunch.

Valley view from Narni.
The view from the restaurant where we had lunch!

We took a boat to the other side of a small lake where lunch was going to be served. It was situated almost on the water, and was beautiful. Across the lake we could see rows of colorful houses that we associate with seaside towns. I’m beginning to realize that in Italy meals are meant as much a socialization thing as they are meant for the actual meal. We were there for about three hours, in which there was a three course meal. Another thing I have to get used to is the fact that Italians love their fizzy water, and sometimes do not even put out a pitcher of “regular” water.

After that we went headed to the hotel where we would be staying for the weekend. The SLAs divided us up into rooms of either three or four. I had two other people with me, who were roommates back at JFRC and had been for the past two years. My roommate was across the hall with two other girls. That evening we had dinner at the hotel, which was very good. There was always wine served with dinner, and at least three courses.

The weekend continued much in the same fashion. We’d wake up early, have breakfast at the hotel, and then head out for the day’s activities. We visited historical sites in various towns in Umbria, and had meals at local restaurants. My favorite place we went to would have to be the vineyard. It seemed like we drove up and up forever, and finally came to a good sized vineyard on the side of a hill. We got a tour of the facilities, and learned all about the process of making wine. The most surprising thing to me was that it takes 3-5 years after harvest for the wine to be ready to sell. It has to sit for a few years (different depending on whether it is a white or red wine), and then sit in its bottle for another year or two. It’s an extensive process, and although there may be a large spacious and hundreds of grape plants, harvest only takes a little over a week. After the tour we got lunch and then got to just wander and enjoy being at the vineyard.

Le Cimate winery.
Friends at lunch at the winery.

The last day we were in Umbria, it rained all day. We therefor didn’t get to go on the archeological tours that were planned, and instead simply visited the sites and then went to lunch before heading back to JFRC.

We’re back now, and just stared our second week of school. It’s not hard to slip back into my school routine, and I know that in a few days I’m going to miss the freedom of being here without a schedule. However, we have three-day-weekends so we can travel all we want! 

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