Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Orvieto in Umbria

It's always a traumatic moment when trying to achieve an "out of comfort zone moment". Today there were three in the first half of the day.
The first "OCZM" was purchasing a Italian SIM card for our iPhone. After navigating the language barrier and having the Sim card fitted, we found that our iPhones were locked to OPTUS in Australia. The end result was that we now have a Samsung phone.

The second "OCZM" was picking up the lease car. I was actually quite excited with the prospect of sitting my posterior in the driver's seat of a brand new Citroen C4 1.6l five speed diesel. The base model 2014 C4 has great features including retracting mirrors, auto lights and wipers, bluetooth, and connection to iPod plus the crowning glory of GPS.
Why was this a OCZM? Well, because when I opened the door to get in, there was no steering wheel. I looked across at the passenger side and there it was - OMG!!!!
That's right - they drive on the other side.

The third OCZM was getting fuel as they only give you a token amount to get to a service station. Sooner than later is always a good rule with filling up in unfamiliar territory. So we decided we would go to the first filling station. This I found not far from entering the A1 Freeway that takes you all the way from sud (south) to Nord (north) of Italy. This down in the tooth service station even had someone actually filling up the car for you. I found out why - it only took cash and the "bloke" wouldn't fill up the car unless you gave him a tip. I said to Sue, "I think there is some sort of a error, we'll just move on and fill up elsewhere". That's not exactly what I said but I guess you get my drift. We left Mr Dodgy with a perplexed look on his face.

So off we went up the A1 to our next night stay at Orvieto in Umbria. As you drive up the A1, you notice that either side is littered with hilltop villages. Orvieto is one of them.

We had a spare night before arriving at Gaiole and Orvieto was half way. We stayed at the base of the ancient city of Orvieto and although you could take a Funiculare to the city, we decided to drive the 4 kms to the top.

We only spent a couple of hours in the historic part of Orvieto before rushing back to the metered car park with the intention of returning tomorrow for a more sedate look and lunch.

Late afternoon scenes of Orvieto

Last night's dinner was at a family restaurant walking distance just down the hill from the hotel. Just as well because parking is very limited in the narrow streets. No wonder European cars are designed with retractable side mirrors. The restaurant had a menu with locals in mind rather than tourists and this is the way we like it. The large screen TV was showing "Deal or no Deal" or something like it. It had the slick, slightly overweight host with the cute model like girls - eh! That's Italian TV.

The menu was simple good wholesome food, mine being grilled lamb and Sue had the scaloppini al limone with desert being Tiramisu which Sue said was the best that she has ever had. Our host poured us a complimentary glass of desert wine to accompany it. Superb.

Morning view from our hotel room balcony.
The Hotel owner bakes her own cakes for those who have breakfast in her dining room.
The dining room had this amazing lace curtain with the name of the hotel.
And so we say goodbye to this cheerful hotel on our way to Gaiole for our first one week stay.


  1. Sorry I am behind on comments. My computer died a month ago and it has taken a while to get another one minus a French key board which I did not want!! Finally back on line but having to learn a whole new system!

    Sounds like you are having fun. Every time we have hired a car we have had to return the car with a full tank, Italy obviously has its own rules! Looking forward to catching up with your news when you cross the border. Take care Diane and Nigel xx

  2. D&N - all good here with lots to talk about and little time to share but will soon with you both when we are back in France.


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