Late starts and long climbs

Will we ever get out of the apartment before noon?

Today was lazy ridiculous. All of us sleeping until 11 a.m. Exiting the apartment at 2 p.m. I was stir crazy. It’s hard to mobilize a huge group. I’m not excusing myself from the blame. I stayed up until 2 p.m. last night surfing through Italian TV. Lots of call-in sex line tripe and badly dubbed American 80s movies.

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Looking at the Tiber river

Looking at the Tiber river

When we eventually mobilized, our feet took control. It was a walking day. The wheelchair led the way through the labyrinthine streets of Trastevere, which means across the Tevere, or Tiber River. We stopped on the river’s edge to watch the olive waters swirl beneath the Cestio Fabriccio Bridge, which is the first bridge of Rome. This was the ultimate port area back in B.C. something or other (yeah, I’ve got my history dates down), where barges would stop to deliver all the fish and fodder for the rest of the Empire. Edwin noticed that the lampposts have tiny locks bolted on them. The legend goes, that lovers secure a lock and throw the key in the river to ensure that they will be stuck with each other for eternity no matter how much they eventually hate each other, or some romantic BS like that. Rome is for lovers, right?

IMG_2251Across the river is the Jewish Ghetto, where millennia of saintly popes corralled the Jews so they could be more easily persecuted. According to my buddy Rick Steves, this festering boil came to a head during World War II when Nazis forced the Ghetto residents to come up with 110 pounds of gold in 24 hours or hop on a train to the nearest concentration camp. The people actually managed to come up with the gold. And then the Nazis broke their promise and shipped off 2,000 anyway. Wait? Nazis are untrustworthy? Go figure. John Paul II made amends, thank goodness. He was the ONLY pope in history to visit a Jewish synagogue. And his very last letter before his death was an apology for not backing the Jews during WW2. Not quite a defense of the defenseless, but better than his predecessors.

Oops. Sorry. I forgot this is a happy, fun blog. No more genocide.


I had to school Edwin, too.

IMG_2401 IMG_2400 IMG_2399We next traveled to the Santa Maria in Arocoeli, a cathedral at the top of Capitoline Hill. This is supposedly the place where Caesar Augustus learned from the Sybil seer about the coming of Christ. 124 steps to the top (according to Raiza’s count). I raced her sister Roanna, who happens to be 20 years younger than me and very competitive, to the top and won by 5 steps. In your face, Roanna!

IMG_2262 IMG_2267After I did the Rocky dance, I went back down and helped Shade climb the steps to the top. We went inside the cathedral, where Mayan put a coin into a prayer slot and prayed. Not sure what he prayed about. Probably to meet Lionel Messi of FC Barcelona. (That’s real football, Americanos!)

Shade told me later that no matter how much he complains, I should still push him to do strenuous things like climbing lots of stairs. That’s some good attitude. He wants to do it even if his mind is saying, “I want to rest.” I just have to hope he remembers telling me that next time I’m urging him and he’s thinking, “My dad is such a jerk!” I do have to say how proud I am of Shade. He has not complained once, even during the bumpy rides and the many exertions we’ve forced him into. He keeps saying, “When I move to Rome …” That’s my boy.

IMG_2414 IMG_2418We filled our water bottles from a spitting lion and then climbed the stairs right next door to the Capitoline museum. I’m sorry to say I have not been in a single museum yet. (Yes, Rome is a living museum, but I mean the ones where you buy tickets to get in.) And I’m a museum nut. But Aitza doesn’t relish a day in a museum. She could view the entire Louvre in half an hour on a Vespa, while I will stand outside a post office in Winter Garden and read the heritage sign. IMG_2423We’re not quite matched up in museum love. Going to historic monuments with my group is like hitting a Sonny’s buffet with a team of anorexics. You want to eat, but your group just wants to hit the toilet. I will say, Edwin is up for museums, so we might sneak out one morning while everyone else is snoozing until noon. Assuming I’m not one of them that’s still in bed.



That was the extent of our tourist venture today. Hunger had set in and priceless marble artifacts are just rocks when your stomach is growling. So we found a charming restaurant with covered patio to graze. Shade did pizza margarita, Mayan had lasagna, Aitza supped on sausage and bean zuppa (soup), and I gluttonously ordered penne al carbonara (topped with bacon, egg, herbs and parmesan), veal with rosemary, a grilled 4-fish variety platter, grilled chicory with herbs, a liter of red house wine and a stein of Veltins draft beer. I finished it all plus Mayan’s leftovers.IMG_2428  IMG_2452 IMG_2442Which way to the Vomitorium?

The walk back to the apartment burnt off the calories. Before we came, Aitza and I had talked about running each morning. We’ve been racking up the miles since the New Year. But once we got here, the walking has taken over. We’ve certainly done our share of carb loading before these workouts, but I’ve no doubt it’s been burnt off.

Tomorrow the Roman port of Ostia Antica where we will engage in an archeological scavenger hunt.

Statue of Adonis?

Statue of Adonis?

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Cynthia
    Jun 12, 2013 @ 20:01:07

    What a wonderful blog, I can’t wait for more! Thanks for sharing such a wonderful family vacation!!!

    Hugs to all,



  2. Amy
    Jun 13, 2013 @ 18:21:55

    Ok- in honor of you all, we had spaghetti tonight….though I am sure it wasn’t as wonderful as what you would get there!…we are loving this blog! thanks so much!


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