Friday, October 27, 2017

The Most Medieval-looking town in Umbria - Gubbio

How can you not go to a village with such a rapturous recommendation!  And it really lived up to its name. 
Adventures in village driving:
We ended up following a large truck through the tiny one way roads snaking through the village.  At every block the Tom-Tom is telling us that we are entering a new street.  After going through a couple of medieval looking gates without problem, the truck got stuck going around a corner where a car was parked at a crazy angle.  After several attempts going forward and then back and repeating - and with Mike trying to guide him by telling he had more room before he would hit our car, he finally made it. At the next corner he turned right and we continued to the left with no one to guide us.  We had a serious discussion on whether a road was a one way coming toward us or a two way with only a single lane as all the cars seemed to be parked facing us, but there was no sign indicating it was a one way.  We finally decided  to try it - half way through several cars started coming toward us.  Mike pulled to the side of the street to let them by - no one beeped at us.  That is the sure sign that you are going down a one-way the wrong way.  So we continued on.  We made it to an area for angled parking.  We walk up and down trying to find a parking ticket machine.  (Instead of meters by each parking spot a lot of countries opt for a single machine.  You pay for how ever much time you think you will need and the machine spits out a ticket which you place on your car's dashboard.)  There isn't one.  I look on the dashes of all the cars parked near us.  They all have a local Gubbio parking pass.  We check all the signs to see if they say this is a local parking area only.  We can't find any signs that indicate that.  Do we want to keep driving and search for another parking area driving through more narrow streets - not really.  So we decide to take a chance and leave the car here.

There are some mountain villages who get a lot of tourists who have put in escalators or elevators to aid people getting to the top.  Luckily Gubbio is one of them. We opt to take the two elevators to the top and then work our way down to the lower part of the village.  At the top is a very Gothic, church-like building that was actually the home to the town government.  Unfortunately it was closed for "works". 
 These two must be somebody famous.  Look at that attitude!

 A view from the highest spot we went to.
We then meandered down the tiny streets - constantly stepping off to the side to let cars go by.  We have found this a frustrating experience.  Sidewalks, (if there are any) meld into the street.  People walk in the center of the street and just move over if a car comes along.  This is a hard concept for a 3 or 6 year old to understand.  So you constantly had to watch out for them. 

We had missed our morning snack of sweets and coffee and the girls got hungry early.  Next step is to search for a restaurant.  We found a lovely one that served pizza for the girls, truffle dishes for Mike, and pasta for Alexis and me.  I opted for a set menu because I could kind of make out what the food was.  As in the US, dishes here a named for almost anything and don't always have the key ingredients named - those I could look up on Google translate.  The set menu was only E15, most of the dishes individually cost that much.  My first course was a wonderful two inch long noodle dish with a white sauce of sausage and mushrooms.  So good - I got a lot of help from Natasha with that one.  My mine course was pollo - chicken - wonderfully done, 3 pieces perched on 3 small piles of mashed potatoes.  The meat was wonderful, but I was already full - so took most home and left the potatoes which I didn't care for.  The dessert was the house specialty.  A small portion of custard with a crispy topping placed in a tiny mason type jar with a lid on it.  The girls again where enthusiastic helpers to devour it.  At some point I am sure Mike will blog about the rest of the meals - so go there to read about them.
The girls had been promised ice cream and we found a gelateria just down the street.  It looks like it was delicious - I was too full to try it.

We continued to meander down down into the lower village.  These are views looking back up.  We were now in search of a playground.

 And we found "the Roman Ruins" playground.

The day has been quite cool and now we are feeling raindrops.  Time to climb back up the hill to find our car.  But it is cold and many need a bathroom break so we stop for hot tea and juice at a cafe on the way up the hill.  We have already laid some vague plans on how to handle it if the car has been towed - if indeed we have parked in a local parking area only.  We have had a car towed in once in Spain for being in the wrong spot.  So we approach the parking area warily.  Yes - the car is still there!  And there is no parking ticket on the windshield.  Another successful day touristing!

1 comment:

  1. I'm glad your pictures turned out! Seems I had the camera on the wrong setting. Didn't think to have any of you photographers check it for me!