While I don't feel quite "done" with Barcelona yet - and I'm sure I'll write a little more about it this week - we are now in bella Roma and I wanted to post a few pictures.
Whereas our time in Barcelona was effortless, from transportation to visiting museums to even checking in at the airport, Rome has already established itself as our stubbornly different new reality. We arrived at Fiumicino airport 15 minutes early and I took it as a good sign... until we got to the baggage claim and were told the ground workers were having a "union meeting" and our bags would be delayed.
"Union meeting" = strike
Ahh... Benvenuti a Roma.
I remember, from when I lived in Naples as a teenager, that Italians like to strike. It wasn't uncommon to be on a train bound for downtown Naples and be two stops from my destination and the train would stop due to a strike. Passengers would shrug and hop off, then find a bus. It happens, they'd say.
I called our driver Stefano and he said, "Yes, madam, we know about the strike. No problem. I'll wait."
And so it was that we waited for 90 minutes for the bags to be released. On the drive to the apartment, we passed through the ancient Roman city wall and gawked at the ruins of the Roman baths and the Circus Maximus, then Stefano pointed out the "wedding cake" building and the famous balcony where Mussolini spoke to the Italian people. It's not quite July but it was already sweaty with tourists in tank tops and fanny packs, brand-new sneakers and sunburns. Our apartment contact rode up on a Vespa and unlocked the doors for us, all the while chatting on her Bluetooth (except when she scolded Marlowe for putting her shoes on the couch and Emme for climbing the ladder to the storage space above the closet).
When she left, I turned to Raf and felt like I wanted to cry. Where was the magic? Had I left it in Spain?
The kids were hungry, so we set out for a quick pizza, pasta and gelato, choosing the first pizzeria we could find. I didn't have high expectations - whatever, let's just get some pizzas and pastas and get back to the apartment - but from the first bite, I knew we were in Italy. Creamy mozzarella... thick Bolognese on fat fettucine noodles... thin, crisp crust...
We took a few hours to recharge (wherein Raf taught us all to play Blackjack, using some weird tchotchke rocks we found in a dish).
"It's a supermoon tonight," Serena said. "The moon won't be this close to the earth again for, like, a long... LOOOONG time...."
And so we wandered into the Roman night and followed the street until it brought us to the obelisk at the top of the Spanish Steps, stopping every few feet to look back at the glorious buttery moon. Suddenly, there it was: the magic I'd imagined.
And again I thought, Ahhh... Benvenuti a Roma.
Welcome to Rome.
|The Blackjack lesson|
|the Super Moon|
Ever since the movie "Moonstruck," I can't help but think,
"Hey, it's Cosmo's moon! Look! La Bella Luna!"
|At the top of the Spanish Steps|