Yesterday, we entered the cathedral for free. The black and white marble inlaid floor was covered and the church was filled with flags of the contradas. The Cathedral was open to all because of the Palio. Today we paid cash to get inside again the floors were exposed and the flags were removed. The church, both days, was packed with a few hundred people but there was still space for everyone because it is so massive. It truly is an incredible interior and we managed to catch a few Michelangelo sculptures.
It all started with a make-shift clothes line out the window and laundry in the bathroom sink; creating a laundry view that rivals Corniglia! For the rest of the day we Sunday-strolled over every inch of Siena. We travelled to parts of Siena unknown to most. We found the Luca Signorelli frescoes in Sant’ Agostino that were partially clad in wood that was supporting the ceiling. They and the church, are in rough shape, but we were happy to find them because we saw Luca’s work in the Orvieto Cathedral and wanted to see what he had done in Siena. The Agostino church is located beside the University of Siena which is perched high on one of the hills giving us a beautiful view of the town while the clouds teased us with perfection.
We also marvelled, for great lengths of time, at the Allegory of the Good Government of Siena frescoes by Lorenzetti (1337-1343) in the Hall of Peace in Palazzo Pubblico.
It is Sunday afternoon and is seemingly quiet in our contrada. The sun is shining and the view out our afternoon window is absolutely stunning. ~sigh~
The highest spot in the square was calling to us by 2:40 in the afternoon even though the race didn't start until 7:00. We stood and sat and stood and sat and people watched for four and a half hours all the time fighting off people who were trying to take our spot. We stood beside a family of three from Paris who helped build a body shied to defend our area because we had the prime (unpaid) viewing location in front of the fountain. Britt and I had bought scarves to support our chosen horses and proudly wore them around our necks revelling in the colours as they glistened in the sun. Britt wore hers as a sling for a while! The parade started at 4:50 and dragged on and on until 7:00. Children were crying from the shear boredom of standing in the crowd. People were everywhere, crunched up side by side, hips and knees touching strangers who were smoking cigars and drinking beer. Thousands and thousands of the people were in the square (30,000). The canon thundered and the horses took to their heels (Do horses have heels?) They were off… running wildly, the crowd was screaming and spinning in a circle facing the same direction at the same time. Within seconds, cheers echoed from the crowd and people started running and pushing. Apparently, the race was over and someone had won!
We had fun. On our left were folks from Sydney Australia and to our right our Paris buddies. A lot of English was spoken in the crowd, which means that every tourist, including us, who is in Italy today, was in the crowd! We enjoyed ourselves but don't think we will be returning for a long, long time!
Brittany took the sunflower photos as we drove on Hwy 2 through fields of sunflowers from Orvieto to Siena. We stopped the car to get out for the shots at a spot where another car was parked at the side of the road. We spotted an older man (older than me - I could tell by his completely grey hair and weathered face) standing in the fields taking photos. As he came to the road to get to his car to leave, we started to chat; he in Italian and I in English. We agreed that the fields of yellow were beautiful against the blueness of the sky, that the lighting was perfect and what a marvellous view it was. We said our goodbyes and he headed to his car. I was still standing admiring the view and watching Britt take photos when he came back to me, asked my name, reached toward me and gave me a book as a gift. Photos of Tuscany. It is a beautiful.
We are in Siena.
We muscled our way into yet another Catholic parade… People, flags, colourful outfits, leprechaun shoes, hats and a big Mary thing that I am sure is made out of paper maché and the guys carrying it just moan and sigh to make it sound heavy! Italian prayers and chanting blew out from the loud speakers across the whole town. It all started down at the lower end of town and marched up and into the Cathedral, and so did we. Yep, right to the front seat in the church. It was a photographer’s free-for-all. All the tourists, including us, who were yelled at yesterday for taking photos in the church were wide open! Shutter sounds were bouncing off every inch of that interior! The side chapel gates were slowly pushed open by insecure tourists sneaking shots before someone came over to throw them out, but by the time we were out of the chapel the gate was wide open and a dozen people were inside stealing photos from the pope!
From there we headed to Piazza del Popolo for the Under 35 Folk Festival. I thought it would be a Gordon Lightfoot approach to music for the night, topped off by Canadian Railroad Trilogy or the Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald, but No, this was real folk. People were dressed in wildly coloured outfits, sporting accordions, dulcimers, violins and flutes. Dancers appeared from all corners of the square and centred themselves on a make-shift wooden dance floor set in the middle of the square. Maypoles with dancers spinning on their heads, women being thrown high into the air, guys in really tight tights and a plethora of sailors danced quickly, fluidly and accurately inches from our eyes for 45 minutes straight! Colour and music quickly morphed rapidly into a single, incredible, theatrical production that had us smiling with disbelief. The audience was clapping with the music, filming it all, and being purely entertained by astounding dancers and musicians. The children in the audience were sparkling with delight and energy. It was wild, fun and truly unbelievable!
~Whewww~ what a day!
One elevator and one hundred seventy three shiny, wooden, never ending find-me-a-spot-to-sit-down-soon-stairs, took us to the top of Torre del Moro for a spectacular 360 degree view of Orvieto. We were up-top long enough for the huge bells on the top of the tower to ring in our ears very loudly twice, which added nicely to the moderately dizzy space in my head from the zillion turns I made to climb up the steps! (See photo below) Enough whining... the view was great. If I knew what I was looking at, or which way I was facing, I could tell you that I saw across the horizon to Monteleone, the town of my grandfather's home.
We stood on the steps of the Cathedral for the afternoon studying the facade and bas reliefs; up close, reading about each panel. Britt is learning lots of new architectural and biblical words. At this point, we are sitting in the hotel room relaxing, I with a glass of wine, waiting for the folk festival to start in Piazza del Popolo!
It was a little gloomy outside this morning which presented beautiful storm clouds and sporadic rays of sunshine. We took ourselves out of the rain and deep into the 1527 Well of St. Patrick. We carefully stepped the 248 steps down and then back up the 248 double-helix donkey steps. It was dark and gloomy and a lot of fun and Britt was reluctant to stick her head out at the top and look down, so the photo above is a rare and special event. (It's a good thing I didn't record any audio or you would hear her screaming!) ... okay.. rain is over now... we are heading over to Torre del Moro!
Neither of us knows exactly what to say about today; it is all too amazing.
We left Rome dragging behind us, down the street, over curbs, past the vendors and beggars, and through the Metro line, Wilson, in a box. Wilson is heavier in a box. We made it to the car and ring roaded out of Rome. All of a sudden we were in the ancient city of Sutri at the amphitheatre. Built in the Roman period and waiting for us today; it was delightful to explore.
We wove our way through tiny towns on SS4 to Orvieto. The best thing that happened today was to see the way Britt’s jaw dropped when we made the left turn around the buildings and the Orvieto Cathedral, instantly and without notice, filled our entire vision. Massive and ornate, right in front of us; imposingly. Britt has never seen anything like this ever before. We stopped the car in the middle of the main square.
Wilson is still in the box!
You might think that today’s blog title might be “Little Debbie’s Birthday” or “Roaming around Rome One More Time” but no, it is what it is because Britt and I are in Rome and have been completely welcomed at La Casa di Amy. The people that run this B&B are so incredibly wonderful that it is worth sharing the information! They originally didn't have a room available for us but kept us on a waiting list so if there was a cancellation they would let me know; and they did; and we’re here, and everything is absolutely perfect in the room! They are welcoming, helpful, friendly, speak English and the wireless internet connection is great! Once you buy the coming soon iPad Rome Tour apps, and you are coming to Rome to follow the tour , stay at this B&B; it is a great starting point for both iPad apps. It is also close to the train station and has great restaurants right outside the door. This is where I stayed for the 11 days when I was taking all the iPad application photos of Rome, and this is where Mary Redekop stays when she is in Rome. It is easy here and very comfortable. And when you want to look at something beautiful while you rest, just walk down the street to the Basilica di Santa Prassede or Santa Pudenziana and enjoy the incredible mosaics.
In the meantime, Britt and I parked the car near the Metro station at Colli Albani and took the subway into Rome. Once again, we are exhausted because of all the sites we have been to today and guess what… we’re going out tonight too!
Thank you for all the birthday wishes, cards, cash, weather ponchos, twizzlers and little Canadian tennis socks. I will be wearing the poncho and socks tonight, with my sandals, as we watch the sunset over the Coliseum. ha! ~not~
Britt saw her first ever Caravaggio's today in Santa Maria del Popolo!
Exploring the culture and devastation of Herculaneum was an incredible experience for both of us. It is an extremely well-preserved site which allowed us to get a "real-feel" for the town. The heat of the day was also very real peaking at 39 degrees.
You will see that Naples and Pizza are listed on the Itinerary... well that all changed once we actually drove the car in the city of Naples. Horror over Horror. Cars everywhere, maniac drivers honking and squealing, traffic jams, people wandering in front of the car, beggars knocking on the car windows, and we were only just off the highway not even into the old part of town! We turned the car around as soon as we could and got out of town! Instead of Naples Pizza, we celebrated lunch in a quiet little town called Gaeta, on the coast.
We are exhausted tonight and are now tucked into a country hotel room at Villa Verdiana in Nettuno just 30 minutes from Rome. We head to Rome in the morning.
Stuck in a sweltering cabin with no internet, between olive trees that keep bonking Britt on the head, and monster mosquitos that keep biting Britt’s tasty left leg!
We decided not to head back to Positano to start the Walk of Gods because it would take over an hour of driving to get to the start point of the walk and then the same to get back because of all the tourists and road conditions. Instead, we drove out of the campground, turned right and right and left. We found a natural reserve on a little white, single-lane road on the map and ended up following two other cars down the tiny road to get to it, but the two cars in front of us were turned away at the park as no cars were allowed past that point and because we were behind them we managed to get to the only parking spot. So we punched in the passenger mirror, snuggled Little Blue up against a stone wall and were on our way. We had no idea where.
It started out as a nice, gentle, flat, leisurely, passive, shady stroll and turned into a steep sloping path of ancient, uneven rocks, pelting with heat from the blazing sun. (which we didn't really notice until the way back up!)
We made it to Pointa Campanella; a lighthouse and an ancient tower perched high on the edge of gigantic cliffs that drop straight into the sea. The views of Capri, the rocks and the sea were beautiful.
Lazy bums that we are we didn't even get up until 8:20 today to start our five hour drive up the hairline edge cliffside road of the Amalfi Coastline. There was only minor screaming in the car. Britt says it was both beautiful and horrifying especially when the monstrous 100 seater tourist buses barrelled around blind corners straight at us not even slowing, just honking, leaning on their horn to scare off all the tourists who were already terrified.
We stopped whenever we could to admire the amazing view.
Britts quick eye (her good one) caught the sign for The Emerald Grotto so we completely trusted the little parking man, who we have never seen before, with the key to our car and all our worldly goods, and squished ourselves with 13 other people into the tiny elevator that fits four. We have no idea how deep into the earth we descended but we ended up in a tiny boat with the other 40 people who also had no life jackets. We were lucky enough to get the front row where Britt quickly became friends with the “Boatman” who was at least 50 and just as fascinated with Britt as Britt was with the Grotto. He spent the entire trip saying “Lookie Lookie Babeeee Canada” in all his sentences. It was actually very funny. He said he didn't care if she had a boyfriend in Canada because Canada is the other side of the world! Lookie Lookie Baby Canada” He wanted a quick date, but mostly he wanted a Boatman tip. The best part of the grotto was the natural emerald light shining from a 16 meter long underwater tunnel.
We are now at Sorrento Resort Campogaio; camping, in a cabin, with no air conditioning and no screens on the windows. We thought the price was right when we booked it. (See photo below) After our leisurely and fish-like swim in the Tyrrhenian we sat, high above the sea looking out on to the Island of Capri.
After I pried Britt away from her new doggy friend, who was adorable and had followed her home, we caught the San Giovanni ferry at Messina. It wasn't the easiest thing to find and we ended up following a Dutch couple from where we bought the ticket to the other side of the port to the ferry. The folks who sold us the ticket didn't seem to care that we didn't know where to go and that we were sitting in the parking lot for a half hour waiting for a ferry that didn't even come there. Anyhow, the Dutch saved us and we were on our way. The funny thing about this is that once we disembarked the Dutch turned right on one highway, we went left on another highway, we each drove for over an hour and we ended up right behind them at a service centre. They didn't see us, which was good because we didn't want them to think we were “creeping them” (Lookie Looke Baby Dutch - see post below).
We didn't have a place to stay - we were winging it. On the GPS we had found an Agritourismo place that didn't really exist but we found one close by. It was great. We were beat.
Britt and I have been talking about making a list of the 10 top things to see in Italy and we thought that it would take a month to find just-the-right sites for our list. We have been 4 days and we have already 4 sites. We might have to make a top 33 list instead because that is the amount of days we are together on this trip! Each day has given us unbelievable “unbellieve, unbelieve, unbelieve..."
Today we were 9,580 feet above sea level on the “Mountain of Fire”; Mt. Etna. We opted for the cable car up and the jeep-bus to take us as high as we could go. The paid transportation dropped us about 500 metres from Torre del Filosofo so we hiked the remaining distance, through the strongest, most-gusting winds either of us has ever experienced to get as high as we could go. Today, Etna is erupting on the north east side, so we couldn't go there. (The hike, that we opted not to do, takes 5 hours! The people we saw doing the hiked looked like they were going to die!)
Even though we were wearing long sleeves (Yes we hiked Etna in matching sandals), our upper body was very cold from the height and wind, but our legs, from the knees down, were warmed by the pulsating heat from the ground. We touched the earth with our hands and felt the heat. It was a weird sensation feeling the earth so hot. When we were almost at the top, I had a lot of trouble breathing. I felt like a 100 year old smoking east-of-adelaine-grandma! We paused so I could breathe. It's a lung thing!
We were standing on the edge of one of the craters and really believed that the wind could blow us off the ridge; it was so strong! We firmed our feet with each step that we stepped and made it to the top. We wondered if we were the only people worried about being blown off the top! On the way down, we both felt dizzy and extremely tired.
Let me make a comment about my hair - today I had on my "Volcano" hair-do; live lava streams screaming out from the centre of my head engulfing and killing all that it touched - death to all, don't look at Medusa!.... ~ I might break down and get it cut... but I need "Georgie" my hair stylist from First Choice on Oxford near Quebec...
Tonight we are relaxing and enjoying the beautiful mountain view as the sun sets at an Agritoursmo farm that Britt found online last night. We had a little trouble finding it but a man, who saw that we needed help, stopped his car and told us in absolutely complete Italian to go straight, turn right, turn left, go through a big intersection and turn right and we understood him and found it!
PS - omg - it is erupting tonight =! Look at the header photo!
It's hard to remember what town we were even in this morning it seems like so long ago! ~Britt - where were we this morning?~ Oh Yeah.. Agrigento! We started out early heading east for Siracuse but had to make a screeching halt detour when we saw the Mediterranean. After a sharp right turn and a few little back roads Britt was waist deep in the absolutely beautiful crystal clear blue warm water.
After shaking the sand and salt off our feet, we drove and wove our way up incredible mountain roads and found ourselves perched in the sky at the same level as an airplane that was flying a few hundred feet away from us as we all were about 3,000 feet (1,300 meters) above sea level. (Eighth picture in the shots below) But the most dramatic pause in our day was when we turned a mountain corner and were presented with the Town of Modica. ~Unbelieve...~ (Header photo). We stared at it. We stared at each other. We stared at it again. We made another screeching right turn up a steep little road and found a spot to park the car to get out and stare at it some more! The whole town was perched, climbing, from the valley below straight to the top of the mountain that was at equal level in front of our eyes! It was hard to believe that it was real!
Once we could remove ourselves from the view we followed the coastline over to Siracuse; where we are tucked in for the night, drinking Sicilian wine and eating Sicilian olives.
As we drove toward Agrigento, we could see the silhouette of the temples from afar. When we stood beside each of them we were truly amazed. For a while, we sat under an Olive tree, recovering from the temperature of the day, staring at the Temple of Concord; the most complete temple on the site. It was built between 440 and 430 BC! After our rest we turned a corner and were shocked to see a huge Telemon laying there right in front of us! Right there! It was so cool!
After a restful afternoon we walked down to Castel di Lombardo and climbed the 12th century tower. More photos below. Plus we ate the best pizza ever for dinner! We had a great day!
We are in love with the new Fiat which has been named "Little Blue" It is a stick shift, which means Britt will only drive it going up the steepest, most narrow, cobblestone, roads! It is a great little car. We were tired from yesterday so chose not to walk anywhere today but to drive through beautiful countryside to reach our goal which was the hilltop town of Calascibetta. On the way we found an ancient necropolis which we explored and found that someone is "squatting" in the largest. Once we made it to Calascibetta we decided that we needed to get to the very top of the town so we could take some photos of Enna. The streets in the town are narrow, one way and filled with parked cars. We waved at all the locals as we passed by them but on the third time by they stopped waving and just thought we were crazy. Which we believed we were when we drove drove straight up on a tiny road, over the summit of the road only to land at a dead end at the edge of the cliff. We couldn't turn around; there was no room to turn around; there was also no room to open the car doors. To get out, we drove the same road only backwards! Yep, and we didn't even smash into any of the buildings, but we did smell the engine of the car as it tried its best to get us out of the spot we were in! It was fun! We never made it to the top because it was fenced off around the castle and even though Britt tried,in her dress to climb the fence, it couldn't be done.
Tonight we are heading for the castle in Enna and ordering pizza.
Long day. Second flight was delayed also. We are now in Enna. Going to bed. More tomorrow it's 12:30 all for now
Update: Britt's flight was delayed leaving Toronto and is not scheduled to land in Rome until 1:00 this afternoon (it is 11:35) - which means we will likely miss our 1:55 flight to Palermo. There is a flight to Palermo at 5:00 that we can take if we miss the earlier flight. We have to pay again as they won't transfer the early flight ticket to the late flight. I guess tht means Britt will have to sacrifice her wine drinking budget! Once she lands we will do one of those running through the airport scenes with our hair flowing behind us and our dresses gracefully wrapping around our legs as our stilettos click on the terazzo floor!
I have called the car agency to let them know we are delayed and I will call the B and B next.
It is quite rainy in Rome today.
Maybe more later...
For my last morning in Rome, I walked leisurely through the Borghese Gardens. It’s a very large, beautiful park which is very well kept. It was cloudy, so the greens were soft. By mid afternoon, the sun had broken through and the contrast between light and dark bounced alive. There were very few people early this morning, mostly joggers and folks walking their dogs. By afternoon it was full of people completely enjoying the park. A person can can rent a bicycle, golf cart, pedal bike, and those things you stand on, ride a train that is double the size of the Storybook train or ride a pony. As fun as it all sounds, I didn't do any of those things. It was enjoyable to watch the reaction of people as they first saw the view from the PIncio Hill. (The header photo today).
The Bernini, in the photos below, sits in the midst of Baroque chaos but it is a beautiful Bernini. The Ecstasy of Theresa, as recommended by Mary - Wow - what a sculpture! It’s funny, I was in this church two days ago, but brushed it over because it is intensely Baroque and I couldn't tell where one item ended and the next started, and the amount of blue and gold was nauseating so by the time I was to get to the side of the church where the Bernini is (that I didn't know was there) I had enough and left the building. Thank you Mary for telling me it is there, I went back yesterday. (Church: Sta Maria della Vittoria) This church is a fine example of why an iPad app is needed; so you can skip the horror and go to the good stuff straight-away!
Yesterday was Wilson’s day… I headed off to the bike shop about 2 km away to pick up Wilson who is packed nicely in a box with air holes for breathing, ready for the next part of the trip. I creatively attached the curtain repair strapping that I purchased just outside of Assisi, to the box to make handles. I also jammed some other things in the box so I don't have to carry them. I hope the car that Britt and I get at the Palermo airport is big enough for a bike and us!
I have decided that I am ready not to be alone anymore on this trip and am looking forward very much to Britt arriving tomorrow. I am okay on my own, and I know you’ll find this hard to believe, but, I get boring after awhile. No new jokes, same conversation, or even worse NO conversation! I haven't started talking to myself yet, well, no more than usual, but I don't do it while I am walking through a busy intersection at say, Piazza Pubblico or the Coliseum! (Although I could get away with it at the Coloseum!) Anyhow, Britt’s flight arrives at 11:40. We meet at the Rome airport then fly together to Sicily.
At 6:00 tonight I went over to Sta Pudenzia to take a look at the mosaics one last time before I leave town. I went inside and the pews were filled with people and a young man was speaking at the front of the church. I slipped into a seat close to the back to see what was going on and to stare at the Mosaics (which were lit beautifully and I needed my camera!). The sound system came alive with Celine and that tenor guy (sorry I forget his name) singing that prayer song. ~Technology against mosaics - an interesting concept~ Well was I surprised to find out that it was a memorial service and dinner in honour of Rodolfo Gautane. The movie was his life, his funeral, his dog at the funeral trying to get up to the coffin and the party afterwards. (They finally held the dog up beside the coffin so she could see inside). The funeral was huge and they showed every bit of it; all of them marching down the street behind the coffin, lowering into the ground; the works. It was quite moving! The dog was at the memorial service tonight too. I patted the dog on the head and left just before dinner.
Exciting news flash: Enzo Ardovini at La Casa di Amy stopped me tonight to talk about the app. He wants to post a link to it on his web site (www.enzosplace.com). He is quite excited about it. His web site gets 1500 hits a day. (He said he doesn't put "just anything" on his web site.) They have been extremely nice to me. Tonight they have given to me their network internet connection to use since the regular one is down.
Today I was a tourist, except I don't own the socks! I rode the hop-on-hop-off bus twice! First time around I hopped off and took photos to support the app. The second time around I rode on the top layer, relaxed and was chauffeured around the whole Green-Line route.
As I write, I am sitting in front of Vatican City. It is sunny and a perfect temperature today. The clouds in the photographs I have been posting don't seem real. They don't seem real in real life life either. Brilliance and contrast compete for attention as the cloud is framed in a handful of white. The sun fills portions, while the rain hangs black and ready in another.
Rome is packed with people, the tourist industry here must be in the billions of dollars. Stores, which look like they are doing are doing very well line the streets. Today there is 30 to 70 percent discount at the Ferrari store! “Saldi” is posted in every store window and the stores are overflowing with people. Bags and bags are being carried by hundreds.
Rome really is a beautiful city. Where else can you see sites from the year 390 to 2014, all while sitting on a double-decker bus? The buildings are incredible; laced with ornament and character, they are solid and covered with demons and angels; and they stand, imposing. They grace the streets and fill me with spacial relationship issues! (..just what I need - more issues!) The architect of each has outdone the other and collectively they present a city like no other.
The portion of the city in which I am staying doesn't lend itself to sunset photography, which is a shame, for me, as it would be nice to play with the colours against the buildings; the view isn’t wide enough, and we all know I long for the country anyhow... I am two blocks from the train station which presents two extremes. Beauty and amazing buildings are a feast for eyes while at the same time, the smell of urine fills the air. Well dressed travellers and playwrights as beggars share the same space. Tonight, a woman with no fingers yelled at me for the amount of money I gave to her. I said it was all I had; she kept yelling. I walked away. What's a person to do? It's not just this neighbourhood though, it's all through Rome and the other larger cities. At the same time, I feel completely safe here and plan to stay at this B&B (La Casa di Amy) the next time I am in Rome.
I have become very intimate with the room in which I am staying. It is small enough to be an extension of my right arm but large enough to allow me to spread out maps and diagrams. The women who clean the rooms each day are delightful; kind, and they try so hard to communicate with me. The owners of the B&B are very friendly and talk with me each day.
I am looking forward to Brittany arriving on Sunday. For a start, we will be back in the country and secondly, we will have so much fun!
There are at least 4,000 churches in Rome and 3,999 of them are Catholic. Most of them are outrageous! You’d think the Pope lives here or something. Imagine my surprise when this morning I found an un-catholic church. And the funny thing about the catholic churches is that they are all beside each other. How many churches do you need in a row? I don’t have a good punch line for that question! How many churches, in London, can you name that are on the same block? There’s King Street United and that evangelical on the corner, and there might be two downtown, and that’s it! In Rome, you can go in the front door of one church, slip out the side door and meander into the side door of the next! Maybe it’s so if purgatory has caught you by the tail in one you can scramble into the next unnoticed?
There are two other things I have figured out today. The first is that all roads lead to Santa Maria Maggiore. Doesn't matter where you are, you end up on the front steps. The second thing is that this entire city is under surveillance. You are being recorded every step of your day even as you slip out of one church into the next. Cameras are mounted on buildings, stoplights and poles everywhere. I don't know who is watching the activity on all these cameras because the entire police force, army and navy personnel are out on the streets telling you where not to park your bike!
And speaking of my bike. Wilson is presently being boxed up for the flight to Palermo. Cardboard box; not a hard case, which is available for purchase for 700 Euros! - I don’t think so!- I found a bike store in the neighbourhood that will box Wilson. I rode Wilson over there this morning and got dumped on by a big rain cloud with huge thunderbolts attached. I was soaked; drenched all the way through. If I was a smart tourist I would have bought one of those umbrellas from the million and one happy-to-serve-me vendors! But noooo, I am not paying 5 bucks for an umbrella. I got soaked instead! The store was hilarious. There I am standing, dripping wet, with a tiny, cheap, fold up bike in the middle of a store where the cheapest bike is 3,600 Euros and the most expensive, that I managed to see as it wasn't stored in the “Golden Room”, was 10,700 Euros! For a bike! - ~I can’t even do that math!~ I pick up little Wilson on Friday!
I have also figured out that you look like a tourist if you wear capris, pocket shorts, a wide brim summer hat, white running shoes with those little socks, bounce your camera off your belly as you walk, wear a knapsack on your front or back, wear flip-flops, hold a map in your hand as you squint aimlessly up into the sky and if you carry gallons of water with you. You look like an local if you wear a pocket vest and talk on your cell phone while driving your scooter.
Since I am bikeless and finished the photos I need, I wandered the neighbourhood. The photos I have posted today are from the walk; to give you a sense of what I am seeing. It is a lovely neighbourhood with lots of decoration, and.. churches!
What a purely delightful way to start my morning: The Church of Sta Pudenziana. I loved the exterior the moment I saw the roofline appear as I turned the street corner to find it. The state, colour and simplicity of the exterior is lovely! The picture above is a little warped as I took the shot with the fish-eye lens, but I thought it would be nice if you could see the setting in which the church sits. It is one story below ground level. You have to walk down an amazing set of steps to get to it and then a carpet of simple mosaics leads you inside.
This church is the last stop in the app, and what a way to go! You'll have to buy the app to get all the photos and details but I will tell you that the apse mosaics were created in approximately 390, making them possibly the oldest mosaics in Rome; making this site definitely worth the time to visit.
I am back at the B&B now, filing and sorting photos into folders! I might pop down to the forum this afternoon to take a few shots there. Basically, I am finished all the shots we need for the app, so now I am after bonus material.