Mamma Mia! Even in Rome there are days best spent in bed under the covers. It was a simple trip from Rome to Perugia. It started off by taking the bus/metro to Termini to rent a car. I know, any trip through Termini is not likely to be pleasant, but it actually was a lovely morning and easy to walk from Piazza della Republica to the car rental office. Unfortunately, I found I had my Italian passaporto, my American drivers license and credit card.
While the agent was quite pleasant, she said ‘you have too many names’. You must have the passport that matches the other documents. I know a pointless argument when I see one. So, after a 40 euro cab ride back to get my passport and return to the rental agency we were off to Perugia.
Even with a delayed start a drive to Perugia is not a big thing. It’s a little over two hours from Centro Rome to Perugia. I had my GPS just in case. I have relied on my GPS in Italy since 2004. I would never be in Rome without it. Even though Rome can test any GPS, it will definitely find your way out of whatever mess you find yourself in. , I believed that since it was fully charged and plugged into the lighter, we’d have no problems. We were fine on the A1 (a main toll road in Italy that is a breeze).
Then we received a text message from a friend who had arranged a tour of the Perugina factory for us at 3:15. So suddenly, the wandering drive was a little annoying. We had passed all those lovely Autogrills on the A-1 not worrying about lunch assuming we’d be shortly in Perugia. With a little additional pressure, we started off onto the road to Perugia a winding, wandering road through the beautiful Umbrian countryside.
Shortly we realized we were on a country road that had no restaurants, no towns, nothing but beautiful green scenery and rolling hills. Lovely most of the time, not so much when you are hungry and thirsty and suddenly on a timed schedule. About this time, we realized the GPS was no longer working. After a short examination, we realized it had not been charging at all. It was dead. Completely dead. For some reason the plug was not connecting with the cigarette lighter. No options to re-power it. We were on our own.
While I normally confidently know that eventually all roads will lead you to somewhere lovely in Italy, I was not so happy to be wandering around the countryside without water or food. Feeling a little like a refugee. I kept looking for signs we were actually approaching Perugia. Oddly they were far an few between. When we arrived in Perugia, I discovered that although many signs said Centro ⇒ it was not that easy. It would lead you up towards the center, then down out of the center. Finally we arrived at our hotel, La Rosetta, just in time to check into the hotel, drop our bags and head out to the bus to take us to the Perugina factory tour.
They directed us to the Linea A bus. “Take the moving sidewalkall the way to the bottom.They didn’t mention you must then go through the tunnel and down a lot of steps to get to the bus terminal. Yep, about 8 minutes to get there. Then We found our bus was 20 minutes late. This made us likely to arrive about 2 minutes after our tour was to begin. With hurried texting our tour was re-scheduled for 4:15. Whew!
My friend said you get off the bus and the Perugina factory is directly across the street from the bus stop. I saw a large Perugina sign on what looked like a large factory and we got off the bus only to discover that there was a much smaller sign saying ferrovia (A train station). We asked which bus would actually take us to San Sisto where the factory is. (Of course it’s not actually in Perugia, it’s in San Sisto). Ohhhh. We could take Linea A, B, or R. We took the first that came along. The R. It was supposed to be a 5 km drive from Perugia. About 15 minutes later I asked the driver where the heck San Sisto was and she said soon. Finally she said here it is, but there was no factory, no buildings, only a residential area and a small town. When I asked where the Perugina factory was and she said “straight ahead then to the right”. Well, it was, about ½ mile straight ahead. We finally got to the factory (where there was a bus stop, but on the same side of the street) . We were anow bout 15 minutes late, tired, a little sweaty and still hungry.
When we tried to check in and see if we could catch up with the tour, The lovely young lady said, “Why are you here? There is no production line working on Fridays in March, April or May. And, the film is only in Italian. If you want, you can look at the museum and watch part of the film, but I don’t think it is worth it”.
So after all that we were faced with the return trip to Perugia. We noticed there was no bus stop across the street. Finally asking someone they suggested that we would have to cross several roads to get to where the bus would pick us up. Linea A. After another hike of about 10 minutes and a 20 minute wait, we saw a bus approaching that said Piazza Italia. Yahoo! Our hotel was in Piazza Italia. We jumped on.
Some days are best spent in bed enjoying the quiet comfort of home.