Day 7 (February 11th)

Once again we had to wait for Miwa to get up.  I hope this isn’t an early indication of her teenage habits.  On the other hand, it is nice to have her sleep 8 to 10 hours at a stretch.

Jill, Miwa and I slipped out of the house around 9, leaving Mitzi snoring softly in her loft.  We went to the café where we have been updating our blog from and did the daily e-mail check and blog update while downing two cappuccinos each.  I can’t believe it took us 4 days to find the place.  It’s about a 3-minute walk from the apartment.  Our initial posts were made from an Internet Hotpoint (just a room with computers in it) where you had to rent time on a computer, so we had to put everything on a memory stick and try to read the Italian menus on the rented computers.  The café is a much better option.  I think if we were here long enough, we would find everything we need or want within a 5-minute walk.  For example, the hardware store 4 minutes down the road actually had the gasket for the coffee maker I toasted and it only cost 0.50 Euros!

On our way to the sights of the day, we got a free show of the famed Roman traffic.  A full size delivery van was attempting to navigate down a very narrow road with cars parked (illegally I suspect) on both sides of the road.  They had reached a point where the road was simply too narrow, but of course there was now a line of cars behind them, waiting somewhat less than patiently.  I pulled out the video camera and started filming.  I particularly enjoyed the running commentary by the storeowner whose shop we had happened to duck into.  At one point she says, “It’s a tragedy, this happens every day.”

Our destination for the day was the palatine hill, roman forum and colosseum.  Very impressive, but I also found it very sad.  What must it be like to live in a city whose political, economic, cultural and architectural peak was 1900 years ago?  Kind of depressing to look around and think that pretty much every thing built since then is less impressive and far less important.  No less sad, I suppose, than living in Canada and realizing that there are not many buildings that would be standing in 15 years if abandoned today, never mind 1500 years or more.

It was impossible to see where the original contours of the hill had been; every square inch had been covered and re-covered over the millennia.  Maybe it is best to build with wood so that subsequent generations are not forced to live with our remnants.

After the forum we went to the Capitolini museum at the Campidoglio.  The approach steps and piazza were designed by Michelangelo.  Personally, I wouldn’t admit to designing those steps, they were on an angle, and the risers were very small.  All in all, very awkward to climb, and I was very worried about Mitzi’s breathing as she neared the top.  I was so concerned that I pulled out the video camera and filmed her.

We will post the video later.

The museums were once again full of stunning artifacts, but by this point we had all seen so many superlative artworks and relics, that it was all kind of a blur.  Miwa enjoyed making loud noises in large quiet spaces again.

On the way back we accidentally wandered through the Jewish Ghetto.  It made us realize that 1-week is nowhere near long enough to see all of Rome.  We didn’t even make all of the major sites!  Oh well, I guess we will have to come back.

We dined in this evening.  Pasta, pesto and sausage from the Despar.  Delicious once again.  The wine for the evening was a Pinot di Pinot a vino Spumante Brut.  I picked it out because the display said it was Pinot Gancia and I thought it might be a pinot Gris.  Of course I hadn’t really thought about it because Italian for Pinot Gris is Pinot Grigio.  It turns out Gancia is the name of the winery.  It was a fine wine, certainly worth the 4.90 Euros I paid.

Tomorrow we head out to the airport to get our car and head for Tuscany.  I’m sure there will be tales of near misses and insane behavior on the road.  It may, however, take a few days to find an Internet café in Greve, so be patient.

Mitzi’s interesting tidbit for the day was a small shop near our apartment that takes Obi from Kimono and remakes them into contemporary clothing.  She wouldn’t let me finish the post without including it.

Jill says breast-feeding in public places is nerve wracking.  Considering how excited everyone is about babies, it’s odd that it is so difficult to breast feed in public. There were special rooms in the Vatican and Jill had to use the toilet room at one restaurant.


P.S Update from morning posting:  it is currently snowing!  Now the drive will really be interesting!


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