Perugia Airport NEW Flights!

Screen Shot 2015-02-23 at 09.45.41From Lufthansa great news! Starting 10th. May they will be offering direct flights from MUNICH to our regional base, of Perugia – San Francesco Assisi Airport, which is only 45 minutes drive from us and so convenient for Bellaugello Gay Guest House.  Flights will be on Tuesday Thursday and Friday.  The flight times varies slightly on the Lufthansa website and seem to begin sooner, so I enclose a link to their news page: Lufthansa – Flüge – München – Perugia

Further expansion of our local airport means that Ryanair have new route to Brindisi starting 29th. March thus a two centre holiday of Umbria and Puglia will be easier for you guys, no need to drive all the way south and back.

And there are still the connections to Barcelona El Prat and Barcelona Girona, so for those of you seeking peace and quiet after partying hard at Sitges, travel to Bellaugello has never been easier.

Here is the link to the San Francesco Assisi Airport website:

How to beat the rain

Not cold, but wet, damp and grey, this Sunday morning in Umbria, the sort of day for not getting out of bed, or just slopping around the house in pyjamas, lighting the fire and snuggling up with a good book and gently dozing.  It was not to be…

A flurry of emails, bookings are coming in thick and fast for spring and summer stays here at Bellaugello Gay Guest House, and each needed to be replied to swiftly.  In the midst of all a WhatsApp message:  “Hey Alec do you fancy coming to the Terme at S Rapalano?”  A text: “Alec come over to dinner tonight we are going to open our own Champagne and want you to be with us”

Neither offer could I refuse.  I packed my rucksack with towels, trunks and havaianas and drove up the road to meet my friend.  We nattered constantly on the journey into southern Tuscany and the spa town of San Rapalano.  The windscreen wipers squeakily un-enthusiastic in wiping the rainfall off the windscreen.  The spa was busy, the first car-park full of camper vans (families – young kids – noise – commotion) the second littered with smart shiny high spec cars (young Tuscan’s Christmas presents??).  The spa was busy, but as ever the water was warm and inviting.

Since my last visit they have remodeled the outdoor pool.  No longer is it a stark rectangle, gone the small deep plunge pools that lead to the giant but cool swimming pool on the lowest terrace.  Now is all sensual curves.  The serpentine curves give privacy, even the entrance steps of which there are many are set into small intimate basins.  The water inside was real hot, that outside cooler but very comfortable, the terme was indeed full of families, the beau monde of Toscana nowhere to be seen, unless they were all in the deep recesses of the pools….

Three hours later we were back on the road towards Perugia and Gubbio and then to drink champagne.   Bubbles, sublime bubbles – No! there were none, the cork just feebly fell out of the bottle, what a disappointment.  My host apologized then noticed the white collar around the bottle… “No” he exclaimed!  “this is not my champagne it is a friend’s wine and I put the white collar on to remind me but I forgot wheat it meant” (I so know the feeling – why, what is that, why did I do that, does it mean anything or is it merely decorative??)  Down he went to the cellar and swiftly back brandishing another bottle.

A flourish, off with the wire capsule, thumbs under the cork and pop!  the cork flew across the room hit the ceiling, and bounced along the entire length of the dining table.  The wine was ruby red, softly sparkling, dry and refined and without chemicals or sulphates. Utterly drinkable, divinely so……

A spa day followed by champagne dinner, wet on the outside wet on the inside, the life of an adoptive Umbrian peasant is not half bad.

When Autumn leaves start to fall

I have blogged less of late, and am feeling guilty about it.  I could blame the slowdown on my output on the launch yesterday of new Apple products – yes, as always for some time prior to a new product launch my computer slows exponentially, and so I am less inclined to sit in front of the computer and rattle away at the unresponsive keyboard aimlessly watching the little rainbow ball or the little blue ball spinning endlessly as the computer decides whether or not to grace me with a bit of activity.

Not that I have been idling away my time, it has been a busy period here at Bellaugello Gay Guest House.  Like the sunshine, we still have guests, travellers who chose to come to Umbria when the area is quieter, to be able to wander deserted country lanes, to visit local wineries, most of whom are currently harvesting their grapes, enjoy the heat of our sauna and icy chill of the outdoor shower, and of course to visit Perugia for Eurochocolate, the chocaholic hedonist festival.

In the meantime I have been tidying in the garden including making a start on pruning the lavender bushes.  As most of you will know I adore lavender and the garden at Bellaugello Gay Bed and Breakfast is full of the plants.  Summers here are remarkable, the scent of lavender pervades every corner of the garden, the purple and violet flower heads swaying in the breeze releasing their heady perfume. And of course, we also cook with lavender, but now in the autumn is the time to prune the plants back, and every year there are more and more and not only is it back-breaking work but it is mightily  disillusioning (I think I have just invented that word although the dreaded auto spell-corrector says not) as there is an endless number of stalks to be cut, and deadwood to be removed..  A friend came over and got busy with the chain-saw lopping dead branches off the cherry trees, still more of them to be done, and as for leaves, well they have only just begun to litter the garden.  It is at times like these that I delight in my toys, all the gadgets that I have for garden work, and especially this year my large blower/sucker absolutely awesome for getting the leaves where I want them.

And we have made a start on the vegetable garden.  After years of neglect, or better explained as lack of time to do anything with it, we have decided it’s time to make a start.  Having planted tomatoes and zucchini in a border on the way to the swimming pool, and delighted in using them for our regular dinners here at Bellaugello, and picking bowlfulls for guests to eat when they prepare meals for themselves in the kitchen in the suites, and although we have a great supply of fresh vegetables from both Daniela’s garden and Monica’s father’s it seemed like time to get big with our vegetable garden. We have cleared away the worst of the weeds, and are now about to start digging the ground over, replacing the wonky fence, so that we have well prepared earth for next year.  This is a big job, the vegetable garden is on a lower terrace below the house, it faces due south so gets a good amount of sun and of course there is a water supply.  The soil is poor and heavy, back-breakingly so, and because of its position we are unable to get a machine in so there is no alternative but to dig by hand.  Still, next year, us and the guys will be picking salad leaves, tomatoes, zucchini and beans and digging potatoes from the Bellaugello garden.

Any guys wanting a break from their desks you are welcome to come over for a short break and help in the garden, let’s do it on a ‘wwoofer’ basis, in return for board and lodgings you help me in the garden. drop me an email. btw when it is just me I eat simply and work spasmodically!

So then there is the administration, sheaves of paperwork to the accountant and reams of email in reply.  Fire extinguishers were checked, they sent a new guy who managed to take every conceivable wrong turning, knock on every door and telephone me every two minutes for directions, and there’s me thinking ‘we’ve got signs on the road, use them’  Oh! and whilst on the subject the road has been patched up! the commune flatbed teetered down the hill, preceded by a Fiat Panda, driver busy on the cell phone, and two guys on the lorry, one driving the other with a shovel, tipping asphalt into the holes and patting it down with the shovel, just in time for the hunters to rip it all out again as they rush to and fro in their scruffy four wheel drives scouring the countryside for poor defenseless animals, such is the winter pursuit of the locals here in Umbria, Italy.

Anyway I digress, back to the subject, extinguishers recharged, it seemed like a good time to firm up on the marketing plan for next year, quotes obtained, and budget almost allocated.  I had hoped to include a trip to the the World Travel Market in London early next month.  The province was offering the opportunity to stand on their section of the ENIT – Italian state tourist board stand, but after several emails I discover they want €500 just a little excessive for little ol’ me! so reluctantly I declined their offer, and instead I guess if Brussels is anything to go by anyone seeking information from the Umbria stand had jolly well better speak Italian, ‘cos that is all the  local representative spoke there.

This is turning into a rant, but I won’t let it become one, so back to more positive things.  I have been looking through some of the many wonderful photographs that have been sent to me by guys who stayed here at Bellaugello Gay Hotel this year, they are all so fabulous and it is such a hard decision to make to choose those for the new website.  I am thinking of a calendar of my Bellaugello Backs series, but how to choose which pic?  Any thoughts guys, would you like to be in a Bellaugello Calendar?  Jenny, my wee dog had another small operation at the vets.  Almost as soon as she came home, stone in mouth as ever, she was running around as if nothing had happened, a great relief.  Back to the office I have been so pleasantly surprised by the number of bookings already confirmed for next year, some suites have only limited availability for the  height of the summer, it is so rewarding, especially as some bookings are from guys who have already been guests here, and some from guys recommended by previous guests, it is a real warm feeling.

And talking of warm, next summer, plans are now formed for a romantic dreamy large four poster bed to be sited at the far end of the swimming pool, a place for quiet relaxation, cosy cuddles and starry nights, curtains blowing softly in the breeze…..  Also progressing well are the plans for a new loggia on the east side of the house, just as you come out of the dining room, a simple vine covered pergola, the wisteria is already well established, and roses, vines and possibly kiwi fruit to be added each growing through one another making a fragrant and colourful melange over a shady seating lounge area, another place for an aperitivo, or just a cosy chat or snooze…  and finally following my recent trip to Alto Adige I have sourced a fabulous new line of bathroom products, gorgeous ecological gels and shampoos, with a novel presentation, to discover which, like the outdoor four poster bed and new lounge area you will just have to book into Bellaugello.