A day in the Life

 

 

 

I have no idea how interesting this will be to anyone besides me, but since I hope to be able to use this blog as a way to remind me of things I might need reminding of sometimes, I wanted to do a post about what a day in the life of a long term tourist in Rome- ie, my life these days- looks like. I read about an artist who does a scrapbook project where she picks a day- just a normal day- and photographs the mundane details of it each year, making a scrapbook about it. She’s been doing it for years now (sorry I can’t remember either where I read about it, who the artist was or what the project was called). And I’ve been thinking about doing a similar thing, but it always seemed like too much trouble, not enough interesting things happened, blah blah blah. Well. Maybe this isn’t interesting, and who knows if I’ll actually look back on it and remember things I otherwise would have forgotten, but here is my version of a scrapbook about what my average day looks like right now. These were taken yesterday, Wednesday, October 30th, 2013.

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So this is breakfast. Toast with Nutella and several cups of tea, eaten at my desk.

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I always walk the same route to get to the Subway because it takes me past Noseface’s porch. Noseface is what I have christened this German Shepard. I don’t know his real name, but Noseface seems, for perhaps obvious reasons, appropriate. Whenever he’s out on the porch, I stop and scratch his ears for a few minutes and it helps with some of the symptoms of my acute lack of dog syndrome.

 

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This is the Metro stop in Piazza Bologna. I take it to get into the center of Rome. The metro ride is hot, muggy, crowded, chaotic and blessedly short.

 

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Today I got off at the Piazza D’Espagna and climbed the steps to enjoy the view and explore the streets around the church at the top of the hill.

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Then I walked over to the Chiesa Santa Maria Sopra Minerva- a beautiful church. One of my favorites for a few reasons, not the least of which is the beautiful sky blue ceiling and the Michael Angelo sculpture at the front.

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Then a quick snack sitting on the church steps, looking at the obelisk and elephant statue in the Piazza out front. There was a guy playing the cello in the square while I ate and it was a beautiful day.

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Then, as I got lost trying to get to where I was trying to go, I stumbled upon the Church of St. Ignazio Loyola. I’ll have more pictures of it in another post- it’s beautiful.

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I wandered past the Temple Adriano, too. Sadly, the facade is all that’s left.

 

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Then I managed to find what I was actually looking for- the Piazza Colonna with this gorgeous, intricately carved column.

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Right next to the Piazza Colonna is the Largo Chigi, with another of Rome’s ancient Egyptian Obelisks and a trail of metal stars on the ground winding around the Obelisk.

 

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Then back to the Metro- entering at Piazza d’Espagna this time.

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And dinner! Since I’m leaving in two days, I’m running a little low on groceries, so my meals for the past few days have been a bit of an odd combo. I ran out of all my veggies except carrots, so I had a little less colorful meal than usual, but oh well. You all know that feeling of trying to eat up all the perishables and resisting going grocery shopping right before going on a trip because you don’t want to waste the food! Yep, that’s where I am! But tomorrow I take the train to Florence, where I’ll be staying until November 25th, so I can stock up on fresh things again then:)

Serendipity and the Art of Getting Lost

First off- I have no sense of direction. Like, none. I once managed to get so completely lost the I lost the Pacific Ocean. Yes, I was using the ocean as a landmark and I still got lost. I can get lost anywhere. With a map or without. So, it’s safe to say that whenever I’m traveling somewhere, I assume I will get lost. And I have gotten lost in Rome. I got lost trying to find the Colosseum. I got lost by the train station on a day when I wasn’t even trying to find the train station. I’m sure when I get to Firenze day after tomorrow I will get lost there too! (Side note: I’m really quite excited to go to Florence! More on that later.)

But is getting lost always a bad thing? I don’t think so. Maybe I’ve just found the silver lining in the fact that I know I will get lost no matter what, but there are also so many things that happen when you get lost that wouldn’t happen if you were following the map, the guidebook the online Yelp reviews exactly. Today I found myself wandering, purposefully lost, on the back streets of Rome between the Pantheon and the Via del Corso. And during those wanderings, I found a beautiful church, an ancient Temple, a carved column, an obelisk, and more piazzas than all the other things combined. Would I have found any of those things had I not gone off the main road and wandered around for a little bit? Likely not. And that’s definitely a benefit.

As a side note- one of the streets I walked down was the Via dei Burro. Donkey Street! I love it:)IMG_0539

This is a close up of the Column in the Piazza Colonna. The photo below if the fountain in the Piazza Colonna.

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Let’s be real here for a moment…

Rome is a city- a dirty city.

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As someone who grew up in the country- or at least in a rural area, more than an urban one- I’m not used to seeing this city grime everywhere. Especially as a Californian, where you can go an entire day without seeing someone smoking, all the cigarette butts all over is shocking. And yes, all those little white flecks in these photos are cigarette butts. Tomorrow I will return to the regularly scheduled program of pictures of pretty things and musings on travel and art and food and history. But the truth is, the pieces of litter and cigarette butts all over probably outnumber old buildings and pieces or art- combined! And that’s including all the museums. Fortunately, the buildings and pieces of art are bigger and more interesting so they’re easier to focus on!

St. Peter’s Basilica

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IMG_0490These are all from St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City. It is so much bigger and grander and more decorated than these snaps show. Also, so much more crowded! Even though it’s almost the end of October, there was still a huge line of people waiting to get in- of course, you have to go through metal detectors to get into the Basilica, which does slow things down. But the wait is worth it. It is stunning. And the Grottoes are beautiful too- they’re free to enter from the Basilica, and did not look like what I expected grottoes to look like. They’re clean white marble too. I was expecting more rustic, damp, cellar-y grottoes, but I guess the Vatican does everything in style!

Ostia Antica

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IMG_0474Ostia Antica is an ancient seaport about one hour outside of Rome (getting there is pretty easy- just a combo metro/suburban train ride and then a short walk) and it’s also a huge site. It’s a lot greener than Pompeii, and also much less crowded. Though I imagine during the summer it would be crowded, and crazy hot! Even today, at the end of October, it was hot and sticky. There isn’t a lot of posted info throughout the site- there are some signs highlighting the biggest buildings, but not much else- so if you do go, and you want to know what each thing is, I suggest you get either a guidebook or a map. You can buy maps at the ticket office, but I decided to wander around without a map:) The ancient city was basically set up just like a grid, so even very directionally challenged me didn’t get lost!

Relics and Holy Shrines

Relics and Holy Shrines

So this is the heart of St. Charles, from the Basilica San Carlo in Rome. I’m not entirely certain what is actually inside of the beautiful hanging container in the shrine, but even so, I find these altars beautiful to look at and certainly a worthy spot to sit and think for a while- about the big questions and the little.

Some pictures from the last week

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This is a view of downtown Napoli from the Piazza Garibaldi just outside of the train station. This doesn’t really show the magnitude of the chaos…

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This is the column in the center of the Piazza Garibaldi

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This is an arch in Napoli…I’m not sure what is for or why or when it was built.

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This is in the Villa Paganini, about 15 minutes from my apartment in Rome. It’s mostly a big, grassy park but it has this at one end- it looks like this was once a fresco or a carving of some kind

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These are both from downtown Roma- this one at the bottom is the facade of the Chuisa Santa Susanna, which is closed for renovation currently so I can’t look inside. But I love the facade!