Lari’s Trip to Germany & Italy with Sisters   Leave a comment

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LARI’S 2011 SPRING VACATION

“GERMANY AND ITALY”

With my sisters, Karen and Chris

APRIL 26 TO MAY 11, 2011

My sister Christine, who lives in Boulder, CO invited me and my sister Karen to go to Spoleto, Italy to stay with her in her apartment that she owns with 3 other couples. So Karen and I used our miles and booked our flights to Rome. Karen also wanted us to go to Germany to see Mother Meera, a spiritual leader from India who lives in Germany, where hundreds go to be blessed by her. So we flew to Frankfurt, rented a car and stayed in a small guest house/hotel in Balduinstein, spending our days walking and relaxing and 3 evenings receiving Darshan from Mother Meera. We found a wonderful little restaurant Lahn Blick, owned by Jessica across the river from our guest house, where the food was delicious and cheap.

Then we flew back to Rome and took a train to Spoleto, a lovely hill town about an hour or two east of Rome in the hilly countryside of Umbria. Since we had no car, we walked everywhere, and since it’s a hill town, we walked up and down stairs and cobblestone streets. The old town has a castle on the top, a large duomo (cathedral) and the modern part of Spoleto outside the ancient city walls. Chris’s apartment was near the duomo and just a few steps away was the Mercato Piazza, a small plaza with an ancient Roman fountain, gelato shops, restaurants, salami/cheese shops and our favorite bar, Café Artiste. We hung out there every day because they had free wi -fi for my iphone and ipad. They serve coffee, tea, wine, beer, gelato and various light fare such as pizza. Salvatore, our waiter, and owner, Mauro became my friends. Every afternoon a bunch of men hang out and play Italian cards in foursomes. I would watch them play between checking my email and facebook. We also made friends with Elcinio, who owns a little produce shop in the piazza. He always gives us a little fruit to eat.

Chris’s place was very comfy, with a living-room, kitchen/dining-room, 2 bedrooms and 2 baths. Chris cooked risotto with porcini mushrooms one night and another night cooked pasta. We got fresh salad greens from a truck farmer who came to our piazza every morning next to the roast pork truck. We walked down to the super market, Maxi Tigre, just outside the village walls and walked back up with our loads of wine, pasta, cheese, and fixings for dinner. Most nights we ate out, but many of the restaurants open late at 8 pm. So we’d go to Artiste for free pupus and wine or beer before dinner.

Cafe Artiste my hangout in Spoleto

Inside Spoleto Cathedral

We spent the days looking for different churches, museums and shops in town. One day we decided to hike up the mountain of Monteluco next to our village, and it took us two hours to get to the convent and hotel at the top. We walked through the little convent where St. Francis had a sanctuary and had lunch at Hotel Ferretti where the salad and pasta were very delicious! Then we hitched a ride back to Spoleto, because I refused to walk back down the steep trail.

Every Friday is market day in Spoleto. We were excited to see what would be sold there. So on Friday morning, we walked down to Garibaldi Piazza, and right outside the village wall was the market. It is sort of like our swap meet where vendors set up their tents. We found farm-fresh fruits and vegetables, underwear and socks, scarves, cookware, tableware, shoes, clothing and much more. One vendor had piles of clothes on a huge table for 2 pieces for 5 euro so I got 4 pieces (blouse, slacks, skirt, and sweater) for 10 euro! Another table had leather jackets for 10 euro so Karen and I each bought a leather jacket. Great deals! Good fun!

Mother’s Day, was my birthday and the monthly market came to Spoleto. On the second Sunday of each month, vendors come to set up their tents/tables right in Mercato Piazza, down the street to the next piazza. Most of the vendors sold antiques, but there was jewelry, spices, honey, truffles, and more. We had fun shopping again! That evening we walked down to a Church where they had a free choir concert. It was divine with the wonderful acoustics in the old Church. Then we went down the street to Chris’s favorite pizza shop, where her hubby Phil, who just drove in from Rome, met us for dinner.

Our last day was spent with Phil driving us to neighboring villages. We took a wrong turn and got lost on our way to Assisi where the magnificent St. Francis Basilica has 3 levels: two cathedrals, one on top of the other, and St. Francis’ tomb in the bottom level. We also went to the villages of Spello and Montefalco. The countryside drive was so beautiful with olive trees and vineyards as far as your eyes could see on the rolling hillsides.

Phil and Chris took us to the train station where they saw us off to Rome. We caught a flight to London, where we stayed overnight near Heathrow, before flying home the next day via Los Angeles.

Lari’s Top Seven:

7.  In Spoleto, no need stairmaster or treadmills, we just lived without a car and walked everywhere, and we could eat all the pasta and never gain weight

6. Ohh, the wine! We got the cheapest wine at the supermarket and house wine in a carafe at restaurants, and it always tasted so good!

5. Ancient Roman architecture still standing after thousands of years- the teatro, the arches, the cobblestones, the fountains, and more

4. The food! So ono! Love the fresh, non-processed food. Italian food is the best! We even had great pasta in Germany.

3. Not being on a tour, and spending time with my sisters

2. Experiencing darshan from Mother Meera

1. Hanging out at Artiste Café every day, like a local

Posted May 25, 2011 by lariyasui in Europe

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