Saturday there was a group of about 10 who traveled to Cortona, which, in total, is probably an hour away on the train. It’s a beautiful, hilltop city. If I understood correctly, this is where “Under the Tuscan Sun” took place. I have yet to see that movie – yes, I know it comes as a shock 🙂 The views are absolutely stunning – for miles you can see amazing panoramic scenes. The day was sunny and beautiful too. I will say that the hills are quite steep and I forgot what it’s like to climb up such an incline! All in all, at the top, it was a gratifying feeling and even more beautiful than the other. This picture is on my way down (not one of the steepest areas) but you get the ideaThe group was guided by one of the school’s teachers, Francesca. As always, the ‘tour’ was all in Italian provided us the history of Santa Margherita who lived there, etc. It was so helpful to have a local providing us guidance getting off the train to find a bus to take you to the top. I know it can be done otherwise on your own, but it complicates things so much more.
It was a long, hot day and I was glad to return home afterward. Taking a shower felt great! I did some more grocery shopping also. It made me jealous I didn’t get to a market because while I was in Cortona I found all kinds of fresh fruit and vegetables that the Coop didn’t have – specifically watermelon. I took a photo of one of the markets just for fun. You could also get a freshly cut meat sandwich in Cortona too.I got what I needed for now and will return again in a couple days for more. It’s limiting in a way to have to walk to the grocery store (which is about a 5 min. walk – not bad) but on the flip side, I know I’m not buying things that I won’t eat either. I hate wasting food and this will help worrying about that. Unfortunately, I need to buy water frequently so a lot of the load I carry is water bottles.
After a lull for a while, I got out to see what the people of SGV do at night. I went to the piazza and few people were there. Then I discovered the local park which is where the main gatherings take place. There is an area for kids to kick around a soccer ball and just run, there was another area where it appeared to be an open mic night and others could sit and listen, and the biggest area was a shelter with picnic tables. People gathered at these tables and were eating pizza from the pizzeria that is also part of the park (I assume run by volunteers) and this area was alive! I didn’t realize most towns in Italy had this. When I was 16 and stayed with a host family in Italy, their town had it too where there was a kitchen for people to purchase food, and tables were set up for gatherings. It was really nice to see people coming together to be social. I was surprised that considering it was so late at night there were as many kids out as I saw, and they were good! After a long walk around, I returned home and slept like a rock.