Monday, May 11, 2009

Il Giorno Primo

On our first day in Rome, after Giuseppe's mini-tour and Tiziano's orientation, we took a walk around the neighborhood. Actually, I guess it's fair to say we walked through a few neighborhoods - over to the Fontana di Trevi (not the same visit as in the video - quite a different place during the day), the Fontana di Tritone, the Quattro Fontane (there are a lot of fountains in Rome); had some pizza (SO good, and only 1 Euro per slice!) and some espresso; visited a beautiful church designed by Borromini; made an informal visit to the Palazzo Barberini; had gelato (omigod omigod); stopped by the Spanish Steps - by dumb luck approached them from the top rather than the bottom and saved ourselves a climb.

It was great to breathe that air - this may sound crazy, but it felt different from other air. It seems to me that every place has a unique atmosphere: metaphorically, yes, but also literally. I do a lot of breath work; it's interesting to me how people breathe in different places, and the Roman air was clean and vibrant. The sun on piazza di Spagna was golden and beautiful, and we had the good fortune to be in Italy when azaleas were in full bloom, covering the Steps in reddish purple. The Steps were also covered in people, of course - May Day is the European Labor Day, and virtually everyone in Italy had a long weekend. Our day of arrival was the day before the Holiday, but the city was already beginning to fill up.

I didn't bring my camera with me on this first afternoon, wanting to experience my first few hours without concerning myself with capturing images. We did, however, bring the Video Flip that Cory picked up a few weeks prior, and did manage to record a few moments, including this one:

How's that for a Welcome to Rome?

Turned out that everything was ok. We went around the block and met another carabinieri, and between his broken English and my broken Italian we figured out that the fire was in what was technically the building next to our hotel, though it was accessed through the same entryway. By the time we got into the hotel, we could barely even smell the smoke. Still, this incident combined with the fact that we had no water the next morning to make us wonder if we'd picked the right place.

Actually, I think we did. Despite those rough patches, our room was cheery and comfortable, the people there were pleasant and helpful, and the location was fantastic. What's a little fire next door among friends?

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