Before we jump into the next part of The Vacation tale, let me take a moment to do a little self-promoting and to offer my readers an excellent bargain.
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Alright, onto Orvieto.
As you remember, Mr Husband and I had to ditch our noisy apartment in Florence because I desperately needed sleep – I think at this point, we’re talking maybe 12 hours of shut-eye in the past five days. Thankfully, pleading with Danielle, our rental owner in Orvieto, worked and we were able to check in a day early. So, with a hearty “Arrivederci!” we hopped on the train and waved goodbye to Tuscany and headed south to Umbria.
Mr. Husband and I had been to Orvieto during our whirlwind tour of Italy in 2006, but two days just wasn’t enough to enjoy this charming little hilltop town, so we decided to devote four nights to it this time (which ended up being five nights after our Florentine exodus).
I’m obviously easily entertained because one of my favorite parts of Orvieto is simply getting to town. The upper part Orvieto is situated at the top of a tufa plug that juts about 1000 feet up from the valley floor. Two little funicular cars chug up and down the cliff face to get people from the lower town (where the train station is) to the upper town (where all the tourists want to be).
As one of these little cars is coming down, one is going up. But wait. There’s only one track! That other car is coming straight for us! Just as you think the two little cars are going to collide, there’s a small split in the tracks barely wide enough for the two cars to slip past each other. Such fun!
Once in town we had to find Daniele’s (non-English speaking) father who would be checking us in. We knew where we were supposed to meet him, but 15 minutes after the appointed time, he hadn’t shown up. I checked the directions, checked the street name, checked the map. Yes, we were in the right spot. This seems to be a habit of ours in Orvieto. The first time we visited, we couldn’t find our vacation rental and ended up having to ask the (non-English speaking) local butcher where the street was (he ended up walking us to where we needed to go).
Finally, despite my brain barely functioning, I had the brilliant idea that maybe we were supposed to meet Dad at the opposite end of the street. Voila! There he was. I apologized, explained (using the wrong verb form) our mistake, and we followed him through many twisting streets to our new home.
To say I was happy with the place is not enough. It was set in a tiny courtyard off a back street that had maybe two cars a day driving on it. And it even had a cute little terrace. The only other residents of our little villa were a couple old ladies who did not look like they were going to be having any midnight parties any time soon.
Dad showed us everything (EVERYTHING! Yes, sir, we know what a fridge is), took our money, and we settled in. After getting groceries and getting our bearings we found out how ideal the location of the apartment was – a five-minute maze-like walk brought us to the Piazza Duomo, and a two-minute secret back street walk had us in the Piazza della Repubblica (where a Chocolate Festival was taking place all weekend!).
But of course, not everything can be perfect. When I tried to get online with the WiFi code Dad had left us, I couldn’t access anything. We scoured the apartment for any other code. No luck. I started to wonder if I hadn’t understood Dad when he was explaining the WiFi, but then I thought if my battered brain could still remember enough Italian to ask where the washing machine was located, surely I could understand “Italian” words like “password,” “modem,” and “Internet.”
Thankfully, I found (stole) some free Wifi in the Piazza della Repubblica, contacted Daniele, and explained in Ital-glish what was going on. Remember last week when I said how nice he was? Well, the next morning he dropped off his own laptop for us to use with a USB modem. Then, the day after that he and some tech guys showed up and installed an entirely new WiFi system. I mean talk about service (he was also very handsome and probably the tallest, and most Scandinavian-looking, Italian I’ve ever seen).
Well, this post has already gotten very long, so I’ll share the sites of Orvieto over the next few Saturdays. For now, here’s a few photos from around town! And if you ever want to stay in Orvieto, here’s the link to Danielle’s apartment.
Oh, and did I finally get some sleep? Yes! A nearly solid eight hours. Pure bliss!!!!
Have you ever been to Orvieto or any other Umbrian towns? Comments and questions are more than welcome here!!