Well we have been going strong for nine days and on Day 11 we depart Umbria and drive several hundred miles to the northwest of Italy and Lake Como. So we make Day 9 a day to chill and just relax at the Country Houses and virtually everyone took advantage of it – including me.
I think Isabel and I slept in until 10 am had some coffee, relaxed, worked on the blogs, got some computer time in, got some laundry done, and then it was time for a two hour nap.
Others also slept in, hung out by the pool or went for little jaunts around the countryside as every couple ahs their own car. Some went to Cortona, some went to Lake Trasimeno, some to Preggio and some to Umbertide for a festival. That is the beauty of this trip – you have your own car and so although there is an itinerary you have freedom.
As the day wound down and we all realized we still had a lot of leftovers from the week it was Pot Luck Happy Hour in Umbria. Glen and Steve made their way into Umbertide and found a butcher and snagged an amazing 2” thick steak which they grilled on the grill we all mastered during our cooking class just two nights before. The rest of us all pitched in with different dishes and wow what a spread we created out of nothing!
You realize at that point the one, main, unique aspect of this trip and that is the bond that is created between my travelers on every trip. It is an amazing thing to see a group of virtually complete strangers at the start of the trip become such good friends so quickly that you would swear they had been friends for 40 years. I LOVE that part of this trip. I know now why it happens and why Italy and its culture is so special. It has to do with the preparation and enjoyment of food, wine and company over several hours. Not a rushed dinner with the TV on and no one really engaged. When we cook in these houses it is a 4-6 hour party filled with laughter, great smells, dancing, tastes, and magical conversations and images that imprint on your memory forever. I think it pulls a subliminal and primal part of our humanity that man and womankind have shared since the days we lived in caves and collectively hunted and gathered to survive. It is special and only those that have been on this trip truly understand what I am talking about here – but it is real and it is most definitely lasting.