J: We Find Ourselves in Umbria

On Sunday we journeyed to Spoleto, in Umbria, a hill-town 90 min by train north/north-east of Rome.  We’re back in the same lovely farmhouse where we stayed 2 years ago because this was Emma’s birthday wish.  Sunday everything was closed so we couldn’t shop — and it was Max’s birthday!  Fortunately our generous landlady, Magdalena, brought us fresh pasta, tomatoes,  even made pasta sauce for us, and brought a delicious cream-puff meringue dessert.  A perfect birthday dinner!

Max's b-day in Spoleto - he just opened Emma's gift, a new porcupine (named Spino, short for the Italian word for porcupine: porcospino). Max just finished a big plate of fresh pasta with butter and parmesean - yummm!

The last couple of days we’ve been lounging around, walking in the rolling verdant hills, and driving our tiny Fiat through the narrow stone mazes of local towns.  It’s been raining off and on, creating lovely skies and punctuating early mornings with the sound of rain on the roof.

The only stone in the shoe, so to speak, is that our brilliant internet solution — a portable wifi modem stick acquired for this purpose in Rome — is pathetically slow here.  Down in town we’re able to get an ok signal and Patty managed to download the sequel to the book I just finished (love my Kindle Corin!!), but I had a terrible time trying to Skype for a radio-show interview about my new book.  GRAH.  Then I missed a virtual course I’m teaching, and the lack of high-speed is making me a bit cranky.  After many, many tries, P, E & I finally found an internet “cafe” in Spoleto (Spider, near Piazza Garibaldi) where I will go for my Friday class… and PEM will go to blog.  (Typical travel moment – huge ‘Blu Office’ shop here w sign saying they have internet services… finally find a time when they’re open, and in mix of sign language & Italian, find out that no, they do not in fact have the services posted in 2′ high letters on the side of the building… that would be too easy!)  Hence the quiet on Red Suitcase, and the lack of photos in today’s update.

Tomorrow I’m training back to Rome attempting to pick up visa for Ghana (for an overnight stop on way to Liberia), PEM are going to shop for yummies for Emma’s b-day which is day after tomorrow.  Naturally we have a very detailed itinerary for that day, including returning to the hill town of Orvieto for reprise of 2-year-ago b-day lunch.


PS.  Patty just read above and said, “but it is nice here, right?” “Yes, absolutely – why?”  “‘Cause it sounds like you’re going through some withdrawal issues…”  OK, fair enough – I DID write 3x as much about the damn internet connection as the wonderful meandering drives in the hills…  So next time Max or I will tell you about the Great Pasta Expedition, and my “trails treasure hunt,” and Patty’s “knocker collection” (G rated), and the lovely time sitting reading around the fire, and walking taking photos…



4 thoughts on “J: We Find Ourselves in Umbria

  1. I LOVE this post, precisely because it is soo much like you, Josh! And Patty’s reminder is classic. You’re having a great time, but logistics and work still invade. Thanks for sharing your travel experiences. Looking forward to hearing about Patty’s knocker collection, even if it is G-rated.

  2. Thanks for making me laugh this morning. It is gorgeous here with the sun out, not hot and the birds are doing their lovely thing.

    Your frustration is understandable, but, I am glad you are taking some time to “smell the roses” along the way.

    I am so glad Max had a special day for his birthday. I hope he enjoyed the virtual telephonic wish.

    Now we look forward to Young Miss’s 11th. Wow!! Hope Emma has all her special wishes come true.

    Patty, if you can answer my plea sent the other day, I would really appreciate it. I am in a real bind.

    Lots of love to the Freedman 4.

  3. HAPPY BIRTHDAY MAX!!!!!! When you return- b-day day of your choice- maybe a camp out on the deck of our new place?
    HAPPY BIRTHDAY EMMA!!! Hope it was great and your found the food yummy!! What treats did you find?
    Josh- throw out the computer for just one day and remember how it was when there was no computer/ wifi/ ect…and you had to write a letter which took a week to get to the US…hee hee
    Patty- good job on reminding Josh about the simple things!
    We miss you all!!
    Lisa, BIll and Addy

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