Thursday, 2 February 2012

Rome without sun

Winter in Ostia. How strange it is; grey grey sky, rain pattering upon the roof (that's the boat deck) with us happily inside. We did venture out beneath an umbrella but this proved pretty tricky... So today we remain inside our teak-walled home, and David carries out important checks on the equipment (the hand-held radio in case we have to abandon ship...) while I send emails to our wide-scattered friends, telling our travel plans for the first two-thirds of the year.
On my latest expedition into Rome (almost a week ago) I twisted my foot on a sneaky Roman pothole (just outside the Vatican walls beside St Peter's). Helpful Romans rushed to my rescue. Soon I caught a bus (number 46 I believe) and snuggled onto a 'seat' beside the ticket-stamping machine. Arrived at Piazza Venezia I looked for a handy exhibition -- and found to my delight the Palazzo Doria Pamphilj (not sure I've spelled that right but bound foot encumbers movement...). That palace is truly splendid. I hobbled round, resting on the chairs provided at frequent intervals, gulping in great gollops of architectural magnificence. Not to mention the painting collection, everything from Matys to Caravaggio. Utter delight. The audio commentary was excellent too -- spoken by a scion of the D-P House who had grown up in this building. But thanks to an ancestress named Mary Talbot, the family have a long-standing English connection; his spoken English was a joy to hear. Then as the light was fading over the inner courtyard -- rejoicing in some small trees even bearing bright orange clementinas (golden lamps in a green night, as Andrew Marvell put it). Out into Piazza Venezia and the swirling traffic, and limped towards the long row of taxis (most convenient). Found one to take me to Piramida, and struck up a brief conversation with the driver, though he wasn't of the truly chatty type...
Just caught the train to Ostia but it was very full -- the workers returning to the suburbs where they live with a little more elbow-room than central Rome (and better plumbing perhaps...). So I had to stand most of the way, balancing on my good foot and ruminating on the frailty of the human condition...David was waiting for me at the top of the stairs leading out from the underground passage at the station. While he went shopping in Carrefour, I sat in a small bar and drank an excellent ciocolatte calde and watched the people hanging round the station at Lido Centro. And listened to the Italian, trying to understand as much as possible.
We caught the 01 bus back to the marina and progressed slowly to the boat -- I had been wondering how I would get aboard with my swollen foot, but it proved easier than anticipated.
So here we are, with our vino rosso di Toscana, our ceci and cacci, and much else of deliciousness (!), gently rocking and enjoying the wonderful silence -- occasionally broken by the sound of a plane arriving or departing from the nearby airport of Fiumicino.

New way of living. The floor beneath my feet never entirely still. And much of the time intense silence.
Mi piace molto...

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