Wednesday, June 8, 2011

June 4, 2011 "One's destination is never a place, but rather a new way of looking at things." - Henry Miller

Today was probably my favorite day so far. We went to Bognoregio and Orvieto. The drive was our most beautiful yet. We drove through country sides and made our way to a river, which we drove along for a while. The water was bright blue and glittered in the morning sun and the tall green hills speckled with bright orange and green poppies jumped from the shores.
We arrived at Bagnoregio, the birthplace of Saint Bonaventure.

We walked to the edge of the hill to my favorite part of the day. Across a long valley stood the other half of the town, latterly on top of a plateau. We had to walk across the valley on a bridge to get there. Apparently right people use this as a summer home and only about 14 people live there during the winter.

We began our journey down the valley. The hill was very very steep and we knew we would have to climb this later in the day when coming back. We got to the foot of the bridge and looked up at the very long and steep way we had to take. But it was so beautiful. A town placed on the very top of a cliff surrounded by valleys. Rumor had it that an earthquake occurred and split that part of the town away from everything else.

The only way to get to it is by foot (or small moped) across the bridge. Once we got to the other side of the bridge, everyone was breathing heavy. The end was the steepest hill I had ever seen in my life. Even the buff guys in the group were panting by the time we got to the top.
The town was so beautiful and cute. There were probably 3 or 4 stores, a town square (which is literally a square with nothing in it) and Italian style houses with flowers everywhere. We walked around, which doesn’t take that long. We saw where Bonaventure’s house was until the earthquake dropped it off the cliff. I bought a nice poster from there. We then made our way down the steep bridge to the other side. Once on the other side some people decided to wait for a shuttle to take them up the mountain, Jill and I chose to walk it with the guys and a few girls. It was brutally steep and hot (come to find it was about 100 degrees out) and I was very thirsty. But I made it to the top and was proud of myself for doing it.
We then took the bus to Orvieto (which is about 30 minutes by bus. Orvieto is also on a large hill and our professors told us we were going to climb it. Everyone cried on the inside. However, they were just kidding. We took a cable car/rollercoaster box thing to the top and then a bus the rest of the way.
We got off the bus and saw the main attraction of Orvieto, the Duomo/church. This is probably the most amazing church I have seen so far. The front stood taller than I thought possible. It is horizontally stripped cream and grayish green. Frescos cover the towers on the front and upon closer inspection, the front walls have hundreds of tiny scenes carves into them.

The inside is just as spectacular. Your head has to contort all the way back just to see the ceiling. The inside is also stripped and had columns that reach like fingers to the top. Around the front alter are dozens of frescos and tall stained glass windows that reach nearly to the ceiling. On either side of the church are little chapels. On the right side is a chapel with tons of frescos. On the left side is the chapel that has the story of why the church was built. Legend has it that a priest was doubting that the host was the body of Christ. One day while he was saying mass, he half-heartedly held up the host and it started to bleed onto the alter cloth. The priest took the alter cloth to the Pope who had a church built for the occasion.
After the church we lunch, on our professors. Lunch was incredible and so were the waiters. Our little Italian man waiter was hilarious. He was dancing around and running around getting orders like a crazy man. When he came to get our drink order, Jill ordered a water and he pulled it out of his pocket and started laughing hysterically. Our first course was a giant piece of lasagna with bread. Second was 3 meats and potatoes. They placed a piece of chicken, sausage and beef on your plate and then piled up potatoes next to it. Then the final course was a bowl of fresh fruit. As usual in Italy, it was delicious and filled us up.
After a bit of free time we met up and made our way to the bus. When we got back, Jill, Ashley and I went grocery shopping. We then unpacked the groceries, got a cappuccino and gelato and went back to the apartment. We sat in the kitchen for hours chatting until it was time for bed. We plan on sleeping in tomorrow, it our first day off in 2 weeks.

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