Wednesday, October 6, 2010

This Happened a While Ago....but I Still Thinks It's Worth Talking About

Ten minutes ago I got out of the shower with the intention of cleaning the kitchen, doing my laundry and reading some material for class. Instead however, I have only managed to make a sandwich, watch a few youtube videos and now start writing this blog. That's what I call productive. Anyway, since the last time we talked (or since my last blog--which was a while ago)the most notable events to have happened are a hike up Monte Subasio, and a trip to Rome with my Dad. For now though, I will only discuss the former of the two.

Monte Subasio is one of the largest mountains in Umbria and can be seen from pretty much any location in Perugia (granted you're looking south-east and there arent buildings in your way). Following an early alarm, myself and a few friends took a train to Assisi where we arrived shortly before noon (Assisi itself is close to Perugia but we took a few wrong train, making the trip a bit longer than necessary)

 Determined to walk the WHOLE way to the top of the mountain we refused a bus trip from the train station to the main "tourist" portion of Assisi. At first, this "warm-up" walk was pretty flat and scenic as we walked down several one lane streets surrounded by various farms. However, this easy stroll quickly turned into a march as we hit the first initial incline to the city. Now, I consider myself someone who is in adequately good shape...still, this was tough!

After an hour or so of exploring the city itself we embarked for the trail head leading to the summit. To get there however, we would have to walk across nearly the whole of Assisi which once again required a great deal of uphill walking--this seems to be a common theme here in Umbria.
Once at the trailhead, a few member of our corps decided to forgo the rest of the hike and instead spend the day exploring the city--a fair tradeoff. Still, I was determined to make it to the top and set out with my roommate Stephen and two other students at the Umbra Institute--Brendan Pescatore and Katie Parsons.

As an interesting side note: all the buildings in Assisi were made of limestone rock quarried on Monte Subasio. Extremely white in color, these rocks were scattered all over the trail and, as one would expect, were extremely heavy. For a while Stephen and I tried to carry some larger pieces up the mountain but (I) grew too tired and threw my rock away....thereby ending the "game". Beyond rocks though, Monte Subasio is also home to something a bit more appetizing--Cinghaile! To those of you who may not eat out a lot, cinghiale is italian for wild boar and if you havent had the chance to eat it you're missing out. Apparently, next to truffles, it is a Umbrian specialty though if you ask any 'honest' Umbrian they will tell you other regions of Italy have even tastier varieties.
Now while it would have been cool to actually have seen a real live cinghiale, I've heard they are rather vicious and not too friendly to humans (or any other animal for that matter) moving in on their turf. Instead however, we did get to see a cinghiale trap (or at least thats what we were told it was) a few kilometers below the tree line. Fortunately, there was nothing inside....
Once over the tree line we got our first real view of Umbria from over 2000' up. I could try to describe it but, as they say, a picture is worth 1000 words.
Following a few minutes wherein we rested a bit and took some photos we continued up the mountain. However, given the "rough'in it" attitude of our crew we decided to skip out on walking to the summit via the access road (yes, there was a paved road that led to the top...depressing, I know) and instead duck between a barbed fence to the open field leading to the top. Now, while you may think bypassing a barbwire fence is "badass" (we thought it was ourselves) let it be said that--un-be-knownst to us-- every two hundred meters or so there was an opening in the fence to allow for hikers to pass. Oh well, we get points for effort right? Anyway, upon reaching the top we ducked into a small crater in the ground to escape from the wind wherein my we ate some cheese and bread my roommate Stephen brought along. Upon finishing "lunch" we decided to head back down the mountain though not before we came up with the not to brilliant idea to leave our mark on the top in the form of a rock cairn.

Obviously, my engineering skills are far superior to those of my companions....yet, for some reason I couldn't get the structure to stand. I personally blame the wind which, as you can see from the photos, is howling about pretty wildly. As you can also see from the photos, I have a really bad tan line....just sayin' (I know you were thinking it anyway).

Be sure to check back soon. I have a bunch more stuff to write about so I should be updating this thing pretty regularly. Also, feel free to comment....just nothing stupid, like correcting my grammar and such. I know, these things are full of mistakes but given the speed at which I write them (and my lack of proofreading) what do you expect?


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