Rome, Arrival

The flight was ... a flight. Unpleasant, but it ended. And that was rather the point, as I'm now in Rome. I took the train from the airport to Termini (think of it as a more mall-like version of Toronto's Union Station), which is also at the intersection of Rome's two main subway lines. I took Line A to Ottaviano, and then walked to my B&B. It's a flat on the first floor (a floor up from the ground floor) in an old building, with three bedrooms, each of which has a washroom. My window looks into the narrow courtyard, which gives the impression of many, many windows staring at each other - but it lets in lots of light during the day. From the outside, the block its on looks like one enormous building (actually two, each consuming half the block), but this one hides behind a grand (but interchangeable, as there are many around here) old wood door with brass fittings and many buzzers. The desk chair in my room leaves something to be desired (undersized and plastic, I'm only squawking because I'm in it now), but on the whole it's a nice room and I'm quite happy with it.

The woman who met me at the B&B felt it her duty to get out a map and show me how to get to the important stuff, like the Colosseum and St. Peters - but also the local restaurants, of which there are many - Prati is a very nice and somewhat upscale neighbourhood which I remembered fondly from my last visit (2009). She was hugely helpful and I suspect I'm going to be very glad to have her assistance in the next couple weeks. She was also rather down on the Roman subway system - the three stations west of Termini (Repubblica, Barberini, and Spagna), probably the most important three for tourists excepting Termini itself, have all been bypassed without explanation for the last couple days, and no end of the outage has been named. She shrugged: "It's Rome."

I got myself a data-only SIM card at the TIM store, so my phone will provide me with Google Maps and email notifications. Then I wandered along Via Cola di Rienzo where they've planted lots of a tree that has a small pink bloom that was just reaching its peak - beautiful, and smelled pretty good too. I became intrigued with a pitted asphalt sidewalk where all the pits were full of pink petals. I took pictures, but you never know how those will turn out.

photo: Flower petals on the sidewalk

depressions in an asphalt sidewalk filled with pink flower petals

I crossed the Tiber to Piazza del Popolo, and remember being underwhelmed by it last time too: it's a pretty space, but packed full with tourists and not actually much to see. If the ancient buildings don't tell you you're not in Canada anymore, the cobblestones under foot will. I took a different route back to the B&B, then went out to dinner at Be.Re. I had an interesting milk stout (they have twelve or so local taps), and a Trapizzino (they're a food fad with their own web page: Mine had chicken cacciatore in it, and was quite good.

photo: Piazza Cavour

three kids in a row linked to each other and gliding along on rollerblades