In Perugia, the only way you can get around these long, hilly roads is to use your feet. That being said, I am constantly walking up and down streets to get to my next destination. I walk so much that my calves are pretty much sore every day! Before class the other day, I had about forty-five minutes to kill so I decided to use that time to go on my walk. When exploring I usually walk with a friend around the city. Yet, this time I went solo in order to discover parts of Perugia on my own.
I walked down a main street at first named Corso Vannucci. This is the street that connects to the main square, Piazza IV Novembre. On this street there are many restaurants and little stores including coffee shops, bars, and some amazing gelaterias where you can buy delicious gelato. It is actually on this street where I always pass the host of the restaurant I ate at on my first day in Perugia. I’m still working on breaking that difficult language barrier but I’m definitely improving. I understand the gist of things but speaking isn’t my specialty. Nonetheless, I kept walking all the way to the end of Corso Vannucci where I was presented with a beautiful view of Borgo Bello, a small neighboring village just five minutes away from the center of Perugia. It is quite a spectacular view, especially with the sun shining over the mountains in the distance. After appreciating the beautiful sight, I walked down the curvy hill passing trees and little apartments on the side of the rode. I passed a bakery where the smells of pastries and other delicious treats were being made. It smelt like strawberries and raspberries. I didn’t end up buying anything because I had just ate before my walk, but I did linger around to keep smelling all of those amazing bakery scents.
After I wobbled down the steep hill from the bakery, I hit the part of the city by the bus station. The smells of delicious pastries were gone and now I was smelling smoke and car exhaust. At this point, I decided to take a random side street so that I could get away from the main busy street with all the cars and buses. The street grew much narrower and the buildings much taller. They were people hanging around on the sides talking and others carrying their groceries back to their home. As I kept walking the road it began to incline and I ended walking right back to the main square without even realizing. I was pretty surprised.
In his text, Slimbach writes, “When you’ve walked it, it’s yours. You’ve “been” there…. You own a piece of the world, and ownership gives strength” (182). This quotation really resonated with me after reading it. My walk involved me conquering land that was unknown to me. I wasn’t just driving through and covering ground. Instead, I was exploring my way around in a newfound place with my own two feet. I can now say that “I’ve been here.” I found it interesting that my walk brought me back to the place I began. In a way, it is symbolic to my study abroad experience. I leave the place I call home and explore a new, unfamiliar world. Yet, eventually I will return home to the place where familiarity and comfortability thrive. Even though it was a short walk, it still reminded me about my time here in Perugia and how I only have just a couple months left. I know my experience just began, but two months is not a very long time. All good things must come to an end, so it’s best to enjoy the little things while they unfold right before your eyes.
The travelogue I chose to read was called “Not in a Tuscan Villa” by John and Nancy Petralia. It was about the couple’s experience when they decide to travel to Italy after their retirement. The reason I enjoyed it so much was because it felt very real to read about the little inconveniences and journeys of other people leaving their home to go to another culture. From reading about their experiences not validating their tickets on a train because they didn’t know the Italian law to reading about the language barrier that they also faced, I felt a sense of comfort knowing that I’m not the only one who endure these minor, little struggles. It was a fun read and I would definitely recommend to anyone traveling to Italy to read.
The picture I chose to best describe my walk is a picture of a person running a track. Eventually he will return back to exactly where he started. Like I said above, it is symbolic to my entire study abroad experience. Because I know that I will be home before I know, this changes my behavior by making me live more in the present and taking advantage of all the opportunities that are available to me.