Well, definitely 21st century First World problems. So I’ll deal.
Although I will say it has made planning the next week far more challenging that it might have been. Or has it? Perhaps it has just shortened it and nipped my ‘satiable curiosity about the Next Best Vacation Rental in the bud, that curiosity that makes it so difficult to make a decision sometimes.
So this time, it’s more, “That one has beds and wi-fi. Looks good.Grab it before the internet collapses.”
So we are set…until Monday. The next rental promises good internet, so we will see.
At this point, we are catching a train to Orvieto tomorrow, seeing Orvieto, then picking up a rental car and heading west.
For some reason, I couldn’t get enthusiastic about picking up a rental car in Rome. I’m a little nervous about driving, although I have driven in Europe before, including Sicily and including Palermo. I’ve driven in Manhattan and Chicago and ATLANTA. And even though I wouldn’t have been driving much in actual Rome – and could have avoided it completely by getting a car at the airport, I just wasn’t feeling it. For one, getting the car at the airport would have been a hassle: Train ride to FCO, then get car. I might as well just take the train somewhere else and avoid that specific stress. The train stations have rental car offices nearby, but really…if I’m taking us to the train station…why not just get on the train and go somewhere and take care of a car later?
So we’ll see. I will take a few minutes tonight to review my Italian road signs. This won’t be as bad as that time at the beginning of the Fall 2012-3-months-in-Europe-thing that as we descended into Paris it dawned on me that I had not even begun to familiarize myself with French road rules and signs, and I would be picking up a car right aftet we landed and setting off in it. In France.
So again with the sketchy internet. Just a brief review of today, then: Over to St. Peter’s by 9, headed straight to the dome, which I’d never before. 5 minutes in security, no line at the dome ticket office. Took the elevator partway up, walked the rest, saw the sights. Back down into the Basilica, where I was struck by the large areas that are now roped off from visitors. There is a the big path down the middle reserved for Year of Mercy pilgrims (who are visitors of course) and then the whole area from way in front of the baldacchino all the way back, and then the whole area around Alexander VII’s tomb. It makes the rest of the space even more crowded than ever.
Then…rain. We sought shelter in souvenir shops and an overpriced lunch, then made it back to the apartment to wait out the weather, which eventually cleared.
So..hop on the 75 bus to Circo Massimo, change to the 118, and down to the Appian Way. We toured the Catecombs of St. Callistus and St. Sebastian, and then walked a big chunk of the road. Back on the 118 and 75, rest for a bit in the apartment, start to clean and pack, then out for an excellent, reasonable dinner here. 2 appetizers, 2 pastas, 2 secondi (scallopini) (all split between the 3 of us), 2 cokes, 1 large mineral water, a small carafe of wine – 64 E. Not bad at all.
I hope with dependable internet and quieter nights, I’ll have more time to share notes from the past couple of days…
I really liked this sign.
I also liked this booklet idea, found in one of the Vatican bookshops. It’s for an older elementary child, with the story of the saint he or she might be named after. My name is….
Finally, on the Appian Way. I’ll write more about it later, but just say, we enjoyed the St. Callisto tour more, as it was led by a lively older British Salesian, and also just say that it would be pretty amazing to live in an place where your afternoon park stroll could be down a 2,000 year old Roman road.