Saturday, March 26, 2005


Today we decided to drive to Citta delle Pieve. There’s a “mondo Mercato” (world market) going on there this weekend. Amazingly, there are many markets being held all over Umbria, and presumably, all over Italy. I would have expected Easter to be reserved for family, but this must be when the Italians make good on their saying about spending Christmas with family but Easter with friends.

This market promised food from the south of Italy…not sure how that makes this a “world” market, and also not sure why the emphasis on the south, but, who cares?

When we’ve driven to, or rather PAST Citta delle Pieve in the past, we’ve taken a variety of routes. We always manage to get there fairly easily, but getting back home has always been very confusing and frustrating. We’ve never taken the route we really wanted to take….somehow the roads on the map and the roads we see aren’t always the same.

I decided to go to to see how they would route us. Not surprisingly the route took us up towards Ospedaletto then over towards Citta delle Pieve. As with most map programs, this one seemed pretty detailed…”go 2.7 kms, turn right onto SS317, then go 14.2 kms and turn left”, etc. I was fairly sure we’d be able to get there without a problem, I really hoped that the directions would help us to get back home the simplest and most direct route.

And within ten minutes of leaving home, we had made our first, worst, but certainly not last mistake of the day. We think we assumed that the main road kept going straight ahead when we came to a ‘T” in the road….a logical choice most of the time!....but unfortunately not true in this case.

As expected, the error of our ways did not become apparent until over twenty kilometers later. Bt that time, when I checked the map, I realized that I had no idea where we were! The signs we should have been seeing were nowhere to be found, and the cities we were being directed to didn’t seem to be anywhere near Citta delle Pieve.

Damn! I mean, what was the point of printing out directions if they were going to be useless?! And what was the point of having a map that didn’t seem to list any of the cities we seemed to be heading towards?! Art of course was trying to calm me down….suggesting that I just relax and enjoy the ride, enjoy the view. He wasn’t frustrated or upset about our inability to follow the simplest of directions, or with the map’s lack of detail.

Yes, I know that we’re retired…we’re not on a schedule. We can arrive when we want and leave when we want…we can stop along the way to admire the view or take a picture. We can have an early lunch or a late lunch, or a lunch of only gelato. We can wander aimlessly along unknown roads just to see where they lead…but not today!

Today was NOT the day I wanted to wander aimlessly. Today was NOT the day I wanted to relax and enjoy the view solely for the sake of the view. Today I wanted to enjoy the views ON THE WAY TO CITTA DELLA PIEVE. I wanted to be able to follow simple directions and plot our course on the map. I wanted to feel in charge of our destiny today. The adventure could come another day.

After backtracking, trying alternate roads, and hoping that we’d get lucky, we finally got a break….a woman on the side of the road who could give us directions! Only after this kind woman took pity on us was I able to figure out where we were. My god! No wonder we were lost! We were so far off course it was laughable! No wonder I hadn’t been able to find any of the cities near us on the map…..I wasn’t even looking in the right section!

And so, finally, taking the TRULY “scenic route”, both literally AND figuratively, we arrived in Citta delle Pieve. The journey that should have taken forty minutes, according to had taken us about ninety minutes!

Being determined if not optimistic, I was willing to follow the directions in reverse so that we could know for sure exactly where we had gone wrong. Although we were both pretty sure, it would be nice to know for certain, and if we were able to take the right route, it was certain to take us less than ninety minutes to get home.

And then Wendy called, and we had to meet with her before we went home! She was in Perugia, so we’d have to go in the opposite direction of San Venanzo. Once there, it would be too out of the way to backtrack all the way to Citta delle Pieve, so we’ll have to leave the test for the next time. I’m going to try very hard to see if I can set my mood to “wanderlust” and not get upset if we end up far from out intended destination.

Sometimes even if you’re retired and not on a schedule you STILL want to go where you want to go, and you STILL want to feel that you have the intelligence to get there. Relaxing is fine for those who do it easily…for the rest of us, it needs to be scheduled well in advance.


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