roma: the eternal city

9/9/09

we arrived around 7:30am wednesday morning, “bright-eyed and bushy tailed…” or not. i was the only one who got any sleep on the flight over (thanks to the xanax and red wine.)

after passport regulation and customs, mom had to smoke, of course. luckily we ran into a private shuttle driver who offered to take us to our apartment for 2-3€ more than what the train would cost. this was very convenient because he had a cell phone with which he could call massimo, our apartment owner, and let him know our arrival time. he also provided us with a little bit of commentary and tips on rome along the way.

the apartment owners barely spoke english, but massimo spoke french so that was helpful. he stressed the importance of the “hydrollic problem” many times in broken english and then again in french. i guess he saw 5 women – three of which had large suitcases – and was immediately concerned about the amount of water that might be used. as it turned out we had no issues with the water pressure, but instead with the temperature, which was cold enough to freeze the balls on a brass monkey. i somehow got lucky and took showers at times when there actually was hot water, but only long enough to take a 2 minute shower with the following routine: wet hair, turn water off, apply shampoo, turn water on to wash out then turn back off, apply conditioner and wash body, turn water on to rinse off, end of shower.

by the time we got situated mom was already passed out on one of the beds, snoring louder than ever! joann, gaylyn, and i walked to the church across the street from our place, which was only the first of many. santa maria maggiore retains some of rome’s best-surviving mosaics along the nave. after our self-guided tour we checked out the TI and surrounding cafes/ristorantes for future reference.

returning home we found judy still passed out, but decided we needed to wake her so that we could start our day. it was almost noon and we were starving so we stopped for lunch of real italian pizza. our server, a little old roman man, barely spoke english, but he loved us and asked me to “come back tomorrow.” we went back that evening for coffee! (and then again thursday night for pastries, but he wasn’t there.)

after lunch we hopped on the metro to the colosseum. bam! it was right there as we exited the station. it really looked fake. i honestly can’t imagine having that as part of my daily life. we entered and walked around the inside for a bit, stopping to rest on some fallen pillars and lean against the railing. barely passing the arch of constantine, the group was already exhausted, which resulted in the loss of touring the forum and capitol hill. it was disappointing, but i tried to hold the mindset that i can always return.

back at home i napped for a couple hours before a light dinner – eggplant pannini. we made a stop at the grocery store where i bought a bottle of wine, two yogurts and two apples for just under 5€!

i was too tired to write so i just went to bed after my “hot-and-then-cold” shower. gotta love these old european amenities!

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