A couple weekends ago, Chad and I celebrated our one-year anniversary. Or, at least, the day we’ve decided is our anniversary. Because our romance was an unusual one, and do you count your anniversary from the day you met? The day of your first accidental date? The day of your first official date? Your first kiss?
I landed on the day we decided to be exclusive, which also happens to be the day of the first really big fancy meal I made for Chad (chicken four ways).
This year, our anniversary hit during our second and last month in Rome. We were already a little overstimulated by the city, so I decided we should spend a long weekend far, far away. In the rolling Umbrian countryside. In my favorite Italian hill town (so far).
And so that Friday morning in late February we woke early, walked to the train station, and rode the comfortable, often scenic two hours to Assisi, where we settled into a big studio apartment on the top floor of an old delightfully-characteristic building overlooking one of the main town squares.
The next three days took on a slow, relaxed rhythm. We explored the winding streets, their pink-white stones reflecting the winter sunlight brilliantly around us. We climbed a staircase to the castle atop the hill. We wandered down and around the massive St. Francis cathedral, making our way down the hill through muddy forest paths, along a stream, through dormant olive groves, and to the old closed-up nunnery that serves as a welcome center in the warmer months.
In between, we returned to our apartment for long naps in the sunshine every afternoon and hearty meals of toasted flatbread, rich truffle spreads, flavorful salami, and zucchini sautéed with guanciale (thick, hearty, flavorful pork cheek). Then out we went again, back to our favorite little meat shop (cacio pepe) for another salami or flat bread or preservative-free jar of rich strawberry jam (where, after the first two or three visits, the owner started greeting Luna by name when we walked in) or to our favorite local restaurant (Osteria Piazzetta delle Erbe), recommended by our lovely landlord.
“We should get away more often,” Chad said.
But, of course, isn’t that how we all feel when we have a few days to truly relax, to let go of work and to-do lists and just be?
And then our three days drew to a close. We spent the last afternoon reading in a cafe, attempting (unsuccessfully) to finish a massive bowl of salad, and then making our way back down the hill, onto a train, and into the city, where we had just 10 more days of work and bustle before boarding another train, this time bound for a spring in Croatia.
Until Croatia, though, it’s memories of sunny, quiet, view-rich Assisi that will keep us going.
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All photos taken with my Sony a6000.
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