Sunday evening in ‘Bar Olympia’, near Perugia

..and the usual fun and games to the start of the trip. What did I expect? Why to arrive in sunny Italy, find a bus from Perugia airport to the main city centre, thence to get a bus to the ‘Perugia Farmhouse Backpackers Hostel’ as directed to on the website. Then tomorrow morning to return to the airport, pick up the hire car, and we’re off!

The reality? I arrive in the early afternoon to the airport of Sant’ Egidio, which is a village hall in the middle of nowhere. Not a bus in sight, just hovering taxi drivers looking to strip me on as many euros as possible. It’s also overcast, and it’s been raining. So, I have a coffee and pastry (cheap and wonderful!) at the airport ‘Tabacchi’ and then go to the Hertz booth to see if I can pick up the car a day early. They’re OK about it, but they don’t have a ‘clean’ one for me, only one (a Lancia) with a few bumps and dents on it. Much better!

I’m not so worried about driving it! So, I risk my life on the roads, but despite having printed off Google maps, spend a good hour driving all around the outskirts of Perugia, ending up on goat tracks, main roads, unknown villages, all on dreadful roads full of potholes. And we moan about out frosted roads this year! Eventually by sheer persistence and some cavalier u-turns I reach the Perugia Farmhouse.

It’s wonderful. Rustic in a sort of 1970’s bad plumbing sense. Reminds me of my first experiences in Italy. Shower, shave and emerge into a cool evening landscape and start to form impressions away from travel stress. We are surrounding by dark blue green hills, cypress trees, vines and olives. But it is not dry and arid, but verdant and sweet, and quite unlike any other part of Italy I have yet experienced. I am already intrigued

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