Sunday, April 3, 2011

Italy Day 8 {Reaching Assisi}

Loading up the rental car before we depart Rome for Assisi

Driving in Rome can be terrifying, exhilarating, frustrating and nearly impossible all at once. We had been warned (and have seen first hand) about the road hazards and had hoped to avoid driving if possible but for convenience and budget reasons, we took to the open roads in a little rental car. Our mission: get to Assisi. The challenge: getting out of Rome. Tim really proved his urban skills on this mission. With his faithful navigator (me) and his worthy passengers (the boys) he successfully reached the GRA (freeway) and even found a gas station with diesel (just adding to the excitement, the car was rented to us with 1/4 tank).

Entering the Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi; our first stop in Assisi

A wrong turn isn't really a wrong turn if you can still head in the general direction you need to go. Glad to be off the A1 (super mega toll highway) but detoured by the windy country roads, we made our way to Assisi in a round-a-bout manner. Finding the tremendous city on a hill in the Umbrian country side was both a relief and a very exciting time. We parked the car and immediately climbed the steep hills to visit the Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi, built in the 1200's. Tremendous beauty; such an amazing worship space. Throngs of school children arrived at about the same time, so we were a bit crowded in some spaces.

View from our bedroom window at St. Anthony's Guest House, Assisi, Italy

St. Rufino, Assisi

Driving the narrow convoluted streets of Assisi made Rome driving seem simple! Without an address for our B&B, we took to hunt and peck behind the wheel in the hopes of finding it. By God's grace we landed right at the front gate of St. Anthony's Guesthouse, and our hosts welcomed us with great hospitality (though very little English). The window of our room looked directly out at St. Clair's steeple and beyond. Tranquility quickly replaced the stress from our day of driving, and we walked five minutes to St. Rufino's for 6PM Mass.
Wild boar on the menu at dinner, we visited an overpriced but decent restaurant after Mass. The waitress wasn't going to admit she spoke English, until Tim asked, "Do you speak English?" and she admitted that she did. Still having difficulty paying outrageous prices for tap water, we allowed Peter to slip into the bathroom to fill up his cup a few times. Raising rebels, I know. Dehydration can cause disruption in normal parenting techniques...

Checking out posted menus for prices and selections is all part of the dinner time routine.

Waiting for water...

  • Gas station to-go sandwiches here are better than most we make at home.
  • Being jammed into a compact car for several hours on windy roads gives us a new appreciation for our comfortable transportation at home.
  • I've filled an 8G memory stick already with photos and videos; not quite one week into our trip!


Kathleen said...

Boy Bridget! What a beautiflu site!
May you have a continued wonderful trip! And the Holy Father's meeting was inspiring!

Renee said...

Bridget, it just occured to me that I have an unused Rosetta Stone type Italian language tutorial system I could have loaned you. Next time for Sure!.

toadlaketeacher said...

I hope you have more GB for the rest of your trip! I loved the view from your room.