Last weekend at Bellaugello was a real delight.  For the first time at Easter all our guests at Bellaugello Gay Guest House were Italian so I had to switch my brain permanently out of English into Italian, always good.

The weekend kicked off with the “Processione di Cristo Morto” in Gubbio our local town.  This was the subject of my last post, if you have not seen it then check the video it is mesmerising.  On Saturday the guys headed into the sauna to sweat away their cares and then we dined together, seated in front of the roaring fire around our antique family table, rounding off the meal with some of my home-made limoncello and a raucous conversation.  On Sunday the breakfast table as well as the usual home made breads, cakes, yoghurts and jams was filled with local specialities, prosciutto and affettati, the rich Crescia di Pasqua, a delicious risen cheese loaf, speciality of the region and of course there was also sweet cake and hard boiled eggs to decorate and eat, plenty of caffè and mysteriously arrived easter bunnies and chocolate.

Then, late morning, as tradition dictates we headed off across our beautiful sun drenched valley to lunch with friends on their organic farm.  My friends host a fun lunch with egg rolling, the object apparently depending on whether or not you wish to get married or pregnant, being to smash or not smash your egg.  I never quite remember whether to find love the egg must remain whole or not, so one year I pitch it low and it stays intact, another I toss high and it breaks, but for me every year ‘rien ça change’!

Lunch was as ever magnificent.  The family cook and guests bring food from their homes to share with fellow guests.  One of Bellaugello’s guests brought the most delicious ‘arancini’ from Rome.   On Saturday when he arrived at Bellaugello they were still warm and so so fragrant.  Quickly re-heated on Sunday they were much appreciated by all.  For me you can keep your smart hotels, mega-yachts and pretensions.  Being able to share with my guests occasions such as this lunch in the dappled shade of the Mulberry tree with warm welcoming, generous, caring hosts, who cook and host with love, always welcoming strangers into their home with open arms is really special, something no amount of money can buy.   It is a really relaxing and convivial occasion, together with a delightful group of people from many countries, my guests from Bellaugello are made to feel welcome, and an integral part of the occasion.  In today’s hectic and suspicious life that is, I suggest rare, and for me, one of the greatest benefits and joys of living in this quiet untroubled corner of Europe.

On Tuesday the weather turned and long awaited rain was delivered.  The rain was hard and driving, the wind turned north easterly and for a while the temperature dropped dramatically. I awoke on Wednesday to snow on the Apennines, quite a shock not only to me but to the tender shoots springing up madly in gardens and fields here.

By the afternoon the sun had returned, bringing with it real warmth and I spent a delicious time cutting the lawns and tidying around the garden.  Tonight is forecast to be cold, I know there will be many a farmer walking well before dawn and heading down to their vineyard to light small fires to keep the chill away from the setting fruit, it’s the way they have always protected their vines.  I myself, viziato, will still be tucked up warm and cozy in bed!

This weekend there is a wine festival in Città di Castello, a historic town a bit further up the Tiber valley.  We plan to head there and sample the array of wines from young and innovative producers from all over Umbria.  Please someone call me a taxi!

Telephone call, with-held number, but I decide to answer it, after all it is Sunday and the telesales bores tend to not work today.  The conversation went thus (slightly abbreviated):

Caller (C):  Hi is that Bellaugello.

Me (B):  Yes, Bellaugello Gay Guest House.

C: Pronto pronto mi senti?  I can’t hear you very well I will call you on Skype.

B: Perfect, I wait to hear from you on Skype.

Now type chat;

C:  My partner and I will be celebrating 15 years together this summer and I am thinking of treating him to a stay with you.  Before booking I have a few questions to ask…

B: Sure ask away.

C: Have you chosen your staff for this summer?

B: (thinking odd first question, actually odd question to ask at all) Yes.

C: Are they well hung?

B: (slightly bored, knowing what is coming, tongue in cheek so time worn reply) They are hung like elephants. (thinking ‘it’s a prerequisite of the job, make all the guests feel very inadequate zzzzz.)

C: and will they be up to having a bit of fun with us?

B: (getting disinterested and feeling I should be more professional) hahaha…  Bellaugello is not a bordello it is a luxury agriturismo, we require a high degree of professionalism from our team, and job interviews are always held with the candidate fully clothed.

C: What a bore.  I want to gift a ‘special’ massage to my husband.

B: Are you by any chance referring to a ‘happy ending’?

C: An intimate massage

B: (bored again now being a bit wicked) Are you expecting the masseur to be naked?

C: Ok I supposed we will accept a ‘normal’ massage but hope the masseur will be naked.

B: And if it is a pre-requisite for Bellaugello to ask anyone wishing to stay to submit a full frontal photo of themselves naked, (At times like these I seriously think of adding this requirement to the booking process 😉 ) would you feel this was a  reasonable question for a hotel director to ask?

Huge smile on my face now waiting to receivethe next message continuing the subject… Buona domenica a tutti!

 

Still some time away but as I walk round the garden and see the daffodils, primroses and violets my thoughts turn to Easter.

This year Easter is very early and we are opening the doors to Bellaugello on 24th March.

On Friday 25th enjoy tea and home made cake in front of the fire before heading off to see the mystical ‘Processione di Cristo Morto’ in our local town of Gubbio.  This very ancient procession starts in the early evening, fires lit in the piazzas, chanting, candles DSCN3759.JPGand medieval costumes, we always head into town to watch and I book a table for guests in a local restaurant, the procession continues through the evening:

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On Saturday we will be cooking dinner at Bellaugello, time to enjoy local food and meet your fellow guests.

Easter Sunday here at Bellaugello has become something of a ritual, we are always invited by neighbouring farmers in the valley to join them in their lunchtime party on their organic farm.  After breakfast when you have painted your egg, we head off across the valley for a very informal but utterly delicious lunch, we roll our eggs and eat astonishingly well.  My neighbours make no charge for their hospitality we only ask that you bring some food from your home country to share with fellow guests, the lunch is truly international.

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Of course throughout the weekend the sauna at Bellaugello will be operational.

No surcharge for the weekend, just please remember to bring some specialities from your home country.

Booking now just a click away!

For some reason today was somewhat emotional.   Maybe it was the call from my ex, maybe it was so many other things going on in my head, or maybe it was just that this morning I was woken up at six o’clock and seeing the sky was red, a glorious resplendent sunrise, I had to go down with the dogs to the infinity pool and take photographs.  Now in the quiet of the night as I sit out on my terrace the owls are calling to each other, the crickets humming and the only other sound is that of the river Chiascio down deep in the valley below Bellaugello Gay Guest House, it is peace, a contented peace.

Bobby surveying the sunrise over the infinity pool at Bellaugello Gay Guest House in Umbria, Italy

It has been a long day, I worked hard, and am pleased.  Tonight we hosted dinner on the terrace for a large group of people from our local town of Gubbio.  They had heard about Bellaugello, and were keen to come over for dinner.   Monica and I decided to offer them a menu of typical Bellaugello dishes, our produce, and our recipes, they went down very well.  The guests chose to eat outdoors and were granted a glorious warm evening, the stars twinkling above.  Conversation flowed, until the dishes were brought out, then silence, only contented eating.  Afterwards many thanks to Monica for the great dinner.

I am delighted to have hosted this evening, to have some of the local people experience just what delights Bellaugello has to offer, also to be able to sit and chat with them and host them here.  It may well be the first of many such events over the coming months.

A halcyon day at Bellaugello Gay Guest House, sun shining, guys relaxing around the infinity pool, sunshine, light breeze, all good with the world.  Indeed when planning last night’s dinner we had thought to serve it outside on the terrace under the stars, that is our preferred way at Bellaugello.

However at five o’clock the storm clouds rolled in.  Bellaugello Gay Bed and Breakfast looks south a commanding position over the Chiascio valley towards Monte Subasio, the hill behind Assisi, and we get good notice of the approaching storms as they roll up the valley.

Two guests leaning against the railings on the upper terrace soon began to enact that famous scene from the movie ‘Titanic’ as Leo holds Kate and the wind ruffles their hair, the gentle breeze strengthening and the dark clouds approaching.  Then the skies opened, rain, lots of it, thunder, lightning, and hailstones – yes! hailstones.  The electricity flicked off, then on, the rain continued.

Dinner laid up in the dining room luckily I had made bread earlier and most of the meal was to be cooked stove top as the power went off…  Mad rush round the electric boards in torrential rain, no, it was not us, there was no current coming into the main supply, obviously an overhead cable had been hit.  Back to the kitchen soaking wet, a few candles guttering together with the emergency power fail light giving scant light to the cooking surface..Cooking by candle light at Bellaugello in Umbria

A tour round the suites, guys making the most of the power-cut 😉 and all ok.  Back to the kitchen, and dining room to light lots of candles, then quick dash upstairs to change into some dry clothes and down for aperitivo by candle-light.

Storm clouds in Umbria, italy as seen from Bellaugello Gay HotelAnd then as the storm rode to the Apennines, the most amazing beetroot coloured clouds,Thunder and lightning over the Apennines seen from Bellaugello luxury gay resorthuge flash of lightning seen from Bellaugello luxury gay hotel in umbria, italybeetroot storm clouds seen from Bellaugello Gay bed and breakfast luxury house rental in Umbria  A full house, great guys, all entering into the spirit of the evening.  An ‘amuse bouche’ of cappelacci stuffed with mozzarella di bufala and baby tomatoes served by guttering candles then by the time we were serving the black lentil salad from Viterbo the power was restored and stayed on for the reminder of the evening.  Where the rain had stopped the wine and conversation flowed, it was a most convivial of evenings, guys from all over the world, huge fun, swapping stories, relating tales, and generally having a great time.  We rounded off the evening with a glass of my home-made Limoncello…

This morning, peace, sunshine, mist lingering below in the valley,  Bellaugello back to normal,

Peace, perfect peace, Bellaugello Gay Guest House in Umbria, Italy revels in the early sunshine

It is as if last night did not happen!