Sometimes you have to leave behind the pains of the world, the pressure of work, your responsibilities to all your loved ones and... take a walk! Breathe deeply, take a few steps outdoors and then some more, and yet more, for an hour or two, until, for a few heady moments, you feel FREE...
That's exactly what I did a few days ago, it was a cool spring day on Lake Trasimeno, in the heart of Italy - a lake that straddles Tuscany and Umbria. It wasn't at sunset (like on the cover of my book "Crimson Clouds"), it was midday. A cold wind was blowing but the sun shone bright, the birds sang, and horses happily grazed in the fields. Here are some of the images I took on my smart phone that I want to share with you, starting with the lake:
This is Isola Polvese - an island that is a natural reserve - and the shot is taken from high up. In fact, we had driven up to the small, medieval village of San Savino, with its characteristic tower:
You can glimpse the lake in the back, to the right. The tower dates back to the 12th Century and is part of a fortress - not a place you can actually visit, people still live in it. Here it is:
The castle was restored - or rather rebuilt - in the 14th Century. You can learn more about San Savino here, and if you want to spend sometime in the village, you can even rent small flats with great views - but be warned, the place is so small that there are no shops, no restaurants or cafés and that, in Italy, is very rare. Most villages have at least a café. But you're very close to the Lake and the pleasant little town of San Feliciano, from where you can take a ferryboat to Isola Polvese.
We took a walk around the back of San Savino, going beyond the nice, old cemetery and found this jolly horse:
He quickly noticed us and came up:
After that encounter, we felt ready for lunch and drove back towards Perugia - ten minutes - to the Osteria dell'Olmo, a Seventeenth Century villa turned restaurant. The setting is a pleasure, the dining room with a fireplace is particularly nice in winter:
Overtime, the food has had its ups and downs but now they have a new chef and we ate very well, a superb steak and fried spring potatoes with the skin on, very tasty. But more complex menus are available:
And they have a delightful coffee machine dating back to the 1920s (don't worry, it's not in use!):
Yes, the person in the mirror is me, bent on taking this picture...
In summer, you can eat outdoors, not the case that day (much too cold). But when we looked outside for the restaurant owner who had disappeared in the course of our meal, we found him busy taking care of a herb garden he had recently laid out on the terrace in neat white boxes:
Gardening is an Italian passion!