May 29th, 2009

Fishy Circumstances

Rome

When I was a young teenager, we had a family trip to Rome. All of our light luggage was stolen out of the rental car, and I have held that against the city ever since. It didn't help that - it seemed - everytime a family member of mine returned, they had something else stolen.

This week, Rome redeemed itself. It was my first time back since that exhausting, intense, fraught trip of years ago; this time, it was relaxing, sociable, and charming. I was delighted by how pedestrian-friendly the city center is; by how walkable it is in scale; by its rich, layered, historical intensity. In our approximately forty-eight hours there, we went to events at the American Academy, saw friends and acquaintances, saw the Pope, the basilica of St. Peter's, the Pantheon, toured the Capitoline Hill, and ate ice cream in Trastevere. We walked a lot. It wasn't intense or exhausting - we were too laid back for that - but it was a very rich trip, both touristically, socially, and even, to a certain degree, professionally. We may not have made it to WallCon, having been in the wrong country for last weekend's walking tour of Hadrian's Wall, but, in consolation, we saw - at least from the outside - Hadrian's Tomb, Hadrian's Pantheon, and Marcus Aurelius's Aurelian's Wall.

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