Andiamo! A trip downtown. Rome, Italy
I'm trying to determine a writing format for this journal.
I apologize in advance that the writing may not be
interesting reading b/c I am doing this partly for my own
records and am painfully specific about directions and
locations of things. I am trying to go over and [ ]
explanations of terms that may be foreign to you the
reader. Also I've been reading "On the Road" and have been
influenced by that stream of consciousness writing.
FEBRUARY 6, 2004
Andiamo! [we go]
Stayed in this weekend and at first I wanted to go out on
my own to run errands. Sleeping in until noon, I caught
Mensa [cafeteria] and was persuaded to go 'downtown' with
Kevin, Lauren, Logan, Brittany and that girl who I can
never remember her name (which is bad b/c I sit next to her
in Italian and spent the whole day with her). Anyway we
caught the 87 via the "goat path" [shortcut to the nearest
bus stop] to catch the metro [subway] at Cipro. This is
close to the Vatican. We were headed to the Aventine hill,
Monte Aventino, which is south of the Coliseum. By taking
the metro and transferring at Termini from Linea A to Linea
B we were taking a very roundabout route, but strangely it
is the quickest way to get around using public
transportation. It is times like this it is annoying to be
in Monte Mario which is clearly peripheral to all the
interesting places in Rome (it's about a 30 minute trip).
So close yet so far away. Whatever, I need to bring a book
and stop whining.
There was an intense argument between two groups of well
dressed Italian men at termini that had to be broken up by
a carabineri. None of us knew enough Italian to understand
what was going on. All I could make out was the Italian
equivalent "shit head" which actually translates more
literally as "made of shit."
Getting off at the "Circo Massimo" metro exit we
surprisingly found ourselves at the Circus Maximus. What
was left of the great Circus, where the Romans had chariot
races and St. Peter was martyred, was a dirt track
surrounded by an incline and some semi-excavated ruins. It
covered an enormous area. I suggested that we have a race
up the steepest incline. Logan, Kevin, and I sprinted up
to the top touched the poll and raced to the bottom. It
was an embarrassing defeat. My corduroys are too tight for
sprints and my shoes had no traction. I also consider
myself more of a distance runner than a sprinter. Kevin
and Logan were neck and neck and Logan ended up victorious
although he almost killed himself on the downhill to get
it. The event was well photographed by the girls.
We were following a hand drawn map by SLA [Student Life
Assistant] Colin. It lead us up Aventine hill, but we
veered off to check out a lookout point. It was in a very
cool park (I had an intense feeling of deja vu, may have
been here in 2000 during the Latin class trip), but the
view was kind of mediocre --there are better spots.
Continuing on we found our destination...a keyhole. It was
amazing. Story has it these monks built a monastery that
was not to be taller in the skyline than St. Peters.
However, they built too high so they made this tribute: a
hole in the gate that gives you this amazing image of the
dome of St. Peters appearing at the end of a tree line.
Going back down the way we stopped in Sta Sabina, a really
interesting little church. I liked the bas relief [2D
sculpture] it had on display in little rollers. This was
all on a road that seemed to have the same name as the
Next by Logan's request we headed south to see St. Paul
Outside the Walls. It is an enormous basilica that rivals
St. Peters in size. It was a long walk but I am glad we
did it instead of taking the metro like I wanted. It took
us about 30 minutes, we headed down Viale Aventino through
Piazza Porta S. Paolo and further down Via Ostinese. I
found this myself with that beautiful, beautiful map that
Aunt MaryAnn gave me :) At this point I took over the
navigation. I wore the metaphorical "pants" in this group.
The basilica was breathtaking, gigantic, full of marble.
Portraits of "all" the popes adorn the nave (I say "all"
b/c it is arguable how many legitimate ones there really
are, it's one of those really boring areas of study --papal
succession). There are 27 more spots for successive popes
and myth has it that the world will end when they run out
of spaces, creeeeepy.
We headed out north from St. Paul's and hopped on the 23
bus to Trastevere to look for a restaurant. We picked a
place that isn't worth mentioning. It ended up being
touristy. I was hoping for authentic Italian food and
instead got mediocre pizza and a German beer called Vost.
Dropped 11 euro there and headed north and across the river
back to Piazza Navona area. Found the Pantheon and lead
everyone to Giolitti's. I got cafe and crema. They
defiantly have the most flavors I have seen in any
It was an unintended but fun outing. The group was a
little bigger than what is practical for wandering around
the city but it ended up OK.
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