I was there for four months but I never grew tired of Perugia’s stone-mad beauty. It really knocked me out. Walking the streets was a daily indulgence. There were many nights spent wandering wine-buzzed with welled up eyes. I always felt very lucky, and sometimes, maybe even a little guilty.
The passageways sprouting from Piazza Novembre IV were plentiful and strange. Hidden views of Umbrian countryside during the day, or 4 a.m. on Via Dei Priori, with the sounds of early rising bakers and the smell their early rising bread– all of it was good.
Somewhere off of Corso Geribaldi, this spot was unassuming but it caught my eye anyway. It was beautiful. It summed up what I was searching for when I came to Italy, and I almost made it a point to pass by whenever exploring the city. It was dark and lonely, with a single flittering lantern lighting a small enclosed courtyard flat, two-thousand years of history seeping through the cracks.
When I landed in Dublin my brain was fried but my body wanted more. The flight across the Atlantic isn’t the most grueling, but the monotonous orgy of herded lemmings at the airports is enough to make you lose your goddamned mind. After I dropped off my stuff all I wanted was to wander with a buzz and shoot photos, so I slipped into an underground semi-dive off a side street in Temple Bar.
After an hour of friendly bullshit with the Italian bartender, a group of friends grabbed me from my stool and had me join them for a drink. We talked about Dublin, and I told them a lot about Cleveland. They asked a lot of questions so I assume they were interested.
After the fourth pint I was feelin’ it and I got a little gestural and knocked a beer all over the table. A ginger dude who was eyein’ me the entire time seemed a little pissed and finally made his not so gracious exit. That was fine. We had more beers, all on them, talked great Irish directors, quoted Thin Lizzy, and made plans to meet a few months later.
I started to think about my girlfriend, and I was pretty drunk… I think they could tell. Caroline, the sole lady of the group, handed me her phone and told me to call my love back home. “Don’t worry about the long distance minutes,” she said, with a pitiful look in her eyes. I grabbed the phone and ran outside.
By the time I got back to the hostel I was gone. Tired from the journey and dried up by the booze. Caroline gave me my parting gift, the piece of paper pictured above, and I crammed it into my pocket clumsily. I fell asleep, happy and cashed, not realizing what I would be confronted with in two hours time…
The worst hangover of my fucking life. Thanks Caroline and Ciaran, for the company, the beers, the call back home, and the three hour fetal-position dry-heave marathon in the unisex bathroom of my hostel. I’ll never forget it.
When I got this in the mail, I didn’t know whether to be offended that my photo resembled a thirty-seven year old Samoan drug runner or pay ISIC for such a lovely I.D. The most recognized (and least legit?) piece of young traveler identification besides a passport, the ISIC card does grant you admission into museums and discounts on things like lodging– if you can prove it’s you.
Milan, Italy. Photo by Adam Jaenke
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