When in Rome, September 12, 2013


When in Rome, accept the fact that the Internet is going to be on a
Roman Holiday (whatever that means), and not cooperating. For the last
couple of days, our apartment connection has been going downhill,
until this evening, it is one notch above primitive. I’m hoping this
will get out, but probably without photos.

Today was our day to wander about under blue skies, with a pleasant
breeze. We started the day with coffees at the bar down the street;
the barista, a silver-haired man seems quite taken with Anthea’s blue
hair (and smile). Jim. Anthea, and I got to the turtle fountain, the
big market, Campo de Fiori, and our first subway ride — very like
most other subway rides, crowded and hot. We met Regina at the train
station, and found a gelato place (I Caruso near the Borghese Gardens)
that she had read about.

By the end of the last bites of gelato it was near 4:00 p.m. Jim was
feeling like he was catching a cold, Regina was jet-lagged and
carrying her luggage, Anthea’s feet hurt, and I was hungry. We called
a cab. Anthea sat in front and deemed it a “close to heaven”
experience, as in “Will we live?” We sat in the back, and observed how
deftly the inch between the bus and the cab was negotiated by all
parties, how the breath of air between our bumper and that of the cute
little car in front of us spelled salvation, how the paint of the van
pulling in front of us was pleasantly marked with microscopic
variations. Regina was asleep, and Jim was saying how he would never
drive in Rome. I was thinking how much better this was, despite the
extra cost, than trying to figure out the buses to our place, how to
get to them, how to negotiate the afternoon crowds with sore feet and
the extra bags. Having witnessed for four days now the remarkable ways
in which everyone manages to survive the Rome streets, I had faith
that we too would reach Viale Glorioso unscathed. And we did.

Our landlady made reservations for us for a “Roman family” dinner in
the neighborhood. Regina, Anthea and I went and enjoyed roasted
vegetables almost afloat in olive oil, and classic pasta dishes — con
funghi (with mushrooms), arriabata (spicy tomato), and standard
spaghetti with tomato sauce. Then we indulged in the local (best so
far, in terms of price and taste) Fata Morgana gelato. It’s all
organic, one euro a scoop (compared to two or two-fifty most places),
and the flavors vary from day to day.

Looks like we will go to the Vatican Museum and St. Peter’s tomorrow
— Anthea’s request, and the only day available at this point for the
venture. Then we’ll meet Peg and Tom at the train station, and later
meet Joe and Jen (their oldest, and his wife) for dinner.

Photos tomorrow we hope, if we can figure out the Internet connections.

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