Charlie: in Urbino, the hotel had wifi but they said it only worked in the lobby and on the first floor. Being aesthetes and not in any way web junkies we opted for the third floor for the view, which was spectacular. It fired up the pc and it found the network at 58% (no password) and it worked flawlessly the whole time. We uploaded photos and never had a problem.
In Lucca they said they had wifi and we took a room on the second floor. the wifi reception was terrible, basically unusable, and the view was just of the building across the street. Some sort of wifi karma I guess.
In a related story, the shower in Lucca had incredibly low water pressure. It was one of those spray things that you can take off. When we did that and turned it so the “spray” was pointing up, it did not go up at all and just dribbled off the spray head. In other words, less than gravity pressure.
Assuming these two issues were related we asked for a room on the first floor and got switched today. The wifi here is great and the water pressure looks much better. And this room has cool floor-to-ceiling french windows in the bathroom.
Being shy people we were a little reluctant to ask. One issue was of the reason to give, is low shower pressure enough or do we admit we can’t live without wifi? We chose wifi and they seemed happy with that.
Wynette: I told Charlie with dead certainty when we first got here that husband in Italian is figlio and wife is figlia (pronounced fill-yo and fill-ya). So, we’ve been calling each other figlio/figlia and referring to each other to others that way. Frequently. (E.g., “Mi figlio has the hotel key upstairs.”) Well, tonight, more than 2/3 into our trip, for some reason, I decided to double check this in a dictionary. Well, turns out, figlio means son and figlia means daughter. So, we’ve been referring to each other this whole trip as “son” and “daughter”! The correct words are marito (husband) and moglie (wife, pronounced mol-yay). Later, after we knew of our mistake, we were walking to the laundry and on the way saw a business named something like Buca e Figlii, which, of course, means Buca and Sons. That would have been a dead give away since, before, I would have thought that meant Buca and Spouses.
Wynette: We decided not to stay in Siena after all. We did need to return our rental car in Siena so, the night before, we stayed in a little hill town, Castellina in Chianti, 20 kilometers north, at a bed and breakfast named Villa Cristina that we read about in Osterie & Locande D’Italia book (“a guide to traditional places to eat and stay in Italy”). We had a large, pretty, comfortable room with a great bed. The front garden/patio was filled with blooming tulips and forsythia and other flowers. They have 5 guest rooms. I think we were the only guests. That didn’t stop them from providing an amazing breakfast, the best we’ve had so far. Perfect soft-boiled eggs, the first on this trip, and a delicious hard cheese and some good pears and warm croissant-type pastries filled with a soft cheese. Plus the usual good muesli and fruit juices and yoghurt and bread and jams and Nutella and ham and sausage and soft cheeses and capucini. The B&B is owned/run by a remarkably friendly and kind couple. We were lucky to find this place to stay.
Breakfast at Villa Cristina:
Carrying the bags through the garden:
Wynette: We took the train today from Siena to Lucca (actually 3 trains). On the second leg of the trip, the train was crowded and we squeezed into 2 free seats in a set of 6 where 4 young people were already sitting — they were probably early college age, 3 young women and a young man, probably traveling together. They all were listening to ipods and didn’t seem to be in a good mood, a little sullen-seeming, not friendly. Maybe it was because they were so into their music. (I can relate to that.) They spoke among themselves (minimally) and Charlie and I talked a bit, but our two groups did not interact. After about 20 minutes, one of the girls pulled out a tube of hand cream. She put some on her hands and then offered some to the boy sitting beside her (across from me). He took some. Then she passed it on to the girl sitting on the other side of the boy (across from Charlie). She also took some cream into her palm. Then she offered it to the girl across from her (and beside me) who took some. Then she looked at me and smiled. I held out my hand and she put some in my palm. We all laughed. Of course, then she offered it to Charlie. He declined. But by then the ice was broken. The cream smelled good — like coconut. Charlie and I got off the train (in Pisa to change trains for Lucca) shortly after that.
Wynette: Charlie wrote a while back about electric candles in churches. First we saw electric candles you put into a socket. Then we saw electric candles with little switches. Now, I want to report we saw electric candles that require nothing but a donation of a coin (any coin I think) and a random candle will flash a bit (so you can tell which is yours) and then lights up. That was back in Urbino. Now we are in Lucca; visited two churches today. They both had real candles, some were votive candles arranged on holders in nice spiral patterns.
Truffles for sale in a store in Spoleto
5th century church near Spoleto, from the front
from the back
notice the playboy
Fixer-upper, on a sign outside a real-estate office
Charlie between the lions
slow food, fast food
proschuito for sale in Norcia
Castelluccia, a tiny town in the Piano Grande
view from our hotel room in Cupra Marittima
clean clothes! at the laudromat in Senigallia run by Bangladeshis
market in Senigallia
Dance lessons anyone?
Rotunda a Mare in Senegallia
Wynette went to the 1 euro store
Duke Federica da Montefelco (more)
Wynette before Easter lunch
Wynette: It was mostly sunny when we drove into Urbino yesterday afternoon. It’s a beautiful place. Very green. Hills, low mountains. Got cold and cloudy and some rain shortly after we got here. We woke up to rain this morning. Still we had a great time touring the Ducal Palace (a Michelin 3 star attraction) and museum and then had a wonderful Easter lunch at “Taverne del Artistes”, a low key ristorante with simple but fantastic food. I had risotto with mushrooms (primo course) and lamb (secundo course). We had a special Easter appetizer. Deviled egg. And baked pear with good cheese melted on top. Then came back to hotel to dry out and rest. We are on the 4th floor (they call it 3rd here) and have a beautiful view over the town and into the green hillside. And, it turns out to be a good place to watch it snow! The rain turned to snow about an hour ago … 4:30 pm or so. It made us laugh. We were so surprised. Charlie decided he had to go outside and check it out. I’m staying here in the room, warm and dry. Well, as soon as I wrote that, Charlie returned. He said people on the street are giddy, too. He said people were laughing and though he couldn’t understand what they were saying he was pretty sure they were saying “can you believe this weather?!” And he brought me a canoli!
Charlie: When I went out I was going down the very steep, narrow street that leads up to our hotel. A car stopped in front of me and an older woman got out and there was some discussion between her and the people in the car. Then she turned and saw me coming down and said “a senore!”. She grabbed my arm and asked (I assume, it was Italian) whether I would assist her down the hill. I said yes and we went down to the bottom and down the still-steep street. She asked me where I was going and we communicated that I would take her to her house which was a five-minute walk. She tried to chat but all we got clear was that I was from America (I said Los Angeles, it is easier, people know it, and it is close to being true), that I was here at the Hotel Raffaello, that I was with my figlia, and the weather was crazy.
View from our hotel window before and after snow.