Sitting here putting fingers to keys it gives me time to reflect upon this last few days in one of my favourite cities in the world. Of course I can’t purport to be a hugely experienced world traveler, but I have been lucky enough to see my fair share. This place has a heart. You can feel it beat as you walk about it. It sings to you. Really it does. You just have have to venture out of the tourista zone and you actually do hear dads singing to their kids in the parks. You hear old men singing o’ solo mio. Last night at midnight there were a group of twenty somethings sitting in front of the Pantheon singing to accompany their talented friend on his guitar.
So with those kinds of experiences comes my emotional attachment to this city. I could live here, I really could. Yes, a Coke is 3 euros if you buy one from the sly Bangladeshi store keeper. But if you have your wits about you then you make for the Agora store or the COOP.
Our host Claudio did us a solid on the night we arrived by providing directions to the Agora. Every day we have ended our rounds with a visit to the lady in the bakery / pizzeria. “Ciao Maria, Coai Marco, due pezzi di pizza si prega!” To which Maria always replies Prego Marco.
From there its a 2L of Limone Sanpellegrino and a Sicilian cannoli for afters. Today I added a couple of tomatoes grown on the Amalfi coast and a couple of white peaches. We took this lunch and headed into a nearby neighbourhood piazza and sat down to devour it. Job done & fifteen minutes later it was time to strap on the climbing gear we didn’t have, as to our surprise the route we thought would take us to the river was actually straight up into the woods. Up and up we went for an hour until we reached Piazza Garibaldi. This place is the top of the world as far as Rome goes. We sat on a very comfortable bench overlooking a 180 degree view of everything we had visited in the days previous.
This place really puts the distances we have walked into perspective. We have walked a marathon in the last few days. There are so many benefits to all the walking. You see so much on foot that you would never see in a car. You get to meet and converse with locals (and gypos) you otherwise would just drive by. But the obvious one is if we hadn’t put on these miles the pizza, strombolli and cannoli would have helped to add to the grosso mass I already pack around. Output must always match input my old friend the GP reminds me. This week Dr. Pete would be proud.
We leave Claudio’s AirBnB tomorrow at 9:00 a.m. as we must get back to the airport for a noon departure to the Northeast of England. We are testing the waters with a new (to me) discount airline known as Jet2. My hopes are high that they match the stellar service and comfort that Dale & I had with Easyjet last year.
We have 7 days in old blighty and I prey for Roman weather to be visiting my home town when we arrive. We are picking up a car at the airport thanks to hotwire ($110.00 Cdn for the week). So arivaderci to pomodoro pizza and hello to fish and chips, mushy peas, sticky toffee pudding and real ale. If I do get around to writing tomorrow night it may not make too much sense. I think Gus is looking forward to getting the rounds in.
We will be back in Italy in a week and then it is time to go road tripping. Umbria, Tuscany, Veneto, the Dolomites, and some time in Switzerland and the south of France.
So all the best and I will try tomorrow to separate myself from the Newcastle Brown Ale tap at the Crown Posada pub in Newcastle in time to make some sense (Ne Chance lad!).