Amazing DinnerWe got on the bus and left for Assissi, stopping at Orvietto on the way. Orvietto is a town where a pope escaped for some time. It is high up on a cliff, and apparently the rock is very soft until exposed to air, so people could dig down into it to make parts of their houses. We had to ride a cog car up through the cliff to arrive in the town. There were cars when we got to the top, so there must be a road somewheres. We were just there for a few hours, and first we checked out the large well the pope had dug. It is a large-scale well, such that there are double-helix stairs going around and around to the bottom. I got several pictures. Then we went up through the exceedingly quaint town to a very impressive church. I liked this one. There weren’t so many statues. I think I don’t like statues. They are so distracting, along with the other art and the stained glass windows and the structures of churches that I can hardly comprehend the church. Then we broke up for lunch. On the way up throug the town, Justin and I had seen a place we wanted to go for lunch—cheap pizza—but couldn’t find it again, and walked up and down the street and all around. We finally got two slices of cold pizza and shared a Coke. Then we went back down and met the group and got back in the bus and headed to Assissi. I dig Assissi. It is high on a hill, and the whole thing is kind of like a little medieval/castle town inside a wall. Of course, it’s not totally like that, because it really is a town, just kind of somewhat walled in, and also, the wall isn’t that noticeable because the whole thing is on a pretty steep hill. We checked into our cute little hotel, and saw a church and then later were supposed to go with the group to a fortress, one of two on opposite hills. Unfortunately, Justin and I and Dr. Taylor went the wrong way and went to the wrong fortress, which was under construction. So we just didn’t worry about it and observed the incredible beauty from the hill—parts of it looked like the Blue Ridge, with trees and little grasses growing under them, but the hill opposite looked like something from the Holy Land because it was so dry and scrubby. Then we came down in the bitter cold and tooled around Assissi a little more before heading back to the hotel for dinner. Okay. This deserves a new paragraph.
The dinner at this hotel was like nothing I’ve ever had before. All of our dinners so far have had a primo piatto, or first course, which is usually pasta or soup. Then we have secondo piatto, which is meat and vegetables. Then we have a dessert. We always have the option of getting wine with dinner, and there is always bread on the table when we get there. So. Here, we had bread, then for primo piatto, we could have a green creamy soup or ravioli, or both. I had a little soup and then also ravioli. The ravioli was smashing. I’ve never had better. The meat was some kind of combination—maybe sausage with really fine ground beef or lamb or something. I don’t know. That was excellent. Then the waiters came around and gave us an odd thing, which was cauliflower with onions and a little slice of toast. We liked it, but we were kind of worried that was all they planned to bring. Then they came by and gave us slices of turkey and immediately after, funny little breaded meatball things and excellent zucchini. THEN, they brought us slices of veal. Now, what I didn’t know as I was eating the veal, is that it had a truffle gravy on it—little bitty pieces of truffles in other stuff. Truffles are incomprehensibly expensive. Dr. Schuetz told us that he had seen a pound of truffles priced at $200, and they could be as high as $1000. We were shocked, and also full. Also, this whole time, some people were getting seconds (or other people’s leftovers), with the result that Justin had had almost two of everything, and about four pieces of veal because the guys at our table didn’t like it. (We were hungry :) Then they cleared our plates again, and we waited for dessert. In a few minutes, they flipped the lights out, and our waiter came carrying a tray of flaming desserts! Each plate had a cakelike breadish thing with a creamy inside, apples on top of that, and some smashing lemonish ice cream. On top of that was a sugar cube soaked in alcohol and burning. *sigh* It was dreamy. :) So good. After dinner, Justin and I were incapacitated and sat for a while on a couch in the lobby, then I went to bed.