italy diary, april 1999

Reply Tue 19 Jul, 2005 07:09 pm
(work in progress, 1/3 typed)

April Fool's Day, 1999

The shuttle appeared in the street outside Kathy's apartment at five in the morning. We climbed in to find two young women staring into the night blearily. The driver was friendly. They were friendly, so far so good. Rhythm and blues on the tape deck good and loud.

We went to the restroom at the SFO international terminal before going upstairs to check in. My long raincoat was nearly flushed with a tremendous roar by the continuously functioning facility. I ratchet up my survival mode.

Flying time to Philadelphia, 5 hours and 10 minutes. We leave around 8 am here, which is 11 am in Pennsylvania. This time business occupies me, I can see wearing two watches, or maybe three. We will get to Rome about 10 am, Appenine mountain time, let's see, at 1 am in SF. So, in 17 hours.

We have egg pellets for breakfast with muffinettes. I hope this is the last bad meal. In Philadelphia, we move over to a 767, not very easily. Kathy saves us from going down hallway B instead of C in search of terminal A (what signs?) And I figure out that our plane isn't going to board at the gate they told us a few minutes before on the plane. Kathy catches that we hadn't heard them call our rows for boarding....

It's three in SF as we board to leave Philadelphia at their 6pm, and midnight in Rome. The passengers on this second plane are a transitional assembly with a scattering of italians in the seats among the americani. And it wasn't the last bad meal.

Some time later, the sun and dark gray clouds streaked to fill the window bottom with landlike formations and then the ball of fire grew, from a tiny dot to a flame you couldn't look directly at. Too much beauty to stay plane-miserable. Where are we, it's quarter to six British time, I think. We go over Bordeaux down to Italy, but not yet.

We land in Rome, it's 10:05 am. How this happens in time I don't know. In Philadelphia we had waited for passengers from late flights to connect, and left two hours late. Gnash. And then we made up time. And the spring time change happened too. Tired now, got a half hour's sleep, no matter how it is calculated.

2 Aprile

We zoomed off the plane. Sort of. Hard to zoom with a bull mastiff of a duffel bag. We just missed the metro train, and waited. When we got to Rome's Stazione Termini it was all jumbled in renovation mode.. I am the one who should recognize the right exit, and in a while I did. Out we go into the square and into the city, walking atilt about ten blocks to the hotel.

The room was really depressing. Well, Kathy was seriously disappointed and I was medium disappointed. I had made the reservation and so asked for, per favore, un'altra camera. And so we switched to the room John and I had stayed in before, for a few dollars more. I reserved at the Elide because Kathy wants to spend the equivalent of 30-40 dollars a night each and I knew the Elide is adequate.

Room #26 is an improvement but the bathroom drainage is slow, and la toiletta is set at 45 degrees from the window corner, just as it was years ago. But the windows look out on Via Firenze at the Bar across the street and up towards the Finance Ministry and all of Rome is at our beckon. We go out and wander, mainly in our neighborhood. Kathy seems to like Rome, aside from the hotel.

And I am in-place.

The nearby palazzo Barberini has a Caravaggio show in its museum, which thrills me. We have some trouble finding the right salon for purchase of our tickets but manage to get in. I could dance here - it would have to be slow - but control myself.

We zig in and out of some churches: S. Nicolo Tolentino, Ss. Cosmos & Damian, which I haven't been in, and S. Andrea del Quirinale, an old favorite. We walk over to the Trevi and trudge back up via Barberini for tremezzini sandwiches, bottled water, and a few blocks later, some gelato. We spacewalk back to the hotel to organize our holdings and recoup.

3 Aprile

The Bar Firenze across the street has sfogliatelle and they are as good as I remember. After the first coffee enhancement we started along via Quirinale. It was raining softly. Both of us had decided in San Francisco against taking umbrellas along. We went over down and up to the Corso and to piazza Montecitorio and around the corner to Giolitti. I have had trouble finding it on other trips but have it nailed down at last. They have sfogliatelle too, and a long counter of other pastries, plus a long bar; the array of gelati is best of all. At some times of day there get to be dozens of varieties set out in gradations of colors. And there's a tavolo caldo lunch section which I've never tried..

With the rain diminished, we chased around Old Rome, finding Borromini's Sant'Ivo and Hadrian's Pantheon, my religious site of preference. Then campo dei Fiori in full market panoply, piazza Farnese, lots of churches, and Galleria Doria Pamphilj.

The Doria Pamphilj is better if anything than I remembered it and I loved it before. Nothing austere about it, it's encrusted with gold fru fru and the walls are laden with tiers of paintings. Velasquez' Pope Innocent X has its own pale green room and the papal robes' scarlet just glowers out.. The floors are wonderful, the ceilings are wonderful. Everything wonderful. And the gallery is not huge, more of a jewel box than a big display.

We ate lunch at the Pizzeria Archetto, which I remembered because once John and I had a pizza there that was served puffed up like Vesuvius, with steam from a scrambled egg filling wafting from the center crater.. Got a different pizza this time, merely ok. Afterwards we went south to the Capitoline hill, where the museums were being restored and not much art was on view in the circumstance. Off again then.

And so we headed over toward the Tiber going through piazza Mattei and down via Giulia on the way, and then crossed Corso Emanuele to get to piazza Navona. On the way back to the hotel we went into Santa Maria dei sopra Minerva. Well, the tortoise fountain in Mattei, and the whole of piazza Navona are tremendous.

Piazza Mattei is at the edge of the old Ghetto. It's a fork in the road, with a precious fountain, a bowl held aloft by young lads who hold tortoises which clamber up over the edge. Not cute, beautiful, by Landini and perhaps Bernini, if I remember right. And piazza Navona - I remember my amazement when I turned the corner into it the first time. It was empty then, almost, but not today.

Via Giulia is a city walk like no other, and corso Emanuele pulses with buses and cars and motocicletti.. S. M. sopra Minerva is a charmer built over a temple to Isis, and has stopped me in my tracts before with a booming organ when I walked in, bringing on an immediate well of tears, church memories. This time it was about the twentieth church visit of the trip which is only two days old and my pulse stayed the same. Also my feet hurt.

By the time we got back to the hotel my feet were screaming. I have a tender foot history, high arches/high ball of foot pain I had worn my Danskos with a cushion insert after much fooling around before the trip regarding the perfect shoe choice. boring even myself about the subject.

Screech, burn, screech. Kathy doesn't understand this, her feet never hurt.
For dinner we hit the tavolo caldo two doors down from the hotel for slices of foccaccia and aqua minerale, good enough.

Haven't written about the camera problem. A couple of months before the trip I bought a new camera, since I didn't want to drag around lenses and did want to have zoom and wide angle
potential. So I bought a Nikon 70, a blow to my wallet - but the whole trip is about photographing piazzas. I read the directions, shot several roles, and left home full of confidence.

Today, I can't get it to click when it is in ' program'. Flick, flick, click, click, click, click, fuok.
I figure I will work it out and catch up on other Rome days, but it is trying. I doing my best in 'manual' now. I think.

4 Aprile
Easter Sunday in Rome.

A long time ago I would have been thrilled for a different reason, like I think Kathy is now. This is a sensitive thing. She is edgy and apologetic at the same time about needing to go to church this morning. This wasn't a question for me, she would go and I would photo in the neighborhood until we met afterward.

Now I am thrilled for other reasons, having to do with myself. I love Rome and it is Sunday morning, I am not as lagged as yesterday and I have a good long trip ahead.

As to tired - I hadn't understood, when Kathy wanted to go with me, that when she said she would go wherever I wanted since it was my planned trip, that she meant it so literally. I hold the map and my camera, and try to be discreet with both of them. I keep deciding where to go next. and she says wherever you want to go whenever I ask her. I guess I do want that generally, but didn't understand I would always be the one to find everything every minute. And she walks a lot behind me, which is unnerving, because I keep looking around for her and checking the map; I haven't been in quite this travelling situation before.

We set out early for Giolitti. This time we go by the Spanish Steps, scalinata, and via Condotti. It's still very early and the light is beautiful, and potted azaleas are blooming. We found La Palma before Giolitti and detoured. They vie for best gelato, like some places vie, at least in the guide books, for the best caffe. We each had a cappuccino with a torta.

We investigated the right time and place for mass and Kathy ended up choosing San Luigi in Francese. I went around camera ready, in manual anyway, and checked out neighboring streets.
- yellow building at piazza Maddelena, near the della Palma.
- and the chiesa Maddelena
- parking piazza, the largo G. Torriolo
- area north of the Pantheon w/ Syrian church at end of rione della Eustachio
- street leading to S. Antonio portughesi

Met Kathy coming out from S. Luigi and went to get a look at Borromini's Sant'Ivo before noon, only chance, per the guidebook, to see it inside. It's cool and elegant, all white, masterpiece. Clean design. Not clean exactly, clear. Even the floor sings. Wish I had a picture of that floor, also of the floors in the Doria Pamphilj.

- heading to Sant'Ivo

Then we hunted down Sant'Agostino's and S Maria della Pace. We had actually been to San Agostino earlier, but it was marked St. Apollinaris on the big map. Traipsed around the map area of S. Agostino and found it was supposed to be where the syrian church was. But no!
Identified the real S. A's, which I had been in years ago and thought I recognized even though it was both dark coming in and full of people today. Why worry about it, well, S. Agostino has a Caravaggio and a Raphael and a Sansovino wooden madonna, all beautiful.

After Giolitti, again, we set out to find Santa Maria della Pace. When we found it, the church was chiuso per restauro (rest or restoration?) Interesting neighborhood right there, I like it a lot.

Then we went to piazza del Populo, which has the porta all covered up for restoration, and peeked into Santa Maria del Populo, which had mass going on. John and I went here several times in old times, it's good and old and unfancy but has a Raphael chapel (the Chigi) among other art. A lot of history has taken place around it and this piazza. And its gate. When Romans come out to support right wing causes this is the piazza of choice, or so I've read. I hear lefties go to campo dei Fiori. It is probably more complicated. They demonstrate with ease at a lot of places. I have a news clip of demonstrators - in a Roman piazza - with pinocchio noses - a nudge about Berlusconi's honesty.

Walked down via Ripetta, and over via d'Arancio, I had wondered where that was...there is a good restaurant, Settimo d'Oro, there, chiuso. and back to the restaurants near S.M. della Pace - where, in the one closest to the church, we had the best pizza I have ever had or can even imagine. Great crust, a layer of bubbling mozzarella with some just right amount of gorgonzola, smidge of walnut oil, and some walnuts strewn across it, oh, and a bit of parsley. White house wine that tasted good. The salad listing sounds impeccable..

We met with the phalanx of piazza Navona throngs on the way to Sant'Ignazio and the Gesu' (chiuso). By midafternoon, pz Navona was nuts. It was, though, throughout the city, a very festive friendly crowd. Families walking in apparent contentment, per momento. Older women in fine suits, with strollers When I was framing a photo in front of S. Ignazio, a man with a sweater over his shoulders and riding a bicycle waved to me and I smiled back. That was the tone of the day and indeed the rest of the time here so far.

I missed Sant'Ignazio before and have read about it since....for urban design it is a focal point; the buildings around the square, so-called, in front of it, are elaborately curved rather like the baroque church facade, therefore so is the piazza. I'd read about this and seen a black and white photo but I was unprepared, stunned, to walk into the space and be surrounded by golden buildings.

As the day developed the city was a mass of tourists and many italiani, some also tourists.. Haven't previously experienced Map Freedom - half the people had one out, so we could relax and unfold. I usually try to minimize my 'straniera' affect. Italians can read me a mile away, except sometimes. I have been asked questions by italians repeatedly, but I give it away when I speak at all. I don't really think they think I'm italian, but maybe some strange european, until I talk. The shoe indicator has faded, since I don't wear big fat sneakers any more and they have begun to. Not many matrons wear them in any case, and I am one.

We trudged back to the hotel a new way, up via Dataria to the Quirinale, the most serene way back.

As for my feet, they are pulps. Blisters forming at foot pad and perhaps under toes. They flame as I walk. I should have brought moleskin. But I never had blisters on other trips. Two bandaids left and then....dead feet.

additional photos
- guy leaning into baby carriage near the piazza Navona entry
- pasquino

5 Aprile

We got up late, me at 9:30. Jet lag has prevailed. Surprised, I rushed, and we went quickly down and out to Bar Pepy for caffe latte and torta each. We took the metro at pz Barberini and had an adventure with the ticket machine. The stationmaster helped and we moved along to the Aventine...the Aventine, the hill area where I would stay and am staying at the other end of this trip. We checked out villa san Pio and villa sant'Anselmo, and then the churches, Sant'Anselmo, S. Alessio, Santa Sabina, all fine places. Kathy said maybe next time we could stay... I didn't answer.

We left so we could go to the caffe near della Pace again, and wound our way there. Took the metro to Spagna, walked over to the Corso area. I stopped at pz San Lorenzo in Lucina, a big blank sunny space for a picture. and then we headed above pz Navona, to the della Pace neighborhood. Kathy had the walnut pizza again, this time with pears too. I had pork chops and insalata Etna. Pork chops fine, but I would pick something else again on such a fine day dining al fresco. The salad was neat, blood oranges, fennel, olives. Good olives. Potatoes with the meat were good, roasted, sliced.

I write down the salads.
* Fennel Orange Black Olives
* Avocado with tomato, arugula, belgian lettuce
* radicchio, lettuce, apple, pignoli
* goat cheese, arugula, carrot, fennel
* lettuce, bufula mozzarella, tomato, fennel

The pizza of my life, why didn't I have it twice?
After lunch we passed the bowl fountain where John took the pictures, me pushing, he with a good eye and fast camera hand, at piazza Simeone, via Cancellata. After all these years a name to the place.

Going over to Giolitti we found Sant'Agostino and spent more time there without the parishioners. Oh, the map was wrong in the Aventine also, mixing up Sant'Alessio and San Anselmo. Anyway, after S. Agostino we went to Giolitti, crowded as we knew it would be. Going there we had streams of people walking by us with gelato cones. The line goes fast. I had cocco (coconut), nocciolo (walnut), and cioccolato. The cocco is terrific, the cioccolato rich, the nocciolo good but overwhelmed by the other two. Perhaps just the nocciolo...

Then we walked back to the Elide the new way, over via Dataria.


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Green Witch
Reply Tue 19 Jul, 2005 07:19 pm
What is it about those little pizzas in Italy? They are so perfect you just can't duplicate them. Maybe it's the water, like in NYC bagels.
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Reply Tue 19 Jul, 2005 07:28 pm
6 Aprile

Early to rise, grab a cappuccino, and catch a train, in this case the first class E.C. And so we learned that tickets don't mean seats. We stood to Bologna, good grief. We wandered around Bologna a little before catching the next train to Parma. This time we got to sit down. Kathy is very irritated. I look out the window and watch all the pear tree lines move by.

Parma is lovely from the minute we get there. We get a bus from the train station and look for piazza Garibaldi; people on the bus help us to know when to get out. Then it is a block to the hotel, which is tucked down a side street, has a bright coral exterior paint job, and a nice older attendant at the desk. I think it is he I spoke with from Eureka. He fits in perfectly behind the burnished wooden counter area. I have read that Hotel Button is family run. Is he dad or uncle, probably granddad. He is gentile, molto gentile.

Divested of our baggage, we walked to the duomo and baptistry. There's a rosy quality to them, pearlescence. The scale is small, in comparison to the duomo in Firenze. The dome in the duomo is a pastel Ascension of the Virgin by Correggio. Beautiful, and the baptistry is more rose and white, light and fine.
We both are thrilled with Parma and are reenergized.

At the corner of Strada Cairoli, we find K2, a gelateria that serves a flower of gelato in a cone, more beauty.
At San Giovanni Evangelista I become engrossed with the floor - although the dome is also by Correggio.

floor pattern drawing

Going south from the hotel we passed a salumeria I had seen mentioned named Le Sorelle Picchi and walked in. You go through a front counter area of - oh! parma hams in person, culatello, all the best arrayed under glass - and shelves of goodies in jars. After the cash register area, there's a back room of tables moderately filled at midafternoon. I have tortelli di zucca - pasta envelopes with squash filling - and vitel tonno, veal with tuna sauce. Good, simply served. Kathy has a salad. We walk it off and stop at a bar where I have un amaro di Montenegro and Kathy has tea and we look across the river at the big palace. One of us is a sybarite.

We get some bottled water at the hotel lobby and settle in for reading with cheese and olives and catching up on sleep.

7 Aprile

Parma is exquisite, just exquisite. A gentle place, courteous people, look you in the eye when they talk to you people, bicycle riding well dressed people.
Today there was a light wind, at shirtsleeve temperature for americans. In Eureka they would break out the shorts. Everybody I see on the streets has light jackets. Bella figura.

Kathy went off early to the museum in the palazzo Pilotto, the Farnese palace that we sat across from yesterday - and I set off to get a lot of photographs and eventually arrive at the post office. I walked the block to piazza Garibaldi. Not the most beautiful piazza I've run across.
A main bus street runs through it, via Mazzini. Bicycle racks line the sidewalk. On the north side there is a great spread of caffe tables arranged in front of a few bars. The building is a wild color, Parma yellow, with a clock and a sculpture of Garibaldi centered for attention. The Bar Orologio attracts me, and I'm right. More marble and dark wood wrap around you as you fire up with a cappuccino.

I go up to pz Steccata and take a picture; take one of women talking at Vicolo al Leon d'Oro. Another on Borgo XX Marzo, which tucks up to the baptistry. Then I zero in on the marble baptistry steps, across the square, on the strada al Duomo, and at the approach to San Giovanni down Cardinale Farnese street. A well suited woman looks at me, waves at the wind, and says, 'Buh!!.' I nod cheerfully, I'm happy. I take a picture of San Giovanni, and looking away from it, and eventually one of K2 from via Mazzini.

More of via Mazzini w/baby the feature. Wandered near the entrance to a medical facility on via Borgo dei Servi..that was across from a mustard colored middle school. There was a fellow limping towards the clinic and I had photo-angst. Leave him alone, Jo. Via Borgo dei Servi goes into Strada Aurelio Saffi; went up to via Correggio and shot looking back on via dei Servi and over into the via Corregio. Is that perfectly clear?

I see a lot of bicyclists, and notice their jackets. The jackets seem to match, no they can't can they?, the building colors. Maybe the store buyers like the building colors and pick just those..
The bicycles are all over, it's flat here in this Po valley city. Bicycles slip down the streets, attach somehow at doorways, and cling to people talking with friends.

Stopped to admire a green building at via Uccellucci and via Correggio. Went into the camera di Paulo, which was wonderful, a small room with a tremendous rich blue Correggio ceiling. Eventually went to the hotel and got my gathered items to send home and went to the post office, where triplicate forms were necessary to mail the items I put in the box I purchased there for the occasion. I had gentlemanly help from disgusted companions in line (buh!). But this put me in a time press to meet Kathy at the palazzo.

And then I couldn't find the way to Ingresso. After a quarter hour of my going wrong ways, a dapper tour guide of a group from Austria helped me navigate the reconstruction going on. So when I did get to the entry and met Kathy, the museo had just closed. But the Farnese theater was open, and I went in.... what a place... all honey colored wood, columns to seats, gorgeous. It says in the guide book that it was restored after being bombed in 1944. Bombed in 1944, how can they do that. They or we.... we, I think.

We did a short palazzo postcard stop and then went to lunch again at Le Sorelle Picchi. They were cleaning up as we entered but they sat us down, served us, and then dined themselves, with the cook (son?) at the center. We had the culatello appetizer - a plate of prosciutto that melts in your mouth, and chicche della nonna con gorgonzola (green briquettes with sauce), with lambrusco which wasn't horrible, and acqua minerale con gas.

Later we went for a stroll and saw a flurry of umbrellas. Rain impending? We window shopped, and I fell in love with a display of rich materials draped gorgeously beyond the glass at a store near the river. Closed, luckily. We ended up with amaro and te again, this time at Bar Orientale,
as nice as the Orologio, but this bar was walled with glass cabinetry filled with dishes of chocolates.

We got some of the cioccolatini, in particular the liquid cherries with kirsch, and the nocciolo amarettos, amaretti. Neither of us tried the Parma violettas. Back at the hotel I went down to the lobby for a liter of water and the attendant called out to me with my wallet in his hand. I had left it on the Bar counter, black granite, black wallet; they found my name and hotel on the post office receipt. More to like about Parma.

We settle in the room with yesterday's cheese and olives, today's acqua, tonight's fine chocolates, and I write.

8 Aprile

The train to Modena costs 5400L or about $2.75, certainly a good deal. We walk to Corso Vittorio Emanuele and find Hotel Milano, cute but full up, and we are put down the street at another one. We have one day here, must get going with it.

Modena is different than Parma. First of all, different colors. Darker older buildings. Older as in medieval. Well, Parma was bombed and all those jewel colored buildings are new. The color I connect to Modena, besides dark stone, is rose, a greyed rose. The balcony ironwork is different, heavier. There are more parks, or there seem to be more parks, more trees here. It's raining gently.

We seek out piazza Agostino and the Museo Estiense, where we move from room to room through the d'Este family collection with a few other gallery visitors. I have wonderful osso buco and Kathy has a small salad at Trattoria da Omer near the tower; we continue our ordering pattern.

The Duomo is a romaneque structure built in the 1100's. The lions holding up columns at the side entry are absolutely rose colored. I go over to the colonade across the gray piazza Grande to shoot some photos and am rewarded with a cluster of umbrella furling tourists who add color to the rainy drear. While I'm doing this, Kathy chats up a couple who turn out to be from the SF bay area. Rosemarie is a senior planner at Contra Costa county, and Luigi runs an italian grocery in Concord.. We flub up when Luigi started to ask us to go have a drink and keep talking about Parma as a place they should go, and then we all go into the duomo and nose around but it's too dark for my particular eyes to see much so I go out and we don't see them further.

I wouldn't mind being friends with a sort of cute deli owner from Concord, and I liked her too. Not clear if they were mates or mates.

On the duomo, I read later that Mildred of Canossa was its patron and that she backed the pope in the guelph-ghibbiline loggerheads, so that the roof of the duomo was trussed rather than vaulted like the opponents did theirs. I missed it.

9 Aprile, Venerdi

We leave our hotel without its breakfast early to catch the 7:28 train to Faenza. I had been unable to find any accomodations in Faenza in any guidebook and am keen to get there and get in place. Faenza is on the itinerary because of its interlinked 'double' piazzas - and it is known as a ceramics center and has a ceramics museum.

Kathy had been to Faenza before, which has got to be a unique feat. Nobody else I know has heard of it. And I only found it in my Bell'Italia guidebook.

We arrive and find the tourist information center. There is only one room left in town, at the hotel Vittoria. 160,000L, or $40.00 each, si, per favore!

Hotel Vittoria is quite all right. The lobby has low light and a lot of burgundy velvet. The room is fine. So out we go to the museo delle ceramiche. But first, some dolci and cappuccini at a bar down the street from the hotel.. Oh, really fine little dolci. I haven't seen any quite like these before. We each have several, they're small after all..

We spend a long time in the ceramics museum, which is filled with wonderful things. My favorite 'modern' piece is by Pietro Melandri in maiolica lustrale, the "copia Soretta da Pegaso". I can't take photos without permission, and ask for permission. I may take a few around the lobby. Even after I say "senza flash!" I take a shot of the stream of backpacks against a wall, clearly the burden a whole class let fall.

And then I get a few shots of the central garden, very simple, meadow with a few large pots strewn decoratively, one with gold and turquoise colors.

I must have a guidebook to take home to remember the ceramics and get one.

We wander around the heart of the city, which fails to incite my piazza hormones. Piazza della Liberta' and piazza del Populo have the cathedral, the palace of the Podesta', the palazzo Comunale, the torre dell'Orologio, and a fine fountain in front of the church. We go in the cattedrale, which doesn't excite my cathedral hormones either.

I read that the clocktower was rebuilt after the war, but the rest of this central area looks untouched, all centuries old, medieval and later. Of course, the clocktower looked untouched too.

What I do like is the cheese store, which has stacks of cheezes - huge cheeses, about 18" high and 30" wide circles. The cheese fellow cheerfully lets me photograph the cheeses and him. I am happy about this, about a ceramics store named Gatti, and look forward to a ceramics store we had passed across from our hotel that hadn't been open when we left..

We go around a corner and into a market square, another good place. Around 3 pm we go into an Enoteca and try some wine. I have a Muller Thurgau di Bressanone 1998, which is white, cold and tasty. This is from Valle Isarco. Not available in Eureka. We have torta that is so delicious we decide to come back for dinner.

The ceramics shop across from the hotel is open so we look around. It is all beautiful. Faenza is growing on me.

The ironwork is different here. I am understanding that a lot changes within not that many miles, different history, different leaders, different influences.

When we go back to the Enoteca it's crowded. Dinner is not served until seven and we can hardly stand it. One more Muller Thurgau, when I thought I had my very last. As we sit down, we share the room with only one other group of people, everybody else just getting going in the bar. We order and Kathy starts in with what turns out to be a long explanation of how deeply it disturbs her to skip the breakfast that a hotel serves. We have paid for it. And what it means to watch your money, and how she doesn't like to be taken advantage of, and needs to get her moneys' worth, and quite a lot more along these lines. It takes me a while to understand she is complaining about skipping the usual hard roll and hot coffee in order to catch the train this morning. I am just quiet, I can't quite believe it. Well, we're tired. I let her trail off, well into our meal, and start talking about the rest of the people in the room.

Expressing my own feelings on the matter would only make a long night longer. Some hotels charge you for breakfast, around five dollars, no matter what. Some ask you when you reserve if you want it and then add it on to the bill. Or charge you if you eat it. I had generally inquired when I made the dozen reservations from home, or noticed this in a guide. So in Rome at the Elide we knew we weren't being charged.
But I don't care very much.

Occasionally I like to eat in the hotel, if it is charming, as a starter. But mostly I like to explore for a local pasticceria, or two. Well, usually one.

I know very well about having no money and feel this has nothing to do with it. I'm in Italy for godsakes. Good night! But I only say good night.

10 Aprile, Sabato

and I cave. Gone is all restraint. I buy an expensive plate for myself, and an only slightly less expensive one for my business partner, and the lady fills in all the paper work for sending them to Eureka. They're wonderful heavy plates with beautiful colors.
I want more!

Pinacoteca Comunale di Faenza, the art museum.

(last of typed diary, though there are twenty or so more days)

Note to a2k readers - K is a friend of my exhusband and mine; I like her well enough, or so I thought before I agreed to her joining in on the first bit of the trip. I was much happier travelling for the remainder of the trip after she caught her plane to the US. I am never never never going to share a room again, unless it's with a lover. Never mind the money. And I'll meet people on trips, but could never do such a trip as the first part of this one without much more individual space. I should title this 'learning experience'. I had been spoiled - my husband and I always traveled easily together over even long periods, with very little tension and usually a lot of fun. I don't expect people to want to see what I want to see, or vice versa.

I've grown to admire CI and all his group travels. I would probably go berserk and have to be carried away on a cart.

to be continued...

I haven't erased this because it is sort of quaint now...

United Express ticket to and from Eureka
USAir to and from Rome 660.00 RT

Shuttle to SF $13.00 w/tip
NYTimes 1.08
Book 8.12
Bagel and latte 1.94

Metro 15,000L
post cards 22,000L
Bar Settebello 8,000L
tip 1,000L
Hotel Elide 80,000L

total ~$76.00

4-2 Bar Firenze
2,700 L
Doria Pamphilj 15,000L
cartilini 20,000L
Archetto 23,000L
Hotel Elide 1/2 = 80,000L

total ~$102.00

4-3 water 750L
Capitoline 5,000L
Gelato nr via G 6,000L
Pizz Marco Polo 17,000L
Pantheon cards 6,000L
SMsM 4,500L
Hotel 80,000L

total ~ $72.

4-4 ? 112,500L



train to Parma 70,000L
lunch 34,000L
duomo c/bk 7,000L
bread olives
polenta, cheese 16,000L
moleskin 6,500L
water 2,500L
gelato 2,500L
hotel Button 72,500L
bar Orientale 4,500L
total ~$129.
0 Replies
Reply Tue 19 Jul, 2005 08:12 pm
Hi, Green Witch - I'd enjoy hearing about your time there too...
0 Replies

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