Yesterday, I went with two friends to Perugia for the annual chocolate festival. We took a regional train, and we forgot to validate our tickets in the machine before we got on. I was worried about that the whole ride, because you can get a steep fine for that. My worries melted away when the conductor checked our tickets and just wrote the departure time on there himself. It was about a two hour train ride, and then we took the ciaccoline bus straight to the festival. From the bus stop, we had to go up some escalators through this cool underground catacomb-looking building with high-arch ceilings to get to the city center. Once there, we bought the chococard for five euros, which got us a lot of free chocolate and discounts. There were tents for different chocolate companies selling delicious, gourmet chocolate and chocolate products. There was even one for dogs. I sampled lots of chocolate- dark hot chocolate, spicy chocolate, white chocolate with crunchy rice in it, truffle (like that grows in the ground) chocolate spread, and even chocolate rum.
The festival was mustache themed, which is really funny. I think it’s a play on words in Italian. There was a hashtag for all the mustache selfies: #mustachoc. The slogan for the festival was “Eat your mustache.” There was also a giant mustache sculpture made entirely of chocolate.
There were all sorts of things made out of chocolate: high heel shoes, kitchen tools, animals, etc.
I hadn’t eaten anything all day except for chocolate, so I decided to get some lunch. I went to the one real food tent and got the cheapest thing on the menu, which turned out to be cubes of mortadella (meat). It was good, especially to eat something not made of chocolate. After we made our rounds, we decided to explore a little bit of the city. We went to this one street that was built on top of a Roman aqueduct. The whole city and area around Perugia was beautiful. Umbria is like Tuscany’s little sister that is just as pretty but no one pays as much attention to, but they totally should.
We then went back to the festival to buy some chocolate to take home with us. I bought about seven delicious truffles for €8.40. They are diminishing as this blog is being written. We walked back to the bus station and hopped on the wrong bus. We were supposed to take the one that went straight to the train station, but this one went to the minimetro station, then the main bus station, and then drove past the train station as we longingly looked out the window. Someone pushed a button that rang a bell, which made the driver stop at the next stop. Thankfully, it was a straight shot to walk back to the train station. We had an hour and a half before our train left, so we walked to this sushi place we passed on the way. Unfortunately, it didn’t open until 7, and our train left at 7:45. We decided to not risk it and went to trusty McDonald’s, right across from the station. The burgers are just as mediocre here as in America, although I do like their breakfast pastries and coffee better. We ate and sat for a while, then went and rode the train home. I really enjoy taking day trips: there is so much to see around Tuscany, they are a lot less stressful than weekend trips, and I can sleep in my own bed.
Today, I went with my apartment mates to an organic market that is held in Piazza Santo Spirito (across the river, where there are much fewer tourists) on the third Sunday of each month. It was so cool! There were lots of fruits and vegetables, wood products, vegan food, handmade stools and knitted hats. We all bought some handmade soap, and I also bought some honey. I bought this vegan thing for lunch that had lentils in it and was very good. I wanted to buy one of everything there. I also took them to Volume, the coffee shop where I met a British guy. Santo Spirito has a much more local, hipster feel to it than the city center.