Tuesday, August 08, 2017

A Morning Walk

For years we've walked in the morning.  When we lived in Louisville it was so convenient to walk to Tom Sawyer Park.  Although Louisville is hot and humid in the summer it usually cools down at night (below 70ºF), and even on the hottest days, as long as we left the house before 7 it was still cool enough - and we still had enough shade - to make the walk tolerable.  The walking path at the park is crushed limestone, so it was gentler on my joints than walking on pavement.

When we moved to Florida, everything changed.  The first big change was that all the walking paths are paved, or at least the ones near us.  Walking in the grass is impossible in Florida - the grass is so deep and so thick it's like walking on a sponge, and it's impossible to tell if there's a hole or even a dip in the ground.  The second big change was the temperature.  In the summer - probably six months out of the year - the temperature NEVER dips below 75º, and of course the humidity is always high.  This means that even walking before the sun comes up is hot, sticky and just plain miserable.  

Not being a morning person, it's always challenging to get up early enough to walk.  It's actually more difficult here in Italy because there seems to be a festa every night, and even going out for a pizza means that dinner never starts before 7:30.  And a three hour dinner is pretty common.  And I really, really want to get nine of hours of sleep.  Yes, nine. I really love my sleep, no apologies.  And of course it's even harder to sleep when it's so hot and there's no air conditioning.  So yes, I really think I deserve a medal for getting up at seven to walk.  

Walking Path_4310 Initially we were walking at San Martino in Campo, at a flat, oval walking track. The problem with this track is that it was probably 60% sun, 40% shade when we arrived, and the later it got, the hotter the sunny parts were.  Walking earlier would have helped, but when it's this hot, getting to sleep before midnight is nearly impossible, so  that wasn't going to happen. I'd noticed a long, shaded, elevated white road near Deruta, and one day we decided to check it out.  Both sides of the road/walkway are lined with large birch trees so it's about 80% shaded, and stays cooler longer.  We walk up and down this road eight times, and based on how long this takes us we estimate the distance to be about three miles.

Tobacco and hay
There's a field - part tobacco, part bales of hay - on one side, and a parking lot - mostly deserted - on the other, with views of Deruta in the distance.  One end stops at the roadway, protected by a guardrail, and at the other end is a water treatment plant, or at least that's my guess.  There's no odor - no stinky or chemical smell at all, and when the water is being agitated it looks absolutely black.  It's not the most scenic part of the walk, but we don't have to look at it for very long.  

There seem to be quite a few other 'regulars', the shirtless man with the dachshund, the two women with their Jack Russell terrier, the man who drives up to the end of the road, parks his car by the water treatment plant, lets his dog out for a walk, then leaves.  We also see a young woman with a beautiful Dalmatian, and an elderly couple who walk single file.  She walks in front, wearing what my grandmother would call a housedress, and he, even shorter than his wife, trails behind. Oh, and the guy who rings his bell as he approaches on his bicycle.  Weekends are busier, of course, and most of the people we see walking don't go back and forth like we do, but rather walk one length of the road, coming from and going to parts unknown.

People here are friendly, and everyone nods, smiles and says 'Buon giorno' as we pass.  We stopped to chat with the two women who walk with the Jack Russell terrier, and they proudly told us one of their sons is now touring the United States with his girlfriend.  They told us he was an engineer who speaks excellent English.  They of course were curious about us, about where we were staying, and where we lived in the U.S.

Horse and buggy_4294 On Sundays we see people with their horses, but out on the main road, not on the trail.  Because my camera was in my purse, which is put safely away when I get into the car at the house, not at the walking path, I was only able to get a shot of one of the horses and this small, two-person carriage.  We also saw a larger wagon being pulled by two horses, and two individuals on horseback, all on the main road, all being passed slowly by passing cars so as not to startle the horses.  Just another Sunday in the country.

Water_4293 Often on our way home - if I'm not starving - we'll stop in Sant'Angelo to get water.  The water here is very, very hard, and it doesn't take long to see the mineral deposit build up on any glass or container.  These fairly new water dispensers, now found in almost every town, offer water, still or with gas, for 5¢ per 1 ½ liters.  Again, another opportunity to talk to people, which this summer consists mostly of talk about how hot it is!

We also stop at a local farm in Sant'Angelo for all our seasonal produce:  tomatoes, beans, eggplant, celery, lettuce, peaches, nectarines, onions, garlic, zucchini, cucumbers, peppers, fresh eggs and even home-made wine for €2.25 per bottle.  If I need fresh basil - mine's just not growing very well due to the extreme heat - the girl who's usually there, the granddaughter of the owner, will simply walk around back and cut what I need.  I'm sure the offerings will change with the seasons, and I can't wait to see what else they sell.  Pumpkins maybe?  But not for carving, for cooking!  Probably apples in the fall, and who knows what else.

Thank goodness it's cool in the mornings, and that we found a shady place to walk because in this heatwave we've mostly stayed indoors, reading, napping, discovering new television shows, staying cool within the thick stone walls of our little house.

You can see these and all our photos by clicking on this link to our FLICKR PAGE.



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