zaterdag 25 januari 2014

Umbria´s amazing country secrets

After all the blogging I did it will be obvious that I am not a citygirl. Although going shopping now and then (more now than then) can be very comforting and I will never turn down an offer for lunch in a good restaurant, I am not really into crowds of people and a lot of traffic.

The Umbrian cities are the best. Their town centres are mostly car-free which means that one can quietly enjoy the medieval buildings, picturesque alleys and cultural resources, of which I have hardly seen so many anywhere else. 

Yet, at the end of such a rewarding day, it makes me feel happy to see the rolling hills of Umbria and to get possessed by the sounds of silence.

Relative silence, of course. Writing this, I hear the birds sing obsessively. They have taken their nest right below my bedroom window and every year I remember that I should have removed it..but you know, I actually love it. Then there are my neigbor´s hunting-and-truffle dogs who start barking everytime a flie comes by. It has become a sport to complain about them, but to be honest: I hardly notice them anymore.

Comes autumn there´s the sound of hunters in the woods. Once in a while it sounds like a shot is fired at only a few meters from where I am. I sometimes suspect that to be the truth. But at the risk of offending the vegetarians among us, I love wild boar or hare plates.

Speaking of hare, several times there was one on our road in March so I thought a picture would be nice. Of course he didn´t show up anymore and the one time he did, I was too late so I shot a great picture of the olivefield with its beautiful trees, green grass and The Invisible Hare.

It´s amazing how every corner on the road may provide you a new surprise. Sheep wandering up the hills, their guarding dogs looking cute but always paying attention.

A few goats that refuse to step aside to let you pass but start running the moment you want to take their picture.

And how about picking flowers and suddenly face Someone leaving the water? I tried to look up who I met – only to make sure that I had not been talking to a common rat – but I could not figure out.

Not to mention the people you meet. Somewhere near Casale I met a farmer cutting grass the medieval way. He told me that people wouldn´t be interested in his face, but that I was allowed to picture his tool and showed me how to handle it. I need practise, for I only cut a large piece of mud.
If I ever get the cance to stay here I really need a better hand for things.

Of course, it´s not real wildlife. I mean, it´s not like you have to survive in the jungle and of course there´s a central heating in the house,but it is so satisfying to sit by the fire, fueled by wood you have cut yourself. Or to eat a frittata, stuffed with the ten asparagi you managed to discover.

To be short: I love countrylife and roaming around the Umbrian scenery is one of my favourite things. Even if it means every part of the car comes loose because of the roads. Even if it means wearing ugly trekking boots and the same torn jeans every day. Even if it means scratched legs and arms trying to pick that last asparagus. Even if it means feeling dizzy when you look down from the olivetree you climbed for there was another olive hanging high.

It means having wonderful views that never seem to end. It means the smell of flowers in the sunshine. It means fireflies in the complete darkness of the Umbrian night. It means Umbria.

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