Bella premunt hostilia

I am in Italy! 

This is for choir tour. We took a flight from Stansted at 6:55 am yesterday morning (here’s a tip: if you ever have the choice of taking a 6:55 am flight, don’t. Unless you are cash-strapped and that is the cheapest flight available, which was the reason we were doing it.) We flew Ryan Air, which reminded me of one of my favorite quotations of all time, by the Irish comedian Dylan Moran: “Anyone who doesn’t believe in God or the Devil has never been properly kissed or flown Ryan Air with a hangover.” No one was hung over, but the landing in Perugia was the ropiest landing in memory, and I fly an awful lot. It felt like a premonition of the casual Italian way of doing things.

I’m writing this in a cafe near the main piazza in Assisi, where we’ve been staying for the last day or so, and don’t have a lot of time, but highlights so far have included: 

-being shouted at by a priest for wearing a sleeveless dress in a church 

-being shouted at by a nun for sitting on the steps of her altar (whoops)

-singing a Durufle motet for an adorable waitress who insisted that we take free limoncello afterwards

-trekking around Assisi trying to find the castle, and failing

-two-euro glasses of red wine in the main piazza last night, while a group of enthusiastic children and adolescents (a Catholic summer school?) and a monk danced to the rhythm of a  pagan-sounding drum in front of what used to be a Roman temple

More later, as and when Internet is available! And pictures to follow. Assisi is a hilltop town and from many points in the city, the pedestrian gets a spectacular view of the Umbrian valley country that stretches below, the brown and green fields, the elegant square farmhouses, the lines of tall spindly trees…

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