Wednesday, May 6, 2009

accidental steps... Spagne

ok, so i'm trying to make my peace with Roma.
not that i didn't want to come to Rome, but i felt *obligated* to come, because all the great meaningful historical 'stuff' is here...

my first impression of Roma isn't so impressive... rainy, i dragged my touristy butt wandering around to find my hotel - where the average age of guests is 55 or so. (kid you not). the room itself is tidy and water pressure is great - but tv is tiny and the only english channgel, BBC news, is grainy. internet is costing me 0.35 euros a MINUTE.

i wandered around, partly in the rain, but i outlasted the rain yesterday afternoon... walked down near the vatican and had a moment of nice reflection as the sun came out of the clouds and shone on the vatican entrance...

dinner last night was the first time i took myself out on a date - hey i'm a tourist, it's ok that i'm 'eccentric' right?
walking in the door, the hostess asks in bad english 'are you lonely?'
sure i knew what she mean, alone, lonely... but with the rain and the bad first impression yesterday, it was a bit 'lonely' because i hadn't loved this city yet.

(sorry for gleaming over details, i'm really on a by-second countdown here)

this morning, i decided to make peace with the city. afterall i have 2.5 more days here to frolick.

before i left, TH had help me plan out a semi-laissez-faire Rome trip. Today on my 'schedule' loosely was coliseum and the forum.
it was sunny and started getting hot by mid day. The coliseum is breath-taking in grandeur. I'm sure it must be prettier still at night. i got the audio tour, although it seemed like kids doing homework - the first half of the tour was detailed and fantastic, the lower half of the colisuem audio tour was barely there and short. oh well... the place is beautiful. imagine rooting for a Sharks Stanley cup game there!!!

From there I walked across the street to the Forum. now, i didn't really consult my tour book too much, but hey it's right there across from the coliseum! i checked on my tourist map and i can see it from the 2nd story of the coliseum.
i walked up a windy path, as with many other tourists there and back. at the top of the path was a small tiny church. that was IT.
there were people across the various gates along the path, on the OTHER side was the forum.

when i finally walked around to the entrance, i was already tired. but hey, that's my scheduled today right... i found my way through all the highlights on my Forum audiotour... Palatino... i even sneaked into several english tour groups to evesdrop on the guides' stories... :)

then i was so hungry it was 3pm and i hadn't eaten, so i broke down and ate at a tourist-trap which was ok.

now i thought about going back to the hotel, but that seemed kind of lame as it was still early in the day. i ended up walking into a sephora to shop and questioned the sales girl there about where to go for shopping.

She pointed me to the metro stop Spagne... so i thought, ok, now my feet hurt past the point where i feel them, if i stop, i won't want to restart. i might as well spend a few hours seeing the shopping district here...

i got out of the Spagne station, and it's FULL of people, tourists, tour groups...
then i found a beautiful picturesque church above some steps. So many people congregating there...
i decided I was really really tired, so i sat amongst the groups on the steps, staring back down at the people taking pictures. I imagine being in the background of no less than 100 pictures, kind of like Where's Waldo - in strangers pictures.
I finally decided to walk and check out the church on top. Before i got there, i heard english being spoken... i struck up a conversation with this older couple... they were super nice.

they hadn't walked into the church yet... but we exchanged stories about the italian cities we've seen so far. then i asked if the Spanish Steps were nearby.
The man said 'this is less impressive than you thought huh!' and waved his hands towards the down steps of where i'd loitered...
WHAT?? i loitered there resting my weary feet. turns out i was ON the Spanish Steps. :)
i kind of like the serenditity of it all...

i made it to the church on top, and even sat there for half and hour observing a ceremony that was happening. the nuns and preists were all in white robes, the singing was peaceful and calming...

then i walked around the district and realize that these are the big names, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, etc etc. Shopping - yes. not for my price range.
so i decided to make my way home...

now i'm on the common computer 'business center' in the bar area... the clock is ticking on how much time i have left.
might come back online after dinner, we shall see :)

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