A stunningly quiet and tranquil dawn.
I always consider myself fortunate to be living in such a beautiful part of Italy. Birdsong fills the air, there is a light mist hanging in the valley below, spring flowers are in full bloom, blossom fills the garden and oh I nearly forgot to write that our owl has once again returned to nest in the hole in house that has become her home. Debris on the terrace below heralded her return, it is her spring cleaning time, the time she clears out her nest ready for her new chicks.
We too are at the final spring cleaning stages, as we open for the season on 29th of this month and are looking forward to welcoming many guys who have stayed before and to meeting and welcoming many guys who are booked to stay here at Bellaugello Gay Bed and Breakfast for the first time.
The Singles Weekend 4 – 7 April is fully booked, thanks guys for your great response. We have thoughts to organise another in the autumn, keep checking the blog for updates.
Easter is not far away. This year we are breaking with tradition and having lunch here at Bellaugello. We have a great Italian/Scottish menu priced at 30€ guests will all be seated together round one table. We still have availability for the Easter weekend
Our hiking week 3 – 10 May is proving popular, so come on all you energetic guys grab the chance for some great walking in the beautiful Umbrian countryside you are not too late to grab your hiking boots and book a suite.
The summer months are already very busy some suites booked right through, for you late bookers we still do have some availability so it is still very much worth giving us a call or sending an email and booking to spend your summer holiday here at Bellaugello Gay Guest House.
Travel to Bellaugello is easy through Florence, Ancona, Rome or Perugia airports. Car hire available at each airport, or we can organise a chauffeur driven transfer to bring you direct to the resort. And for those looking to complete indulgence we even offer to do an initial shop for you, and place a hamper of groceries in your suite awaiting your arrival.
For those of you that want to really indulge your husband or boyfriend we have a great sparking rosé wine, a box of chocolates and a bouquet of red roses we can place in your suite. Check the boxes on our booking form on the website, we are always delighted to personalise your stay with us.
And for those of you looking for complete relaxation we have engaged the services of Massimiliano a fully qualified physiotherapist, with a masters qualification in muscular and skeletal disorder treatments, he is a super masseur and will be available on Saturday afternoons for massages and to treat any aching backs or joints.
I am so looking forward to welcoming friends old and new to this delightful corner of Umbria, Italy.
The saga of the roads here continues…
Something in me does not want to write about he subject, so angry and disillusioned I have I become. Last week a neighbor called in distress, the road leading to his house and thence on to a further thirty people had fallen into the field below. It was as if somebody had sliced the road like a cake and tipped the lower part into the field below.
He called the comune who sent an engineer, who then called one of e neighbours affected by the landslide and who just happens to own an excavator to come and tidy up the road. Then the comune came with a lorry and poured a one of dirt in the middle of the road, put up two signs stating th road had collapsed and now traffic has less than half the rad to pass by on. Alarmingly the remaining part of the road is cracking and looks suspiciously unstable.
Yet another letter was written and signatures taken this time to the Procura di Perugia, one level higher explaining the inherent danger.
Meanwhile on the other side of the valley the road has exploded! With all the rain and lack of maintenance water has got under the surface of the road, and sought the easy way out, the centre of the road and burst forth..
it is not clever….
We are still awaiting a reply from the Commissario to whom we addressed our petition, and in e meantime a neighbour of mine traveling home after work the other evening came to the blown section of road to find the grandson of one of our neighbours out with a shovel trying to flatten the exploded road and fill the holes. When my neighbour stopped the car to ask what the young lad was doing, he is only about fifteen years old, he replied,”well the comune are doing nothing, we cannot pass so I thought to help”. How public spirited of him, I applaud his efforts, but at the same time am horrified that the comune have got us to the stage where a fifteen year old is in a country lane at dusk trying to fill the holes in the road. È davvero vergonoso!
Last night another meeting, telephone calls and a decision to return once again to the comune to demand action. We were three this morning at the office in Gubbio, all neighbours from the valley, all from different backgrounds but with a common aim. 10 am the office opens, it is only open to the public on Tuesday and Thursday morning (10-13) and Lo and behold! There was nobody there….
A young girl in charge of maintaining street lighting in the 700km of roads in the comune of Gubbio was fielding calls. Eventually she was freed up and tried to explain the situation. She could not help us, we needed to speak the of two directors but both were out of the office. We could not help but overhear here conversation and subsequent explanation to us of the situation. She has a team of two electricians, they alone are responsible for maintaining all the street lighting throughout the comune area. She received a budget of 22,000€ last year for all equipment, cables, bulbs, street lights etc……. no wonder nothing works
We have to go back this afternoon to meet one of the directors who should be in the office, it is so lucky I don’t have anything else to do but chase after council officials. And don’t let him dare say “we don’t have any money”
Word on the grapevine is that the Commissario will not reply to our petition as she has only another two months in post and”what is the point of doing anything”
The sun has returned, and it is warm here in Umbria. This morning I awoke at Bellaugello Gay Guest House and really surprisingly there was frost on the ground, the first frost of this winter. Why oh why does it have to be frosty the morning after I cut and fertilised the lawns? Last week continual rain and warmth mean the the lawns were looking bedraggled to say the least, and it was clearly time to give them a trim. Unashamedly early in February, but necessary. So out with the big red cutting machine and up and down up and down, the result pleasing. Then a bucket full of fertilizer and handfuls strewn on the cut grass, This morning frost.
So anyway frost or no frost, I had to be in Perugia this morning, off I trotted by the time I left Bellaugello it was bright sunlight, clear air, freshly washed countryside, so sunglasses necessary the car temperature gauge registering 20˚c.
Down to the agricultural merchants for their great fertiliser and a bag of lawn seed. It is my annual pilgrimage for the bags of lawn treatment, why change a successful regime. Next door under the same ownership as the merchants there is a garden centre, a stroll through the depleted shelves thinking I might find some bargains and especially some nice roses, and a couple of hydrangeas, but no, the roses were all tired and sad, left over from last year, unwatered,unkempt and unloved, and the hydrangeas tiny and exorbitant. I checked the labels of the plants, stalks cut well down, ‘likes sun or partial sun, do not prune’. Haha! They will be ideal I have a friend with a shady space between two buildings and he has filled it with huge terracotta pots planted with large hydrangeas, an effect owing to our south facing aspect, I cannot re-create here at Bellaugello. However I want them for the bed outside the terrace of the Specchio Suite, although it too faces west and south it is shaded by a hedge and the roses I planted do not like the soil, so I thought to plant Hydrangeas, a big boosomy queenly flower, but they will not be coming from this garden centre.
I came away with a bird box. the softie in me loves the wild birds in the garden, from the smallest to the largest, yes, the owls are calling already. As guests will remember Jenny is intrigued by the pair of blue tits that nest in the cherry tree by the main terrace, and their nest is in a particularly vulnerable place, so having spied a bird nesting box, I just had to have it. I hope that a pair of birds use it to make their home there instead of the kamikaze cherry tree, or if not another pair make use of it. There is already a pair of blue tits nesting in the beam above the entrance to one of the Suites, I see them darting out from under the eaves, joy to early spring days.
Next stop the huge pet store for dog food, then a small store for Alec food, and back up the hill to Bellaugello. Ambling along I noticed the farmers out pruning their olive trees and also their vines. Near Perugia they are in the Tiber valley and they are lower in altitude than we are here in Valdichiascio, so maybe they start the vines earlier. I have already been pruning olive trees, discovering new ones in the jungle and hedgerows, the mild weather meant that I could prune with impunity… like those words together! but I have not got into the vineyard. I decided to return to the olive trees, a bit hesitantly as there might again be frost again tonight. I have a couple of large limbs that I want to take down with the chainsaw, I thought best not to, as the frost if it happens will not help the plants, so instead just a gentle prune of small branches and deadwood and I am wishing for no frost tonight.
Jenny kept me company in the Apetto, she has become a real farm dog. Every time she sees the tools heading Apetto way she is there and first into the cab. I am still mildly surprised that my day involves decisions on pruning grape vines or olive trees. Several years ago in Scotland if somebody had bet me that I would have such decisions to make I would have had them certified. However I am glad I do, being so close to the land here is a very important part of my life and running Bellaugello.
I am delighted to announce our first Guided Hiking and Walking Week based at Bellaugello Gay Guest House this May.
We have a full programme of hiking from the very challenging to the soft, including Monte Cucco, Pascelupo, Valdichiascio and Valnerina. We have engaged the services of two professional￼ guides, Mirko, speaking Italian and English is a qualified high mountain guide living in Scheggia in the Monte Cucco Regional park, the trails are send nature to him. Our second guide is Mauro, a passionate hillwalker, photographer, naturalist and fly fishing instructor – who knows you might also be catching your lunch!
Wonderful walking, the services of professional guides, dinners catered at Bellaugello, packed lunches, and even a mountaintop BBQ, services of a masseur, the wood-fired Sauna and great hospitality
Price for the week package €895.00 per person
For information pack and to reserve your space complete the form below:
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As a follow up from my post about Perugia St. Francis of Assisi Airport, thanks to a comment received I am delighted to report that from GERMANY getting to Bellaugello Gay Guest House will soon be even easier with
direct flights from three German cities
through GERMAN WINGS
BERLIN – ANCONA route starts Saturday 12th. April 2014
DUSSELDORF – ANCONA route starts Saturday 12th. April 2014
HAMBURG – ANCONA route starts Saturday 7th. June 2014
Ancona airport is situated in Le Marche and a scenic 1 1/2 hour drive to Bellaugello Gay Resort
A night of rain drumming on the coppi, those enigmatic terracotta tiles that make the roofs of our houses here in Umbria. Constant, repetitive, un-ceasing, rain tapping, clattering, pattering on the roof of Bellaugello Gay Guest House meant that I awoke – did I really sleep much? I dunno, anyway I got out of bed to a very soggy world
The river Chiascio in the valley below the house was running a creamy toffee colour, full from bank to bank, carving away yet more of those flat alluvial fields that form it’s margins
So, yes it was to be a morning of drain cleaning, no not sewers, but roadside ditches and drains. On with the wet weather gear, stout boots and out with the Ape, and trundle along the road which had suffered badly from the deluge
Having cleared most of the channels and encouraged the water or run along the side of the road, not over the top washing the surface away, I set off out of curiosity to see how the landslide beyond the house was, whether the rain had made the lower road once again totally impassable. Fifty meters beyond Bellaugello, changing gear, the clutch cable broke, the handle flapping limply like a broken tree branch in the wind. No gears, no forwards, no backwards… No option but to get put and push! Luckily an Apetto is light and I am strong, so now it sits, forlorn, waiting a bit of sun for me to get underneath and replace the cable. As a contadino I discover there is always some little job to do and a new skill to learn.
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.