No sooner had we arrived than, in the middle of a pizza lunch in a basement place a few streets away, the lights went out. Blew their transformer, thought I. They brought candles and we continued devouring our pizza (mine was arugula and shrimp) because we were starving because the food on the plane was awwwwwful. We finished up and went back to the Hotel Giotto, where we found I was right but I was wrong. It was the transformer, but not the restaurant’s. The entire towns of Assisi and Santa Maria degli Angeli were without power.
The reason and the problem are the same: this is a major-league heat wave, 99F-102F every day. More and more homes and businesses are getting a/c, which no one around here used to have. So the draw on the power grid is more and more enormous on days like this. And of course, it’s on days like this when you care whether or not you have power.
Everywhere was out for a few hours. Then the power slowly started coming back, first in Santa Maria degli Angeli, then up at the top of Assisi, then creeping uphill and creeping downhill toward us. Creep, creep. No power meant no water, either, because the Giotto uses pumps. The hotel staff did a monumental job making and serving dinner by candlelight. We ate on the terrace and watched the lights come back on in this street and that street and the other street… Ours was the last, the very last, and our segment of it was the last segment. Around 11:30 the hotel manager and a lovely young man from the maintenance staff were suddenly knocking on room doors to come in and throw breakers and bring the rooms back on line. The a/c in my room still doesn’t work; I may have to move tomorrow. But water! We have water!
Still, the churches are here, and the streets, and the Umbrian plain. Now that there’s cappuccino in the cafés again, I can deal.